Radio 3 embarks on a musical exploration of the Commonwealth

A celebration of music in the run-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games

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This month Radio 3 is launching a series of programmes that will explore the music and cultures of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth. Broadcast over 26 weeks, the series of ‘Commonwealth Connections’ will be part of Radio 3’s theme on World on 3 in the run-up to this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in July. Each week will also feature a ‘heritage track’ selected by a famous athlete from a Commonwealth country.

The first broadcast is on Friday 31 January (11pm-1am), live from Glasgow’s Pacific Quay and this will focus on the music of Jamaica – with a heritage track selected by Swaziland’s marathon champion Gideon Mthembu. In February, the programme will turn its attention to Canada (Friday 7) with a heritage track from Lesotho’s sprint hero Mosito Lehata. And South Africa is the focus of Friday 14, with a heritage track from the Bahamian 2012 Olympic gold medallist Chris Brown.

In March, Radio 3 will be broadcasting a special Commonwealth Day concert (10 March, 7.30pm) from Maida Vale Studios with the combined forces of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, under Nicholas Collon. This includes Errollyn Wallen’s Mighty River, a work that celebrates the abolition of slavery, and Elgar’s First Symphony.

‘We hope our listeners will enjoy joining Radio 3 on this wide-reaching journey of traditional cultures and music from across the world,’ says Radio 3 controller Roger Wright.