I listened to Songs That Cross Borders by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich.
As someone who listens to a lot of music spanning many different genres and languages, I was immediately drawn in by the title of the podcast. For me the voices of Jad and Robert were very calming which helped keep me immersed in the story of the podcast. The podcast talks about how some music reaches across borders to countries that we wouldn’t think they would reach. It talks about how Dolly Parton has a large fan base in Zimbabwe and how country music is loved in several middle eastern countries as well. One of the hosts interviews Gregory Warner who recounts a story of how he went to Afghanistan, and he brought his accordion with him and would occasionally play it while he traveled. While playing he his translator asked him how he knew an Afghan song and Gregory responds that it is an American song called “Those Were The Days.” It turns out that an Afghan singer named Ahmad Zahir “Afghan-ized” a whole lot of other western music. The podcast diverged a little bit to talk about how Zahirs music and and other songs that he had actually wrote influenced the culture by talking about freedom and how he was killed for the music that he had written. Even when the podcast had diverged it was easy to stay immersed because they did not use sound effects that were out of place for the time and place that the story was taking place. When demonstrating the “Afghan-ized” music they would over lay the original song with the song that Zahir had written to let you hear how similar they were. They told us the story of Zahirs death and a story from Zahirs wife about her dreaming about his death the day he died. During the telling of the dream they used some ethereal music in the background which made it more dream like and added to the imagery that they were describing from her story.
To me the podcast did very well at keeping me focused on it and did not use out of place sound effects so it was effective at keeping me immersed in the imagery that the two hosts were creating the and story that they were telling.