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HomeArts & CultureThe best of The National's Crossroads podcast in 2016

The best of The National's Crossroads podcast in 2016

We launched The Review’s Crossroads podcast about a year ago and our best episodes of 2016 reflect the unique stories that shaped the year. We travel from modern-day UAE to 1960s Turkey, from 1990-era Grozny to Aleppo through music, books, news and history. For example, we hear about the hidden history of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, where people lived until the 1990s. In Turkey, a record collector explains how the struggles of female musicians of the 1960s and 1970s are equally important today. And in Gaza, we learn how ordinary people are trying to rebuild their lives after enduring three wars in 10 years. Along the way we hear the sounds and words of authors, musicians, filmmakers and our expert journalists. We hope you enjoy them, and don’t forget you can subscribe to Crossroads on iTunes here

John Dennehy is the host of Crossroads and deputy editor of The Review.

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In 2008, Paul MacAlinden saw a job advert that would change his life – to be musical director of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. In this episode we chat to Paul about why he took the role and how a crop of talented youngsters bridged war and ethnic divisions to make some great music.

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The E11 is a road that we have all travelled on. Whether it’s a journey to Dubai or to RAK or into the dune-swept landscapes of Al Gharbia, the E11 is an important artery through the UAE. Here, we speak to Nick Leech, a feature writer at The National, about a new book and film project on the road.

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Russian planes are in the skies over the Syrian city of Aleppo as pro-regime troops advance below. The devastation inflicted on the ancient city is similar to the fate that befell Grozny in 1999 during Russia’s war with Chechnya. In this episode, we talk to Professor Brian Williams, author of a respected book on the Chechen wars, about the parallels.

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Gaza has been hit by three wars in 10 years and is often wrongly portrayed in the western media as a terrorist haven. Rebuilding has been painfully slow and ordinary people are struggling to survive. In this episode, independent journalist Antony Loewenstein recounts his recent trip there.

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The music of Turkish divas from the 1960s and 1970s has largely been neglected. Kornelia Binicewicz, a record collector and DJ based in Istanbul, talks about why this music deserves a second look and how it reveals the complex position of women in Turkish society. We also hear some of the sounds from these female artists.

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Today Saadiyat Island is home to luxury hotels, a world-class golf course, the NYUAD campus and the soon-to-be-opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. But before all this, it was home to a small settlement of people. In this episode, we chat to Nick Leech, a feature writer at The National, about this hidden history.

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What’s the arthouse cinema scene like in Abu Dhabi? We chat to Mohammad Khawaja, curator of film screenings in the city, about how the closure of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival affected the scene and what can be done to boost quality cinema.

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From the 1960s on, a type of low-cost housing transformed the lives of Emiratis. Featured at the UAE National Pavilion during this year’s Venice Biennale, we hear from Nick Leech, a feature writer at The National, about the sha’bi house.

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For many people of a certain vintage in Egypt, the cover band Les Petits Chats symbolise a golden age. In this episode, the director of a documentary on the band talks about their legacy and we also hear music from the band.

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The brutal war that devastated parts of Nigeria from 1967 to 1970 also gave birth to an authentic strain of rock music. Uchenna Ikonne, who has written a new history of this time, tells us why this era has largely been forgotten.

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