Archive for ‘music’

Friday, August 1, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, July 2014: Radio Polonia terminates Broadcasts in German

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1. Radio Polonia’s German Service

Possibly along with Radio Budapest, and contrary to Radio Prague and Radio Berlin International (East Germany), Radio Polonia , Poland’s external radio station, was a rather liberal voice from the Warsaw Treaty bloc  through the 1970s and 1980s.

A Radio Polonia QSL card, confirming a report on the station's broadcast on February 9, 1986 at 16:00 UTC on 6095 kHz.

A Radio Polonia QSL card, confirming a report on the station’s broadcast on February 9, 1986 at 16:00 UTC on 6095 kHz.

The German department, started in 1950, wasn’t afraid of controversy, at least not in the 1980s. Even angry letters from West Germans who had once lived in the former eastern territories occasionally made it on the air (probably, the German department didn’t get too many letters of this kind anyway). The station never became one of my absolute favorites on shortwave, but many West Germans listened regularly.

2014 won’t mark the death of Radio Polonia, but the station’s German department has become history on June 30. Also in June this year, the Polish-abroad programs were terminated, and the Hebrew programs, Kol Polin, only established in 2007, apparently ended earlier this year.

Radio Polonia continues to broadcast in English, Russian, and Ukrainian – on the internet, through partnerships, and via satellite. The German audience still had the opportunity to listen on shortwave – a small shortwave transmitter operated by Radio 700 in Kall, North Rhine Westphalia, relayed Radio Polonia’s German programs. Last time I listend was in February this year, unaware that it would be the last time ever.

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2. Recent Logs, July 2014

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South Africa; AIA – Anguilla; ARG – Argentina; BLR – Belarus; CHN – China; CUB - Cuba; D – Germany; EGY – Egypt; G – Great Britain; GRC – Greece; IND – India; J – Japan; MDG – Madagascar; SVN – Slovenia; SWZ – Swaziland; TIB – Tibet; UKR – Ukraine; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):
A – Arabic; BR – Belorussian; C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; Gr – Greek; H – Hindi; Sl – Slovenian; Sp – Spanish.

The table underneath will appear messy unless you click the headline of this particular post. The table is broader than the two columns of the overall blog frontpage. However, it is more convenient to find with a search engine this way.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
15235 Channel Africa  AFS E July 2 17:00 5 5 5
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN E July 2 20:30 4 4 4
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN G July 2 20:34 4 4 4
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN Sl July 2 20:38 4 4 4
 9540 Radio Japan  J C July 3 15:30 3 2 2
 3775.6 DARC/DL0DL  D G July 3 17:30 4 4 4
 9420 Voice of Greece  GRC Gr July 4 18:55 4 3 3
 6185 RTI Taipei  G G July 4 19:27 5 5 5
15120 AIR Delhi  IND H July 5 04:07 4 2 2
15120 CRI Beijing  CHN E July 5 04:07 3 2 2
 3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 5 06:42 5 5 5
 7365 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 5 09:30 3 4 3
 3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 5 15:03 4 3 3
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN G July 5 20:33 5 5 5
15345 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG G July 7 21:02 2 5 2
15345 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG G July 7 21:05 5 5 4
11710.4 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG E July 16 02:28 4 3 3
 6000 RHC Havana Cuba  CUB E July 16 03:00 5 4 4
 3774 DARC/DL0DL  D G July 17 17:30 5 4 4
 3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 19 04:30 4 3 4
21480 Bible Voice BCN  MDG E July 19 11:21 3 3 3
 9965 Radio Cairo 1)  EGY A July 20 00:46 4 5 4
 9315 Radio Cairo 2)  EGY Sp July 20 01:00 3 5 2
 5850 RMI / Homecoming
Radio
 USA E July 20 01:06 4 4 4
 6090 Carribean Beacon  AIA E July 20 01:54 4 4 4
 9315 Radio Cairo 3)  EGY E July 20 02:01 4 4 2
 7505 Radio WRNO  USA E July 20 02:36 4 5 4
 3200 TWR Swaziland  SWZ E July 20 03:00 2 3 2
 6000 RHC Havana Cuba  CUB E July 20 04:00 4 5 4
15120 Voice of Nigeria 4)  NIG E July 20 08:17 4 3 3
11980.1 Radio Dniprovska
Hvylya 5)
 UKR ? July 20 08:00 3 4 3
11730 Radio Belarus  BLR BR July 20 11:34 4 5 3
15344.3 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG E July 23 18:26 5 4 4
 7550 AIR Delhi 6)  IND F July 25 20:15 5 5 4
 7550 AIR Delhi  IND H July 25 20:34 5 5 4
 7550 AIR Delhi  IND E July 25 20:45 5 5 4
 3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D G July 26 04:30 5 5 4
 6130 PBS Tibet 7)  TIB E July 26 16:30 4 3 3
11710 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG E July 30 02:06 4 5 3

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Footnotes

1) A splendid signal and – by the standards of Egyptian foreign radio anyway – splendid modulation, too. But that was only the Arabic program.
2) As far as the Spanish program, a bit later and 650 kHz further down, was concerned, modulation sucked as it does with all foreign-language programs from Cairo.
3) Of course, the English program’s modulation was no exception. It sucked, too. What a waste of energy.
4) Strong interference from China Radio International (CRI), by now the most undesirable shortwave station worldwide, in my view. Chinese shortwave radio appears to be everywhere, especially on frequencies where they can block sensitive or offending broadcasts, such as from Radio Japan. However, a primitive rotatable dipole antenna with a reasonably good directional effect worked wonders to push CRI (northeastern beam) aside and to get a clearer signal from Africa. Hence, at times, O=3.
5) I probably can’t tell Russian from Ukrainian. Therefore, I left the language column open here, with a question mark.
6) It was a surprise to find an All India Radio program in French on 7550 kHz at the time – it ought to be a Hindi program. I did enjoy the French program very much, because their approach is somewhat different to the English overseas service. It was a music program, and the French speakers actually explained the music.
7) Frequencies less than 10,000 kHz usually work best at nighttime or during winter. When tuning in to PBS Tibet on 6130 kHz at 16:00 UTC here in Northern Germany this summer, the signal isn’t better than O=2. By 16:30 UTC, it will usually improve to O=3, which is reasonably easy to listen to. Not necessarily true for reception in other places, obviously.

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Related

» Polish-German relations, Free Republic/Radio Polonia, 2006/2007

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

I had gotten the impression that Cui Jian had become a toothless rocker. Not so, if this BBC article is correct.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Tianjin Cultural Front, unconstrained by Minor Matters

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1. Military Pop

Update [20130803]: the show in full on youtube ——–>

<——–

Tianjin Satellite Television is going to broadcast a tribute show to celebrate the founding anniversary of the “People’s Liberation Army”. Han Hong (韩红), a singer and songwriter of Han Chinese and Tibetan origin and host of the show, explains in an Enorth (Tianjin) article of August 1 that

through the army songs, we want to communicate to young people how the two words “military people” are sacred. [...] Some people have doubts how a theme like ‘Resonant Army Songs’ can be close to young people. I’m particularly looking forward to kids born after 1980 and 1990 singing army songs together. This will bring about a completely new feeling.

我们就是要通过军歌告诉年轻人,‘军人’两字是怎么样的神圣。 [...] 有人会疑惑‘军歌嘹亮’这样一个主题会不会离现在的年轻人有点远,我特别期待80后、90后的孩子们一起来唱军歌,一定会带来一个全新的感觉。

According to Baike Baidu, Han Hong is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Her father’s nationality is Han, and he had been among the young people who were sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, to learn from the rural population. In 2009, Han Hong joined the political department of the Air Force Art Troupe (or song and dance ensemble) and has since served as the department’s deputy director. Her fans believe that her voice comes across as naturally as Sarah Brightman‘s, but those who (strongly) dislike her find her style artificial.

Han Hong is joined by four commenters (not quite a jury, as competition isn’t meant to be at the center of the show): Zhou Xiao’ou (周晓欧), Man Wenjun (满文军), Li Danyang (李丹阳), and Cai Guoqing (蔡国庆).

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2. Miltary Movie

In June, Xiao Huaiyuan (肖怀远), Tianjin Municipal Standing Committee of the CCP and the Committee’s propaganda department director, described his impressions from a visit to the production of a television series “Way-finding” (“寻路”), a film about the history of the CCP   which enthusiastically sings the praises of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and other members of the old revolutionary generation who sought the correct path for China’s revolution in bloody struggles, their strong will and foresight [...] (热情赞颂了毛泽东、周恩来、朱德等老一辈革命家为了探寻中国革命正确之路而浴血奋斗的坚强意志和远见卓识 [.....]).

“Way-finding” strictly respected historical truth (严格尊重历史真实) and followed the principle of not falsifying the major events, but being unconstrained by minor matters (大事不虚、小事不拘), Xiao Huaiyuan wrote in an article for People’s Daily (人民日报), republished by Enorth on June 20.

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Related

» Regulating the Talent Shows, Channel News Asia, July 26, 2013
» Perfect Revolutionaries leave nothing to chance, Dec 2, 2010

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Unharmonious First Lady?

Michelle Obama‘s absence from the American-Chinese summit in California was a diplomatic misstep, Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at  the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, argued on Foreign Policy  (behind a registration wall, possibly). Her absence was an own-goal, Drezner believes, because this was one of the rather few occasions where she could really have  mattered in the world of politics. Too many Chinese might be disappointed that America’s first lady didn’t meet up with China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan.

Reportedly, Mrs Obama wanted to stay in Washington, to celebrate the birthday of one of her daughters.

Isaac Stone Fish disagreed with Drezner’s criticism. He referred to the songs Peng used to sing in full PLA gear, and especially this song, where she pretended to be Tibetan, lauding the PLA for “liberating” Tibet.

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Related

» Domestic Responsibilities, SMH, June 7, 2013
» The only Disharmony, May 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BBC Statement accuses China of Jamming

On Mondaqy, the BBC accused China of jamming its Mandarin English-language service on shortwave. However, it also added that it wasn’t poossible to determine exactly where the blocking was coming from. Not at “this stage”, anyway.

On Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesperson claimed not to understand the situation, and a media commenter, Michael Anti, apparently presented himself as a nerd (quoted by The Guardian):

I doubt there is anyone listening to the BBC English radio in China.

Anti should know better – there are even Chinese online discussions about foreign broadcasters on shortwave. Not to mention that only every second Chinese citizen is a regluar internet user so far.

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Update / Correction (Febr 26, 2013):

the BBC statement is about jamming of its shortwave programs in English.

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The following is a recording of a Falun-Gong-leaning station, the Sound of Hope (希望之声) being jammed.

You can hear the jamming station’s output rise after 35 seconds into the recording, and the “alternative” program, Chinese folk music known as “Firedrake” (火龙干扰) sets in after one minute. (Recorded in June, 2011.)

It appears that regular Chinese domestic programs on shortwave are also at times used to interfere with undesired foreign broadcasters, as they go on air along with them, and off air once the undesired broadcasts are over.

click picture for source.

click picture for source.

That’s a lot of time and effort for nothing, if nobody in China actually listens.

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Related

» Always with you on Shortwave (Chinese blogpost translation), March 17, 2012
» Radio jamming in China, Wikipedia, acc. 20130226

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Going to the Grassroots: Li Huadian & The Volunteers provide Tianjin Airforce with Spiritual Nourishment

This is from the same Enorth series as this previous translation. The context of these  events is the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR

Main Link: Greeting the 18th National Congress of the CCP – Tianjin Public Culture Volunteers Corp contributes arts at the barracks

Enorth (Tianjin), November 3, 2012

In the morning of November 3, the Tianjin Public Culture Volunteers’ Corps went to an PLA air force unit stationed in Tianjin, to perform wonderful cultural arts in front of the troops. This is another one among the “volunteers’ performances to greet the 18th National Congress” activities.

11月3日上午,天津市公共文化服务志愿者总队走进驻津空军某部,将精彩的文艺演出送给那里的官兵们。这也是本市“喜迎十八大志愿者在行动”系列演出活动之一。

Among the performances, the volunteers had brought along wonderful male and female solo songs, reality-fantasy magician performances, xiangsheng, Pingju Opera song series, and other wonderful gigs. To express their gratitude, and to display the talents within their barracks, the soldiers also performed some wushu and guitar performances of their own.

演出现场,志愿者们带来了精彩的男女生独唱、亦真亦幻的魔术表演、诙谐幽默的对口相声、韵味十足的评剧联唱等精彩的文艺节目。为了表达谢意,也是展示军营风采,战士们也表演了自己拿手的舞剑和吉他弹唱。

The atmosphere of the scene was unusually warm. Apart from performing a song arranged on his own, young actor Du Lei also impersonated Liu Dehua, Liu Huan, and other voices, thus winning enthusiastic applause from the troops. Young singers Meng Fanjin and Wang Suiru, in beautiful voices, sang “Sincere Beauty” and “Xinjiang Story”, and one sang the popular songs “The Sun will never Set” and “Legendary”. The two young ladies’ silvery voices attracted the young soldiers. They all incessantly gave flowers to them to express their joy.

演出现场气氛异常热烈。年轻演员杜磊除了表演安排好的歌曲以外,又现场即兴表演起模仿秀,他先后模仿了刘德华、刘欢等人的歌声,赢得官兵们一阵阵热烈的掌声。年轻的姑娘孟凡津和王葰如一个用美声唱法演唱了歌曲《真诚的美丽》和《新疆故事》,一个演唱了通俗歌曲《日不落》和《传奇》。两位年轻姑娘银铃般的歌声吸引了年轻的战士们。大家不断向台上的姑娘献花,表达他们的喜悦心情。

[...]

Famous singer Li Huadian, as a member of the Volunteers’ Corp experts committee, also took part in the performances. It was the first time that he wore the green T-shirt as the volunteer-corp symbol. Li told the reporter that this was a very particular feeling. He said: “It’s my honor to be a volunteer, to come to the barracks to perform, and to serve the soldiers who are defending Tianjin. As a working man of the arts, one has to go to the grassroots, to perform among the masses, and to give ones best to everyone. I will continue to come to the grassroots frequently, to give the best spiritual nourishment to everyone.”

著名歌唱家李华典作为公共文化服务志愿总队专家委员会成员,也参加了本次演出。穿上代表志愿者身份的绿色T恤表演还是第一次。李华典告诉记者,这种感觉很特别。他说:“作为公共文化服务志愿者,到军营来表演,为守卫天津的战士们服务,这是我的荣幸。作为艺术工作者,就是要扎根基层,在群众中多表演,把自己最好的一面展现给大家。以后我还要经常到基层来,为大家送去最好的精神食粮。”

[...]

These were successful performances, the performers saw the needs and the yearning of the soldiers for the arts, and the soldiers liked the cordiality in the performances. Next, the Tianjin Public Culture Volunteers’ Corps will make more grassroot performances, promote this city’s cultural volunteering work, unite more cultural volunteers, to provide even more high-quality spiritual nourishment to the common people.

这次的演出是成功的,演员们看到战士们对于艺术的需求和向往;战士们也喜欢演员们情感真挚的表演。接下来,天津市公共文化服务志愿总队将连续推出多场次的下基层慰问演出,推动本市公共文化志愿服务工作,将更多的文化志愿者们联合起来,为更多的普通公众提供优质的精神食粮。

(Wu Hong reporting / 记者吴宏)

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Related

» Welcoming 18th National Congress, Nov 3, 2012
» Go Global, and no Porn, Febr 12, 2012

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, September/October 2012

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Radio Station Profiles: RTM Mali

Radiodiffusion Télévision du Mali, according to information on its QSL cards almost three decades ago, carried transmissions in French, English, Arabic and national vernacular languages during the 1980s on about five frequencies – two in the 60-m tropical band, and three from the 49- to the 31-m-band. The broadcasts I used to listen to in Europe back then were usually in French. These days, 5995 kHz in the 49-m band seems to work best in Germany, if recent video uploads on youtube are something to go by. The frequency 5995 kHz (49 m) shown there on youtube was also active during the 1980s, but at the time, the frequency was probably hardly audible, as European broadcasters, too, were rather active on shortwave. The tropical band was my medium to listen to Africa during the 1980s.

RTM Mali, QSL 1986

African domestic stations on shortwave – most of those audible in central and northern Europe came in most clearly in the 60-meter band – differed from each other in terms of formats at the time. Some were mostly boring official announcements and news, on other stations, there were also messages from and between listeners read out, and some stations also broadcasted pretty lively music. If I remember it right, RTM Mali devoted more time to regional music than most African domestic stations I listened to.

Private radio stations appear to be on air in Mali, too. According to Wikipedia, the law has allowed for privately-run stations since 1994. These days, Mali shortwave transmitters also relay broadcasts by China Radio International (CRI). The China Television Economic and Technical Cooperation Company, a state-owned company founded in 1991 for Chinese broadcasting projects abroad, provided Mali with shortwave broadcasting equipment, apparently in 2001, or somewhat earlier, “to help Mali develop a foundation for broadcasting”, and for CRI

to broadcast to Africa in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, French, Swahili, Hausa, and other languages, to let African listeners hear the voice from China more clearly and conveniently, to broaden Chinese influence in Africa, to promote Sino-African friendship and the development of broadcasting in African nations, their public welfare, national education and other important effects.

中广国际总公司 [in full: 中国广播电视国际经济技术合作总公司] 为马里提供并租用当地短波广播设备转播中国国际广播电台对非洲地区广播节 目的卡伊、莫普堤、卡蒂、塞古、锡卡索等地广播发射台工程项目的完成,既为马里国家广播事业的发展奠定了坚实基础,也实现了我国对非洲地区用普通话、广东 话、英语、法语、斯瓦希里语、豪萨语等多种语言在当地广播的目标,让非洲听众更加清晰、更加便捷地收听到来自中国的声音,为扩大我国在非洲地区的影响、促 进中非友谊以及发展非洲国家的广播电视事业、国家公益事业、促进国民教育事业等发挥了重要作用。

The China Television Economic and Technical Cooperation Company seems to work under the auspices of the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) and is located in Beijing’s Chaoyang district.

Obviously, during the 1980s, there weren’t too many ways to be familiar with musical genres and their protagonists. Local broadcasters could give you a taste of regional music, but as their target audience was familiar with the musicians anyway, there was no need for the announcers to explain the music they played. Things have changed with the internet, and you can get all kinds of background information now, as a recent blogpost by KT illustrates – it includes a number of samples/videos »

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Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AIA – Anguilla; CUB – Cuba; EGY – Egypt; RUS – Russia; TIB – Tibet; TWN – Taiwan.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; G – German; S – Spanish.

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kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time GMT

S I O
7240 CNR TIB C Sep 2 22:42 4 5 3
7240  PBS Tibet TIB C Sep 2 22:59 4 5 3
6090 Caribbean
Beacon
AIA E  Sep 20 01:28 4 4 4
5025 R. Rebelde CUB S Sep 20 01:29 4 4 4
11560 R. Cairo 1) EGY G Sep 22 19:00 4 5 4
15700 Vo Russia RUS G Oct 2 09:00 5 5 5
9955 RTI Taipei 2) TWN G Oct 3 17:00 4 4 4

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No impressive list for September and October, as I was much busier in recent weeks, than in August (see “Related” at the bottom of this post), and spent only little time in front of the radio.
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Notes

1) While modulation was much better on that day than what listeners had previously been used to, readability of the broadcast was still less than O=4. Modulation is still not up to the standards. To give you an idea, here is a short recording from the September 22 broadcast in German.

2) Direct live broadcast from Taiwan on shortwave. Occasionally morse interferences, and growing (unid.) interference from five kHz further down during the last third of the broadcast.

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Related

» Previous Logs, Sep 2, 2012
» A State Secret in North Korea, Aug 1, 2012

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gangnam Style in Recent History

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Some 40 years ago.


(click picture for video)

The real revolutionary opera is here. It’s become a popular target for all kinds of re-mixes online, even before the gangnam hype.

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