Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Podcast Review - Deutsche Welle: Inspired Minds

There was a time when NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" spent as much time covering the arts as they did politics and business. We still get a token story or two, but art coverage -- especially high art -- has long since been kicked to the curb by most public radio news providers.

Not so Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcasting organization. Their weekly program, "Inspired Minds" provides an in-depth interview with creative artists that seldom appear in American media. Each program host Breandáin O’Shea interviews (in English) an artist, writer, painter, dancer, ? or others in the performing arts. While there's some primary reason why O'Shea's talking to the artist (a performance tour, film festival, new play), there's another purpose as well.

"Inspired Minds" documents some aspect of the creative process that each of its interview subjects uses. What does Joshua Bell hope to accomplish through his performances? And how is that different than the goals of Zubin Mehta? How does Elizabeth George put together a novel, and is it the same as Michael Connelly?

And because the program isn't centered on America, or especially concerned about pop culture, we hear interviews with Swedish crime writer Asa Larrson, German jazz composer Klaus Doldinger, choreographer Gregor Seyffert, South African poet Lebogang Mashile, and more.

Best of all, the program lasts a full fifteen minutes. That means there's time for some intelligent conversation. There's time to discuss complex ideas. There's time to present a well-rounded portrait of the interview subject. There's time.

And because it's a podcast, I can listen to it whenever I want to. I've learned a lot about the arts listening to "Inspired Minds." And I look forward to discovering many more artists, writers, and performers I'll want to investigate.

Danke, Deutsche-Welle!

(And remember -- you don't need an iPod to listen to a podcast)

Day 9 of the WJMA Podwatch.

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