September 12, 2023: Take A Sonic Journey With Radio Is A Foreign Country
My first encounter with shortwave radio came many years ago. My parents inherited one from a relative and explained to me that this seemingly normal device would allow me to listen to broadcasts from all over the world. I was ecstatic – I imagined myself telling friends about hearing music from France, India, or even Japan. I'd be the most sophisticated kid in my class! My parents plugged the radio in, turned it on, tuned the dial . . . and found out that the shortwave receiver no longer worked. We were all very disappointed.
Fortunately, I found what I was looking for many years later via Radio Is A Foreign Country. This unique online radio experience isn't a live broadcast. Instead, it's a 24/7 stream made up of a collection of recordings from a wide range of countries, eras, and musical styles. As the About page states, Radio Is A Foreign Country, ". . . exposes listeners to obscure regional folk and pop music from the global hinterlands. Our collections feature cut-ups of international radio broadcasts, field recordings, ethnographic film, vintage records and cassettes, and digital ephemera from the far reaches of the internet. Our mission is to explore forgotten and new ways of making radio and to facilitate greater access and exposure to sounds and music not sufficiently documented by industrial music curation."
Radio Is A Foreign Country is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, with donations going toward operating expenses, purchasing recordings, and launching new projects. Donors can also get access to unique digital mixtapes featuring music that you've probably never heard before. I highly recommend checking out the site and listening for a while. You may find a new favorite sound!
-- Katie Duffy
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