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Studio One Another


Studio One Another

Stateside with Rosalea

By Rosalea Barker

If you want to skip my little musings for the day, and read or watch what a panel of UC Berkeley professors, from different disciplines and viewpoints, had to say at a forum on Iraq last night click on this link: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/04/02_forum.shtml

Otherwise... do you remember Studio One? It was the talent quest that was recorded at WNTV1's Studio One in Wellington's Waring Taylor Street complex back when television was still young and in black and white.

Well, I kind of got to relive the experience a couple of nights ago thanks to Telstar. Gee, this is a trip down memory lane, isn't it! Telstar 1 carried its first international television and telephone transmissions on 10 July 1962, and the Tornadoes' hit song 'Telstar' became a staple of every budding guitarist's repertoire.

On 11 July 1962, President Kennedy said: "The successful firing and subsequent operation of the Telstar communications satellite is an outstanding example of the way in which government and business can cooperate in a most important field of human endeavor. The achievement of the communications satellite, while only a prelude, already throws open to us the vision of an era of international communications. There is no more important field at the present time than communications and we must grasp the advantages presented to us by the communications satellite to use this medium wisely and effectively to insure greater understanding among the peoples of the world."

In the 'World Views' section of today's SFGate.com is a story about how France is wanting to set up a global news network to rival CNN and the BBC. It will initially concentrate on Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Already France Telecom transmits its Globecast World Television Service from Telstar 5. The channel line-up, many of them free to air, includes several Eastern European channels, as well as Arabic and Iranian ones, one African channel, and several South/South East Asian channels. You can also pay per view for the German soccer league.

A month or so ago, Yemen TV joined the line-up and it was a video recording of its programming that I saw the other night, courtesy of neighbours who are from Yemen. I had no idea what was going to be on the tape, but I immediately recognised what it was. A talent show, with many different people performing in many different styles.

Some were in traditional dress, doing traditional dances - much like the square dances we used to learn at primary school, but with veils and ceremonial daggers. There were singers, unaccompanied or with a full orchestra, or accompanying themselves on the oud. The oud (or 'ud') is the fat-bodied precursor to the lute, and originated in either Iraq or Iran. Some legends say that it was invented by Adam's sixth grandson (a descendant of Cain). The debt that Western classical and other world music owes to this instrument is outlined at http://www.kairarecords.com/oudpage/Oud.htm

The performers on the Yemeni show were all accomplished but obviously unused to being before a television camera, and the camera work was like that of the early days of live recordings, quickly trying to capture beauty - like the dancers' exquisite headdresses - in motion, and sometimes failing to get the focus in time. In short, it was delightful, completely fulfilling Kennedy's hope that communications satellites be used wisely and effectively to insure greater understanding among the peoples of the world.

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