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Striking a Chord: songs that speak to a generation, country or culture
16 August, 2010 - 10:05 GMT

Over the course of two weeks, the BBC World Service will be hearing from some of the biggest names in world music, who will talk about the songs they have written which struck a chord with a nation, or a generation.
The songs have become huge hits in countries such as China, Iran, Russia and Australia; songs about subjects as diverse as love, rebellion and the environment.
Week two
Angelique Kidjo
Angelique Kidjo took over the unofficial mantle of Mama Africa from Miriam Makeba.
She has had a long and illustrious career with numerous hits and high profile collaborations.
One song which struck a chord not just with her, but with her audience around the world was Agolo from her 1994 album Aye.
It won Angelique Kidjo the first of many Grammy nominations and became the song of last year's Copenhagen conference on climate change.
Listen to Angelique Kidjo7 mins
First broadcast 27 August 2010
Arash Sobhani is the lead singer and lyricist of the Iranian band Kiosk.
They got together in Tehran in 2004, and were a big hit on the underground music scene in Iran before they went into exile, mostly in the United States and Canada.
So far they have released three albums, all of them illegal in Iran, and they have another one due out very soon.
Kiosk's song Love for Speed or 'Esgh e soraat' was the first Iranian underground tune to be released in the West.
Listen to Arash Sobhani6 mins
First broadcast 26 August 2010
Cui Jian
Cui Jian is considered by many to be the founder of Chinese rock'n'roll.
Nothing to my Name was a huge hit in 1986, a time when Western-style rock music was viewed with suspicion.
In the tradition of rebellious rock stars, Cui Jian made a stand in support of the students in Tiananmen Square in 1989, performing Nothing to my Name for them.
The song has struck a chord not just across China but also with the large Chinese diaspora.
Listen to Cui Jian5 mins
First broadcast 25 August 2010
Natalie Merchant
Natalie Merchant is an American artist who made her name with the multi-platinum-selling band, 10,000 Maniacs.
She went solo in 1993 and one of her early singles was Wonder, a song which is still having a powerful effect 15 years on.
Listen to Natalie Merchant7 mins
First broadcast 24 August 2010
Manu Chao
Manu Chao is a singer-songwriter with French and Spanish roots.
He has been making music since the 1980s in various bands, but in the mid 90s, his solo album Clandestino became a hit with millions around the world.
It was a time when camps for illegal immigrants mushroomed across Europe and anti-globalisation protesters attempted to rally opinion against the G8 group of rich economies.
So what was it about that album that struck such a chord?
Listen to Manu Chao7 mins
First broadcast 23 August 2010
Week one
Robert Forster
Robert Forster is an Australian songwriter, formerly of Indie band, The Go-Betweens.
Robert and his writing partner and fellow band member Grant McLennan were described by the Village Voice in the eighties as the greatest songwriting partnership working.
Together they wrote nine successful albums and had a strict policy of writing five songs each per album.
But for Robert Forster, out of all those songs, it is the song Demon Days, released on his first solo album in 11 years in 2008 which most struck a chord for him, because the song was written, unusually, by both he and Grant together.
Listen to Robert Forster7 mins
First broadcast 21 August 2010
Boris Grebenshikov
Boris Grebenshikov is one of the founders of Russian rock music, and is often described as "The Russian Bob Dylan".
His career started in the late seventies with a band called Aquarium.
His love of Western rock traditions and his rock'n'roll lifestyle led him into trouble with the authorities and he became a symbol of the anti-Soviet counter-culture and a hero to millions of Russians.
Like Bob Dylan, he has embraced many different styles in his long career, and still tours all over the world.
Listen to Boris Grebenshikov6 mins
First broadcast 20 August 2010
Zeb and Haniya
Zeb and Haniya, whose full names are Zebunissa Bangash and Haniya Aslam, are a female duo from Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province; they are also cousins.
They are ethnically Pathan although they have lived all over Pakistan and mostly sing in Urdu.
Their debut single Chup became famous via internet then radio play while the girls were away studying in the United States.
When they returned to Pakistan for a holiday, they found the song that they had recorded for fun had struck a chord with Pakistani youth and they had become the toast of radio shows right across South Asia.
Listen to Zeb and Haniya7 mins
First broadcast 19 August 2010
Femi Kuti
Femi Kuti is the son of the famous Highlife singer, Fela Kuti.
Just like his father, Femi has made his name with political protest songs.
But when he was asked to talk about a song which struck a chord with his Nigerian fans, he wanted to talk about a light-hearted song about sex, Beng Beng Beng.
The song brought him to the world's attention and also got him banned for a time in Nigeria in the 1990s.
Listen to Femi Kuti7 mins
First broadcast 18 August 2010
Tracy Chapman
The American singer-songwriter, Tracy Chapman, found success in the late 1980s with her debut album called Tracy Chapman.
She went on to win a host of top awards including four Grammies.
Songs such as Fast Car and Talkin' Bout a Revolution struck a chord with fans all around the world.
Listen to Tracy Chapman8 mins
First broadcast 17 August 2010
The series began with the rapper K'Naan.
He is a refugee who was born in Somalia and now lives in Canada.
K'Naan's song, Wavin' Flag, became the official anthem of the 2010 South Africa World Cup and propelled the singer-songwriter into the big time.
Listen to K'Naan8 mins
First broadcast 16 August 2010
Newshour discussion
Mid-way through the series, Newshour decided to take a look at what it is that makes a song strike a chord.
James Coomarasamy spoke to two people who write about music for a living: Arwa Haider, the Baghdad-born music editor for London's Metro newspaper and the writer and broadcaster, John Aizelwood.
They both chose a piece of music which struck a chord with them; Arwa first.
Listen to their discussion15 mins
First broadcast 23 August 2010
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