“Thunderstruck/War” is a radio documentary by Thomas Burkhalter (Norient Sounds) & Bernard Clarke (RTÉ lyric fm). The documentary surveys a selected history of warfare and how it has been recorded in words, sound and music.
Among the subjects are Paris 2015, Ancient Greece, The Bible, The Crusades, William Byrd and the harpsichord, Beethoven, WW1 (recording, Futurism), WW2 (radio, propaganda), Vietnam; contemporary conflicts (Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan); music as torture at Guantanamo Bay; and drones and the new automatic wars and cyber assault in Iran. Along the way, the piece showcases diverse styles and sounds from Psalm 150 to AC/DC; archive materials from periscope smartphone apps to shellac 78s to radio broadcasts; and interviews with people like Raymond Deane, Danny McCarthy, Kerbaj Mazen, and Matthew Herbert.
Dr. Thomas Burkhalter is an ethnomusicologist, music journalist, and cultural producer from Switzerland. He is the founder and director of Norient. He published the book Local Music Scenes and Globalization: Transnational Platforms in Beirut (Routledge) and co-edited The Arab Avant-Garde: Music, Politics, Modernity (Wesleyan University Press). He works as a researcher at the University of Basel and the University of Arts Bern, financed by the Swiss National Foundation (SNF). As the director of the Norient Musikfilm Festival, a documentary filmmaker and an audio-visual performer, he places emphasis on trans-disciplinary approaches between theory and practice.
Bernard Clarke is an award-winning radio broadcaster with RTÉ lyric fm, Ireland. His new music programme, Nova, has won five consecutive PPI Radio Awards (National Irish Radio Awards) and one New York Festival’s award; he’s also won prizes for documentaries on Patrick Kavanagh, Glenn Gould, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix.