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Pete Atkin >> News >> Jam Yesterday & Charlie and his Orchestra
(Message started by: Kevin Cryan on Today at 19:52)

Title: Jam Yesterday & Charlie and his Orchestra
Post by Kevin Cryan on Today at 19:52
Last August a Peter Nichols play called Jam Yesterday (http://www.abovethetitle.com/01_cd/cd_200511.html), directed by Pete, was broadcast by BBC World Service. It told the fictional story of of Ernie, a band-leader who, during WW11, with his jazz-band had broadcast pro-German propaganda material to the allies on behalf of Nazis.  

Now on BBC Radio 2 (Tues Jan 3rd 9.30pm) in a three-part series, Rhythm of the Reich, Russell Davies [url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/davies/]link[/url] examines the real events on which Nichols's play was based.

According to this week's Radio Times, Davies recalls 'Charlie and his Orchestra, a jazz ensemble created by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, whose mission it was to feed UK and US listeners of the notorious Germany Calling radio broadcasts with American and British swing tunes reworked with English-language pro-Nazi and anti-Semetic lyrics'

One of the big questions which Davies addresses is whether or not the work of Charlie and his Orchestra can be dismissed out of hand as being merely pernicious propeganda of no intrinsic merit. He asks the listener to consider whether or not the very act of playing music which the Nazis considered 'degenerate' was subversive, in that it was keeping that form of music alive in places from which it might otherwise have been purged.  


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