Episode 9: The Soul of Music: Meklit Hadero tells stories of migration

Nat Geo Explorer and musician Meklit Hadero is joined by Nat Geo Explorer and wildlife cinematographer Jahawi Bertolli to discuss the intersection of nature, migration, and music.

Musician Meklit Hadero (right) with National Geographic Explorer Jahawi Bertolli
Photos by Elke Bertolli and John Nilsen

This episode is part four of The Soul of Music—Overheard’s four-part series focusing on music, exploration, and Black history. Our guest this week is Meklit Hadero, a Nat Geo Explorer and Ethio-jazz musician. Meklit is the creative force behind the transmedia storytelling project Movement, which explores the intersection of migration and music. She chats with fellow Explorer and music producer Jahawi Bertolli about migration, the ancient instruments known as rock gongs, and how their music is inspired by nature.

Listen on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, and Amazon Music.


KHARI DOUGLAS (HOST): Hey there, I’m Khari Douglas. I’m a producer here at Overheard, and this is the final episode of our four-part series focusing on music, exploration, and Black history. It’s called The Soul of Music, and National Geographic Explorers will be sitting down with some of our favorite musicians to discuss how history and the natural world inspire their art and adventures. Today’s guests are both Explorers and musicians: Jahawi Bertolli and Meklit Hadero.

MEKLIT HADERO (EXPLORER AND MUSICIAN): My name is Meklit Hadero. I’m a singer-songwriter, Ethiopian jazz musician. And I’m also the co-founder, host, and producer for a podcast and radio show and live show called Movement, which explores the intersection of migration and music.

DOUGLAS: One of Meklit’s inspirations and mentors is Mulatu Astake, an Ethiopian multi-instrumentalist who developed the unique sound of Ethio-jazz.

HADERO: And, you know, Ethio-jazz came from Mulatu Astatke going to the U.S. to explore his own creative practice as a musician and for his own education. And he was interacting with amazing musicians, who are jazz musicians. Jazz, of course, born from an experience of the forced migration of slavery, which brought people from primarily from West Africa to the Americas, and birthed all of the musics that are thought of as American musics, you know, jazz, hip hop, blues.

And then Mulatu Astatke goes there as an Ethiopian artist, and there’s this famous moment where he interacts with John Coltrane. And Coltrane is like, Man, bring your music into this. What does that look like? And then he creates Ethiopian jazz from that experience, and then he takes Ethiopian jazz and moves back to the continent. And then Ethiopian jazz explodes around the world.

So it’s this cyclical cycle of migration changing culture and migration influencing culture, evolving culture, revolutionizing culture. And it’s the movements of people that are creating these specific historical changes in music. And so that’s the music that I make, and I see myself as making migration music. But I’ve always known that, you know, that’s not a story that’s just about me. That’s a story about how culture and movements of people interact.

DOUGLAS: This is Overheard, a show where we eavesdrop on the wild conversations we have here at Nat Geo and follow them to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world.

After the break, Meklit is joined by Nat Geo Explorer Jahawi Bertolli to discuss Meklit’s transmedia storytelling project Movement, Jahawi’s use of the ancient instruments known as rock gongs, and how the natural world inspires their music.

Jahawi is based out of Kenya. He produces music, and he used to be a DJ.

JAHAWI BERTOLLI (EXPLORER AND MUSICIAN): My name is Jahawi Bertolli. I focus a lot on conservation, underwater filmmaking, but my earliest passion has been music. And I’m very excited about this episode because we get to meet an incredible musician from the African continent.

More after the break.

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BERTOLLI: Hello, Hello.

HADERO: Hello, Jahawi. Such a pleasure to be in conversation with you.

BERTOLLI: So you received a National Geographic grant for your project Movement. It’s a transmedia storytelling initiative about migration and music. Tell me more about Movement. How did it get started and what kind of stories have you told?

HADERO: Well, Movement got started actually, in the last months of 2017. So we’ve been at this project for five years now. We started out as just a podcast and then we evolved. We, of course, have this wonderful relationship with National Geographic, which is allowing us to really look at specific communities. So we were in Abu Dhabi looking at what migration and cultural innovation look like in the United Arab Emirates. And we’re going to be in UCLA in Los Angeles looking at migration and music as it evolves there and in New York as well.

The story of migration and culture is the story of New York. But that’s not the story that we hear about in New York. We don’t hear that immigrants, migrants, and refugees are New York, you know. So for me, Movement is an opportunity to change the conversation around migration and put people who’ve experienced it at the forefront of defining what those narratives are, and also do it in a way that touches a wellspring that is deep in us, which is culture and music, and the ways that our connection to ancestry and the sounds of our roots are actually driving innovation across the world.

BERTOLLI: Wow. No, that’s incredible. You, yourself had an interesting childhood, and how did that play into this role of how you’re sort of going in and looking at music and the movement of people? What was your childhood experience?

HADERO: Well, I left Ethiopia. I was born in Addis Ababa and my family and I left when I was about two years old and we went to Germany. And then from there we went to the U.S. and we came as refugees, both to Germany and to the U.S. And so I grew up in that context. And, you know, I grew up with a very Ethiopian household. But at the time, there weren’t that many Ethiopian diaspora communities in the U.S., so it was a very lonely way to grow up, really. And so music was one of the ways that I stayed connected and that I felt my way into my identity, and also had an opportunity to bring others into that shared experience in a way that let me express my joy and my strength and the strengths of my culture and roots and ancestry.

So music was always a part of my upbringing. And we used to listen to these old, old, warped, garbled tapes that, like—a cousin would come and they would bring us these tapes from home, and they were these little treasures. And then we were also listening to Prince and Michael Jackson on the radio, and then later I was listening to Duke Ellington and John Coltrane and Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. So really, like, the places that I’ve lived have become the music that I’ve made.

But also I think that there are a lot of experiences that we went through that a lot of people who immigrate have in common, you know—the sense of dislocation, a sense of having to remake home, explore what is home, define it for yourself, rebuild community. And all of those things get explored in the music that I make and also are a reason that I’m so attracted to building community as a part of my creative practice every single day.

BERTOLLI: It’s incredibly powerful just how many influences that we get from our life experiences that music relates to or actually how music helps us through. And there’s a portion of the podcast where you had talked to the Somalian rapper FREEK. And so I’d like to listen to a little bit of that.

HADERO: Great.

(Movement podcast episode with FREEK plays.)

HADERO: Today on Movement, the story of a Somali rapper in the United Arab Emirates. Mustafa Mohamed Ismail, aka FREEK.

HADERO (to Ismail): Do you remember your very first live show?

MUSTAFA ISMAIL, AKA FREEK (MUSICIAN): Yeah, it was 2014. Back then I had a song called “Unemployed” that kind of went viral in the city.

(“Batali” by FREEK plays.)

That was the first project that made me be like, listen, like, let’s not fake it. Like, this is not talk about we getting money. I’m in a yacht. I’m like, listen, we’re going to shoot a video. There’s like a cheap sandwich from Abu Dhabi; it’s like literally half a dollar—the broke people sandwich. That’s what we call it. And literally we shot the video inside, like, literally on the table eating the sandwich. It just resonates. Like, a lot of people related to it because a lot of people, they used to eat from that place used to hide they used to eat from that place. And we just exposed it like, we are those people.

It was a disgrace to be unemployed or be a guy that don’t have anything in his pocket, which turned out to be a funny comedy song. We just literally dissing ourselves. And also we uploaded on YouTube literally in like two hours from recording it to uploading it. And sometimes when you don’t really care about something, it blows.

I was doing some random things growing up. I was the only Black guy skateboarding that listens to heavy metal. So it’s like, Man, this guy’s a freak. Like, it’s a freak of nature, you know? And just labeled myself that. Just to give me that power. Just to stay in that path. You don’t have to be normal sometimes. It’s cool not to be normal sometimes.

(“Mia Mia” by FREEK plays.)

HADERO: Mustafa was born in the UAE, in a city right next to Dubai. But since his parents are from Somalia, he’s not actually a citizen. For context, this is a country where roughly 90 percent of the population are not citizens. They’re foreign nationals, usually called expats. In order to stay in the country, they need a visa. And in order to keep that visa, they need a job. So you can see why a song about unemployment and cheap sandwiches might resonate. It’s not just about money; it’s about legal status. And this is something Mustafa has had to think about for a long time.

ISMAIL: I never saw anything else than the UAE. I felt like the city hugged me. Like the city literally didn’t make me feel like I’m a stranger. I was around Sudanese, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Egyptians, and Emiratis of course. It’s like I never knew that I’m an expat until I was like nine or 10.

HADERO: What was that moment?

ISMAIL: It was shocking, to be honest. Like, I had to grow up. I need to find a job. I need to—I need to get into uni because I didn’t want to leave. After 18 your dad can’t sponsor you. Basically, you’re on your own.

HADERO: I got you.

ISMAIL: I called it home, so I’m like, listen, I’ll fight. I’ll fight until it works out.

(“Kathab” by FREEK plays.)

I stayed. I hustled. I joined a company that I hated just for me to keep doing videos and try to pursue music on the side. My mom was the first obstacle I had to surpass. She was like, You’re here. You’re an expat. You need to follow the program. You can’t just be you. It’s not even a thing. Like, doing something in entertainment, let alone in music, not in business, like—

HADERO: Right.

ISMAIL: —that was definitely a no no.

HADERO: Back in 2009, before his first song went viral and before he was even performing, FREEK got a job as an usher for the first ever F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. He was basically just there to check tickets.

ISMAIL: They got Beyoncé to open up for the F1 that day. And I was looking at that stage, I’m like, wow, I was like 20–25,000 people, 30,000 people just singing along to her. I’m like wow. This is phenomenal. Like, I wish I can be on that stage.

HADERO: Ten years later for the 2019 Grand Prix, FREEK was on that stage opening for Future.

So I assume that now, you know, now you have the visa. Now you have that solid foundation. Right?

ISMAIL: Yeah, I got a golden visa. Now I can stay here for good as a singer as well. Like, I got it from the government because—and what I’m doing. And I never thought this can happen, like just because of music, and just to be validated and just to feel, like, important in what I’m doing. And it’s beautiful.

(End of the Movement podcast.)

BERTOLLI: So from from listening to that podcast, what I found such a poignant moment was that coming from East Africa and how a lot of people have moved to the Middle East to look for work and this and that, and FREEK really, I mean, touched a nerve in terms of, you know, there’s that idea of trying to make it, trying to create a career, trying to stay in the country. And I found it quite incredible that through his music he ended up getting a golden ticket for his visa, that he could stay in Abu Dhabi and live there, all through music. And these are stories that, I mean, for us in East Africa, we don’t really hear because we often hear more negative things. But I’d love to sort of hear your thoughts on it, how music created such a positive effect and change on FREEK’s life in the Middle East.

HADERO: Yeah, you know, I agree with you completely. Like the fact that music was the way that he was able to guarantee his long-term home in the United Arab Emirates is really a story that you just don’t hear very often. And one thing that was really powerful for us when we were working on the story with FREEK, was that we went to the United Arab Emirates. We went to Abu Dhabi to also put on a live show with FREEK.

And what was really interesting was that in the UAE, something like 90 percent of the people there are from somewhere else. And so our audience for the live show was the same. There were people in the audience who were parents to kids who were like eight, nine, 10. Folks from Ethiopia and from the Philippines, Indonesia. And they were telling us, you know, my kids are going to be like FREEK. They’re going to be wondering at 18, how are they going to stay in the country?

And so FREEK telling his story ended up being this catalyst for folks in the audience to think about and prepare their own families for what the long-term impacts of living in the UAE are, could be. And so because the thing about Movement is that it’s not just about the stories that the artist tells, it’s also about the conversations that the stories can spark. What we’re trying to do is to share different kinds of experience than you typically hear. Because the thing about FREEK’s story is that it’s also a story of joy, of expression, and of the power of culture to make home for people in ways that are unexpected and that are about building community in a new way. And now he’s touring. He’s going to the U.K. He came to the U.S. over the summer. He’s going all over the Middle East. But for him, the UAE is home. It’s where he was born and raised, so he always goes back there to continue his practice and to continue evolving his community.

BERTOLLI: Nice. It’s incredible to hear how his career is really growing.

BERTOLLI: Now as someone who’s traveled and sort of in a sense migrated from one place to another from a young age, how do you think places can imprint themselves on people?

HADERO: Do you have a song that is associated with a time in your life? We all have those songs where like, a song will come on and instantly you’ll be back, not just in a place like a city, but you’ll be back on a particular street corner where you and your friends used to play soccer or football, you know? And it was that song that was always on the radio in that time. You know, music becomes imprinted on us and we go right back to a place, a time, the smells.

For me, I was born in Addis Ababa, and, of course, the music of that place was always in my house growing up; but I grew up in Brooklyn, and I was growing up in the time of early hip hop in Brooklyn. And I remember we would walk down the street and there would be B-boys with cardboard boxes. They would undo a cardboard box, a really big box, and they would bring it out and they would break dance on the boxes. And so you would see cyphers right next to those with people breakdancing and spinning on those cardboard boxes. And there would be lonely saxophonists that would put themselves in just the right place on a subway station so that the acoustics were amazing. And you would tell like, wow, they were an incredible jazz musician, you know? And then I’ve been in San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay area, for almost 20 years, and this is the place of singer songwriters, you know? Three chords and the truth. Just like strum your guitar and you can sing your truth. And all of those places made it into my music.

And so for me, place and music are one conversation. It’s hard to talk about because we use music to talk about the things that are hard to talk about. So it can be hard to talk about music because instantly you’re talking about the thing that you use to talk about the things that are hard to talk about. Like it’s hard to talk about migration, it’s just hard. So sometimes it’s better if we can hear the sound of migration. If we can, we can be let into the world of people who’ve experienced it through the sounds that they make. You know, it’s like music can be a shortcut to help us, to help us understand the place, but also how place changes people. We’re all like tuning forks, you know—let a person sing and all the places they’ve loved will resonate and just keep resonating.

BERTOLLI: You know, that’s so interesting because I come from a dance music background and I used to DJ quite a lot. And although I haven’t done it recently, but there’s certain times that I kind of go on a reminiscent flow and play a song, and all of a sudden I’m transported back to the first time I played that song to a crowd. And you can feel the energy again. You can feel the emotion. And it’s such a powerful tool as, you know, to help us feel things and also to help us deal with things.

But more recently, within a lot of the work that I’ve been doing, I’ve been trying to take that concept, but bringing in the natural world to it. So having the sounds of when you wake up, you know, as you grew up and you heard the sounds of birds and things like that, and how that also has a similar impact because nature does have its own music in a sense. So how does the natural world inform music, but also your music?

HADERO: Well, I’m glad that we’re talking about this because it’s really important. The sounds of a place are a part of its character. When I go to a new place, I’m always listening for what are the sounds that are different here? Oh, in a rhythmic way I hear the train going by. Oh, it’s coming now. Oh, it’s coming again. And then you start to get a sense of the pulse of a place through the trains. You can do that like, Oh, the sound of the crowd is louder now. Oh, this is the rush hour. People are making their way through their lives in a pulse, and you can hear that pulse of a city.

For me, it’s also like, it’s almost like a way of meditating. So sometimes when I want to feel creative musically, the first thing I’ll do is just stop and just find my way into a quiet place, quiet my mind and just listen. Oh, what are the sounds being made right now?

The first song on my album, my last album that I made, the album was called When the People Move, The Music Moves Too, and the first song was called “This Was Made Here.” And the rhythm was based on a cooking pan lid that was rolling back and forth on my counter and making this incredible rhythm duh duh duh duh…

(Sound of cooking pan lid rolling on counter.)

I was like, Oh, I got to record that. What, what is happening? Right now?

And so I feel like it’s two things. Like, one is that, what do we absorb from the sounds around us? And then the other thing is how are we inspired by the sounds around us? And I think that, you know, we all long for a relationship to nature, and the natural world is very alive with soundscapes. There’s lows and mids and highs in a natural soundscape. There’s maybe the frogs are making the lows, the like low croaks, or there is like, you know, the birds are on the highs or the crickets or—just the way that the music will organize itself, where there’s the lows, there’s the bass, there’s the mids, like the guitars and the keyboards, there’s the highs like a trumpet or a flute. You know, nature organizes itself like that, too. It has that in natural soundscapes as well.

So I think that it’s a tool for us to sink into understanding a place, but it’s also a way that we can root ourselves in wherever we are, find ourselves at home, and we can get to know a place through its sounds.

BERTOLLI That also kind of leads me on to your music and, you know, there is talk that we have memories within our DNA, and that can be transferred through generations. That’s such a cool concept. And I would like to actually play one of your songs and ask you a bit more about it. And quite fittingly, this song is called “Supernova.”

(“Supernova” by Meklit Hadero plays.)

Where did you come from?

Where did you grow those bones?

Midnight is a mirror

Look up, your reflection falls

All the pieces collected

From debris left behind

Now gravity is possessing me

Electromagnetic mind

Remember when you’d fly without wings

How you loved how you loved

to feel the falling

Cross the universe on a string

And start over,

Ove - eh - er

Cause everything that we are was made in a supernova

Everything that we are was made in a supernova

BERTOLLI: I love the energy in that track.

HADERO: Thank you.

And in that song you say that everything that we are was made in a supernova. And it is true that much of the matter in the universe was produced by supernovae exploding.


BERTOLLI: What inspired this song? Did you want to teach people about astrophysics, or was there a deeper meaning?


HADERO: Well, there’s two answers to this question. One is that I was working on—I actually wrote it a long time before I recorded it. At the time, I was working on an Ethiopian hip hop space opera called “Copper Wire,” and we started working with this electrical engineer who was working on the Kepler missions, which is how NASA at the time was looking for Earth-size planets in other solar systems. And his name was Jon Jenkins, and he would make sonifications of starlight data that came in through Kepler’s telescope. Star sounds. And they were funky and pulsing, and a lot of them were super weird.

(Star sounds play.)

But there were a few that were just incredible, and I was just listening to them over and over again. I was like, I have to collaborate with him. I have to do something. I have to work with this. It was so incredible to me that I could hear the sound of the twinkle. And I started thinking about stars, and also I was thinking about supernovae. And I started to think about like every time I saw anything, whether it was the tambourine that I’m looking at right now hanging on my wall or the river that’s underneath us or the trees—everything is from those things.

And so it was also an opportunity to write about, you know, how far back do we need to go before we understand that we’re connected to absolutely everything around us, you know? Nothing is ordinary, that everything is sacred. Everything is hallowed. All of it came from a star. You and you. Everyone, everyone. The person that I’m in a big fight with right now, who I can’t stand, they are from the center of a star that is billions of years old. And so it was helping me—it was helping me to be connected to everything. And so that’s what that song is about. It’s about this great underlying unity that cannot, cannot be broken.

BERTOLLI: So as I kind of mentioned, years ago, I was working very much in dance music and DJing and having probably far too much fun. But I took a break from music and it was only recently that I sort of stumbled upon these things called rock gongs. And they’re these ancient musical instruments that our ancestors could have played thousands of years ago. And there’s a lot we’re trying to figure out about it. But it sent me down this journey where I’ve been trying to—not even trying—there was this realization that we have these cultures that have gone that we know nothing about, but we have their instruments. We have incredible cultures that are still with us, like the Hadzabe or the San that we could risk losing. And then they’re all based in this incredible environment. So I went down this kind of crazy path of trying to figure out, can we use these ancient instruments, and the sounds of the cultures and the tribes that we stand to lose, to make contemporary music? And I would love to actually play you one of my songs.

HADERO: I would love that.

(“Lomo O’pay” by Jahawi Bertolli plays.)

HADERO: Oh, my God. It’s so beautiful. It’s so beautiful.

BERTOLLI: Oh, thank you.

HADERO: Were there rock gongs in that piece?

BERTOLLI: All the percussion, apart from the kick drum that came in at the end was rocks, was actual rock gongs.

HADERO: Wow. And how did you record that? Do you go out with mobile recording equipment?

BERTOLLI: So those particular rock gongs, it was actually—I hadn’t actually planned on recording. I was on safari and we stumbled upon these rock gongs and I was just fascinated by the sound of them. I was like, How can a rock make this sound? So those particular recordings I’ve done with a little, like, microphone attachment with my iPhone.

HADERO: Oh, wow.

BERTOLLI: But just the resonance of these rocks was incredible. And, it took a couple of months afterwards to kind of figure it all out. But what was really interesting was, that whistle is the sound—is the whistle that the Hadzabe use to call the Honeyguide, which is a bird that shows them to the hives. And it was so incredible to sort of—what we could consider musical for the Hadzabe, it’s how they communicate with nature and elements of nature. And that’s life. And it was, I thought it was such a powerful thing that music is life. It’s part of us and, you know, the tribes and cultures. I know in Africa that sort of music and dancing and everything, it’s all part of the same thing, which I think is such a special way of looking at music and how it relates to us.

HADERO: Absolutely, because it’s not separate. It’s not a separate thing that you do. And you’re like, I’m going to go play music now. It’s just being. It’s your whole being in the world and the way that your being literally organizes the world is through a practice that is musical but is not separate from life. I just love that.

BERTOLLI: I have another song that I wanted to ask you about. The song is called “Human Animal.”

(“Human Animal” by Meklit Hadero plays.)

Animal, Animal, Animal

From savannah you were born

Two legs, two arms, two eyes and a restless soul

Animal, Animal, Animal

And you want to fly away

From all those voices demanding you to be tame

Animal, Animal, Animal

That don’t mean you can’t be kind

But what if a part of you knew how to

Stay wild


the human animal


the human animal

There’s something in us

Just a little bit rough

That longs to run

The power of nature

It roar when it face you

But where you think your own roar came from?

BERTOLLI: So in this song, you say:

And you want to fly away

From all those voices demanding you to be tame

Animal, Animal, Animal

That doesn’t mean you can’t be kind

But what if a part of you knew how to

Stay wild

Can you break those lyrics down for me? What are you trying to say?

HADERO: Well, it’s funny. No one ever chooses this song to talk about. I actually, I don’t know that anybody’s ever asked me about it in an interview.


It was me kind of being annoyed that people try to say they’re not part of nature, that people try to say that we’re not animals, that we didn’t come from the natural world. Yes, we did.

I get upset that it’s used as an insult. Oh, that person is just an animal. What do you think? Animals, like, animals are sacred! Like, you can’t use that as an insult. We can’t—like, even just thinking that. There is no lesser. We’re all together here on this earth, and we have to be aware of our embeddedness in the natural world and not see ourselves as separate, as dominant, as better than. And that’s how we’re going to get out of this mess that we’re in. So that’s what that song was about.

BERTOLLI: You know, I completely agree because as long as people see themselves outside of nature, we can’t find the solutions that will help us rebalance the world until we realize we are part of that whole system. And we have to play by those rules of nature and we have to respect nature because that’s what gives us life.

Thank you Meklit. That was so cool. I’d really love to continue the conversation. There’s so much depth in what you do, which is amazing.

HADERO: And you as well. And I would love to stay in touch. One day please take me to a rock gong.

BERTOLLI: For sure, for sure.

DOUGLAS: That was Jahawi Bertolli and Meklit Hadero, both explorers and musicians, in conversation. If you like what you hear and you want to support more content like this, please rate and review us in your podcast app and consider a National Geographic subscription. That’s the best way to support Overheard. Go to natgeo.com/exploremore to subscribe.

Learn more about Meklit Hadero and the Movement project at her website meklitmusic.com. Meklit is spelled M-E-K-L-I-T. And you can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @meklitmusic.

Learn more about Jahawi Bertolli and his First Rock project on his website jahawi.com. That’s spelled J-A-H-A-W-I. And you can follow him on Instagram @jahawibertolli.

Follow FREEK on instagram @freektv. That’s FREEK spelled F-R-E-E-K.

The “star sounds” you heard were provided by Jon Jenkins, co-investigator for data analysis for the Kepler Mission. Learn more about the Kepler Mission and star sonification on their webpage.

This is the final episode of The Soul of Music, but keep listening to the music from the series. We’ve curated a playlist with our favorites tracks from Rhiannon Giddens, Sampa the Great, Chief Xian, and Meklit Hadero, as well as some of their peers and inspirations. Just search for National Geographic Presents: The Soul of Music on Spotify.

That’s all in the show notes, right there in your podcast app.


This week’s Overheard episode is produced by me, Khari Douglas.

Our senior producers are Brian Gutierrez and Jacob Pinter.

Our senior editor is Eli Chen.

Our manager of audio is Carla Wills, who edited this episode.

Our executive producer of audio is Davar Ardalan.

Our photo editor is Julie Hau.

Ted Woods sound-designed this episode, and Hansdale Hsu composed our theme music.

The Soul of Music series is produced in collaboration with National Geographic Music.

Special thanks to: Hannah Grace Vancleave, Jennifer Stilson, and Brittany Grier.

This podcast is a production of National Geographic Partners.

The Movement podcast is produced by Ian Coss and Meklit Hadero.

The National Geographic Society, committed to illuminating and protecting the wonder of our world, funds the work of National Geographic Explorers Meklit Hadero and Jahawi Bertolli.

Michael Tribble is the vice president of integrated storytelling.

Nathan Lump is National Geographic’s editor in chief.

Thanks for listening, and see ya next time.


Want more?

Learn more about Meklit Hadero and the Movement project at her website meklitmusic.com. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @meklitmusic.

Learn more about Jahawi Bertolli and his First Rock project on his website jahawi.com. You can follow him on Instagram @jahawibertolli.

Check out the Overheard episode “Ancient Orchestra” to learn more about Jahawi and the sound of rock gongs.

And keep listening to songs featured in The Soul of Music as well as a few bonus tracks in this Spotify playlist.

Also explore: 

Follow FREEK and his music on instagram @freektv.

The “star sounds” you heard were provided by Jon Jenkins, co-investigator for data analysis for the Kepler Mission. Learn more about the Kepler Mission and star sonification on their webpage.

Learn more about ethio-jazz pioneer Mulatu Astake in this Nat Geo article.

Thinking about traveling to Ethiopia? This Nat Geo travel guide can help you plan your trip.