Stonehenge Rocks!

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Was Stonehenge built for rock music?

Trevor Cox – The Guardian

The monument’s famous bluestones have acoustic properties and may have been chosen for their musical qualities

One of the mysteries of Stonehenge is why our ancestors chose to use bluestones that had to be hauled hundreds of kilometres from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire to the site in Wiltshire. But new research from London’s Royal College of Art suggests sound might have played a role. Researchers tested thousands of stones on Carn Menyn in the Preseli Hills, and found a large number of the rocks ring when they are struck. Usually, stones produce a disappointing clunk when hit, with microscopic cracks making it difficult for vibrations to travel within the rock. But certain bluestones have the right microscopic structure – and sound like a metallic gong.

They also found a few of the rocks remaining at Stonehenge rang as well. The challenge they now face is providing good evidence that the bluestones were used for their musical quality. Sound is ephemeral, and disappears as soon as it is made, so it is difficult to know for sure that our ancestors used the stones as percussion instruments.

Other instruments from other sites, however, provide solid evidence for ancient music-making. The oldest musical instruments are 40,000-year-old flutes made from mammoth ivory and bird bone discovered in Geissenkloesterle, a cave in southern Germany. Besides flutes, there is evidence of 30,000-year-old percussion and scraping instruments. And there are stones all over the world that create musical notes, including many with good archaeological evidence of prehistoric use.

Rock gongs in the Serengeti emit harsh metallic clangs when they are struck with another stone. Some boulders are covered in hammered indents that evidence use, though it is difficult to date the music-making from these marks. At Kupgal Hill in Southern India there are ringing boulders of dolerite that display both percussive marks and Neolithic rock art. In a cave at Fieux à Miers in the south of France, there is a large, two-metre-high stalagmite that rings like a gong. Fractures from when it was struck have been dated to 20,000 years ago using the prehistoric artefacts found inside the cave and the layer of calcite that has slowly grown over the percussive marks in the intervening years.

It has also been suggested that whole ancient structures were exploited acoustically. The pyramid of Kukulkan, at Chichén Itzá in Mexico, was built between the 11th and 13th centuries. On every side it has a long staircase running up the middle. Visit the site, and guides will delight in clapping at the foot of the stairs, which produces a squawking echo with a distinctive descending pitch. Acoustician David Lubman claims this echo mimics the call of the sacred and venerated quetzal bird, and could have been used by Mayan priests during ceremonies.

There has been a heated debate about whether the acoustics within Stonehenge, created by the sound bouncing back and forth between the stones, were exploited by our ancestors. The reverberation created by the circles of stones could have embellished speech and music, as happens within an auditorium. If our ancestors did make music with the metallic clangs of the bluestones, it would have enhanced that as well.

• Trevor Cox is the author of Sonic Wonderland and professor of acoustics engineering at the University of Salford

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UNESCO World Radio Day

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UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 36th session, proclaimed World Radio Day on 13 February.

UNESCO’s Executive Board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a feasibility study undertaken by UNESCO, further to a proposal from Spain.

Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.

There is also a changing face to radio services which, in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms, such as broadband, mobiles and tablets. However, it is said that up to a billion people still do not have access to radio today.

A wide consultation process started in June 2011, carried out by UNESCO. It included all stakeholders, i.e. broadcasting associations; public, state, private, community and international broadcasters; UN agencies; funds and programmes; topic-related NGOs; academia; foundations and bilateral development agencies; as well as UNESCO Permanent Delegations and National Commissions. Among the answers, 91% were in favour of the project. The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received over 46 letters of support from diverse stakeholders, including the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), the Organización de Telecomunicaciones Ibeoramericanas (OTI), BBC, URTI, Vatican Radio, etc.
A World Radio Day Feasibility Study provides more details about the consultation process.

The date of 13 February, the day the United Nations radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO. The objectives of the Day will be to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

The consulted stakeholders also proposed ideas for the programme of celebration: extensive use of social media, annual themes, a dedicated website enabling virtual participation, special radio programmes, radio programmes exchange, a festival involving key partners, and so forth.

On 14 January 2013, the United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day. During its 67th Session, the UN General Assembly endorsed the resolution adopted during the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming 13 February, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, as World Radio Day.

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The latest new music!

We are always adding music from new artists to our playlists.

Just recently we added great tracks from the following artists:

The Followers

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The Tontons

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Loocky Charm

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Loocky Charm

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Always a pleasure in the BrooklynFM studio when we receive a communication from an artist that is new to us. And when they send us an MP3 or two of their material and we love it, then the day is complete!

One artist whose material we have recently started playing on BrooklynFM is Loocky Charm. In their own words here is what they are about:
“Loocky Charm is a French creation, born in London in 2006, between A2 Line, songwriter and Didier Leroy, sound engineer.The songs from “It springs to mind”, masterised in 2008, at Chic Studio,(Toulouse, France) are the result of their artistic collaboration.
Loocky Charm sings those universal themes touching:liberty, injustice, happiness, existential questions, everyday themes…where inspiration tracked its road between London, Toulouse, New York and Montreal.”

Of course you will hear Loocky Charm’s material on the station frequently, but if you want to know more and maybe purchase their great music, then have a click through to here.

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We would love to hear from you!

Email radio@welshbrook.co.uk

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