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Culture

Essays and videos on the arts, literature, travel, rituals and celebrations
Enter the conductrice | Aeon
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Music

Enter the conductrice

Will a new generation of women on the podium perpetuate the tyrannical charisma of their male predecessors or overturn it?

Xenia Hanusiak

Black King of Songs | Aeon
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Global history

Black King of Songs

His communism brought the great American singer Paul Robeson trouble in the US, but helped make him a hero in China

Gao Yunxiang

In the gale | Aeon
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Ecology and environmental sciences

Yo-Yo Ma performs a work for cello in the woods, accompanied by a birdsong chorus

4 minutes

Nadia’s songs | Aeon
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Music

Nick ponders the life of the mysterious girl whose used CDs shaped his teenage years

5 minutes

Delia Derbyshire and Doctor Who | Aeon
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Music

Before the Beatles dropped acid, a BBC workshop was creating far-out sounds

6 minutes

EXCLUSIVESometimes surface | Aeon
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Subcultures

Bad puns, regrettable costumes, and other joys of collecting kitschy album art

13 minutes

Aiden O’Rourke: there once was a man… | Aeon
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Stories and literature

A musician and a storyteller collaborate in a daily duet of words and music

5 minutes

Setapa | Aeon
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Dance and theatre

Absorb the infectious rhythms of Setapa – a joyous dance from southern Africa

7 minutes

Florent Vollant: I dream in Innu | Aeon
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Nature and landscape

Honouring the caribou, in dreams and memories from an Innu singer-songwriter

5 minutes

Songs of conquest | Aeon
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Music

Songs of conquest

From Tallis’s choral beauty to the unnerving bells of Mexico City, early modern power created a whole new world of sound

Thomas Irvine & Christopher J Smith

The other Fab Four | Aeon
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Biography and memoir

Meet the Liverbirds! The bittersweet tale of Liverpool’s all-female answer to the Beatles

16 minutes

4’33” | Aeon
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Music

Take in the sounds of silence via this unique performance of John Cage’s infamous piece

5 minutes

EXCLUSIVEStreet angel | Aeon
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Race and ethnicity

Seeking authenticity in a Chinatown built for tourists and Hollywood movies

23 minutes

Phenomena: waves | Aeon
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Physics

Water, salt and music form a mesmerising visualisation of sound waves

7 minutes

Music and sex | Aeon
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Music

Music and sex

A song can take you on a journey of ecstatic arousal. Is music imitating sex, inviting it, or something else altogether?

Michael Spitzer

The elephant’s song | Aeon
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Animals and humans

A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US

8 minutes

Maestro of more than music | Aeon
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Music

Maestro of more than music

Look beneath the surface of Bach’s music and you will find a fascinating hidden world of numerology and cunning craft

Milton Mermikides

The Mozart effect | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

No, Mozart isn’t a brain hack for babies – here’s how music really affects intelligence

5 minutes

Thai country living | Aeon
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Home

The rhythms of rural Thailand, where both food and music are sourced from the ground

15 minutes

Uproar | Aeon
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Music

The formidable female rumba group shaking up Cuba’s conservative music scene

20 minutes

Quantum music | Aeon
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Quantum theory

Quantum music

Physics has long looked to harmony to explain the beauty of the Universe. But what if dissonance yields better insights?

Katie McCormick

The stroke | Aeon
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Music

A unique multisensory art experiment that begins and ends with a brush stroke

7 minutes

Ladies and gentlemen… Mr Leonard Cohen | Aeon
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Stories and literature

A trip to Montreal with Leonard Cohen in 1965 is a glimpse into a singular poetic mind

44 minutes

A philosophy of sound | Aeon
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Beauty and aesthetics

A philosophy of sound

From the Big Bang to a heartbeat in utero, sounds are a scaffold for thought when logic and imagery elude us

Christina Rawls