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Radio France Internationale

The True Russia Collective

Sound Kitchen Podcast RFI

This week on The Sound Kitchen you’ll hear the answer to the question about Mikhail Baryshnikov from the True Russia Collective. There’s information about Planète Radio’s ePOP video competition which you should all enter, great music, and of course, the new quiz question, too. Just click on the “Audio” arrow above and enjoy!

Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday – here on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll hear the winner’s names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and listen every week.

RFI Planète Radio is sponsoring a video contest, and we want you to enter. The deadline is tomorrow, 1 May – so get your video in today!

Planète Radio is an RFI department that reaches out to remote populations around the world. For the fourth consecutive year, Planète Radio is holding a video competition on environmental issues. The theme of this year’s competition is “Show how they feel”: You are to create a 3-minute video about climate change, the environment, pollution - told by the people it affects. Here’s what Planète Radio says about the competition:

“Environmental deterioration, climate change, pollution, everybody's talking about it. But amid articles, figures, and expert reports, what do we really know about the feelings of the people already impacted? The video clips produced by the ePOP community in more than 50 countries allow us to hear from those who never ask for anything yet have seen it all - those who are already living with these changes that deteriorate their quality of life.”

Your project can be intergenerational: Get together with your grandfather, your aunt, someone older in your community and ask them how they feel about what is happening to their surroundings or to the place where they grew up.

Your project can also be about how you, or people your age, feel about climate change, given that your future will be affected by this phenomenon.

Gather the words of those around you who are confronting the environmental crisis in their daily lives, investing, researching, and questioning the urgency of deploying solutions to face it.

Prizes for this year’s competition include equipment grants from 1,000 to 4,500 euros, as well as ePOP promotion kits and other goodies.

For competition guidelines and more information about the four different categories you can enter, click here.

You can also write to us at if you need more help.

We’re very proud that the winner in the ePOP 2020 RFI Club category went to an English language club – Adita Prithika’s RFI Agnichiragu Phoenix Club in Tamil Nadu, India. Here’s Adita’s award-winning video.

Please note that you do not have to be a member of an RFI English Club to enter. Everyone is welcome!

The deadline for entries is 1 May.

Erwan and I are busy cooking up special shows with your musical requests, so get them in! Send your musical requests to Tell us why you like the piece of music, too – it makes it more interesting for us all!

Be sure you check out our wonderful podcasts!

In addition to the breaking news articles on our site, with in-depth analysis of current affairs in France and across the globe, we have several podcasts which will leave you hungry for more.

There’s Paris Perspective, Africa Calling, Spotlight on France, and of course, The Sound Kitchen. We have a bilingual series - an old-time radio show, with actors (!) to help you learn French, called Les voisins du 12 bis. And there is the excellent International Report, too.

As you see, sound is still quite present in the RFI English service. Keep checking our website for updates on the latest from our excellent staff of journalists. You never know what we’ll surprise you with!

To listen to our podcasts from your PC, go to our website and click on the three horizontal bars on the top right, choose “Listen to RFI / Podcasts”, and you’ve got ‘em ! You can either listen directly or subscribe and receive them directly on your mobile phone.

To listen to our podcasts from your mobile phone, slide through the tabs just under the lead article (the first tab is “Headline News”) until you see “Podcasts”, and choose your show.

Teachers, take note! I save postcards and stamps from all over the world to send to you for your students. If you would like stamps and postcards for your students, just write and let me know. The address is If you would like to donate stamps and postcards, feel free! Our address is listed below.

Another idea for your students: my beloved music teacher from St Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, Br Gerald Muller, has been writing books for young adults in his retirement – and they are free! There is a volume of biographies of painters and musicians called Gentle Giants, and an excellent biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., too. They are also a good way to help you improve your English - that’s how I worked on my French, reading books which were meant for young readers – and I guarantee you, it’s a good method for improving your language skills. To get Br. Gerald’s free books, click here.

Independent RFI English Clubs: Be sure to always include Audrey Iattoni ( from our Listener Relations department in all your RFI Club correspondence. Remember to copy me ( when you write to her so that I know what is going on, too. N.B.: You do not need to send her your quiz answers! Email overload!

And don’t forget, there is a Facebook page just for you, the independent RFI English Clubs. Only members of RFI English Clubs can belong to this group page, so when you apply to join, be sure you include the name of your RFI Club and your membership number. Everyone can look at it, but only members of the group can post on it. If you haven’t yet asked to join the group, and you are a member of an independent, officially recognized RFI English club, go to the Facebook link above, and fill out the questionnaire !!!!! (if you do not answer the questions, I click “decline”).

There’s a Facebook page for members of the general RFI Listeners Club, too. Just click on the link above and fill out the questionnaire, and you can connect with your fellow Club members around the world. Be sure you include your RFI Listeners Club membership number (most of them begin with an A, followed by a number) in the questionnaire, or I will have to click “Decline”, which I don’t like to do!

This week’s quiz: On 19 March, I asked you a question about Ukraine – specifically, about the Russians against the war. Earlier that week you listened to and read Jan van der Made’s excellent article “Who are the Russians campaigning to stop Putin and help Ukraine?” Jan’s interview was with Sergei Guriev, the founder of the True Russia Collective. I asked you about Mikhail Baryshnikov, a member of the collective. You were to do a bit of research on him, and tell me who he is, a bit of his story, his history.

The answer is: Mikhail Baryshnikov was the preeminent ballet dancer in the ’70s & ’80s. Born in 1948 in Soviet-controlled Latvia, he was a member of the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, and made international headlines in 1974 while on tour with the Kirov in Canada, when he escaped his minders. All traveling Soviet artists were limited in their movements for exactly that reason: fear they would defect to the west. He was granted political asylum by the Canadian government.

Baryshnikov then moved to the US and joined the American Ballet Theatre, then the New York City Ballet so that he could learn modern classical dance, which was not known in the Soviet Union. Baryshnikov then returned to the American Ballet Theatre, where he was Principal Dancer and later, Artistic Director. He has done some films, too. You know, sometimes it’s good to be old – I got to see him dance. It was perfection.

The winners are: Jobayada Aktar Jai, who’s a member of the Nilshagor RFI Fan Club in Nilphamari, Bangladesh. There are two RFI Listeners Club members who won this week: Radhakrishna Pillai from Kerala State in India, and Kanwar Sandhu from British Columbia in Canada.

Rounding out the list are two RFI English listeners from Bangladesh: Tasmaul Housna Akhi from Naogaon, and Lutfor Rahaman from Bogura, who noted he is ill and asks for your healing thoughts.

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program: “New York New York” by John Kander and Fred Ebb, performed by the Instrumental Big Band Orchestra; an excerpt from Sergei Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini”; “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov; “I’m Gonna’ Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” by Fats Waller, played by Stephanie Trick, and “Cantaloupe Island” by Herbie Hancock, performed by Hancock on the piano, Freddie Hubbard on the cornet, bassist Ron Carter, and Tony Williams on the drums.

Do you have a musical request? Send it to

This week’s question ... You have to listen to the show to participate. After you’ve listened to the show, refer to Amanda Morrow's article to help you with the answers.

You have until 23 May to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 28 May podcast. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

Send your answers to:


Susan Owensby

RFI – The Sound Kitchen

80, rue Camille Desmoulins

92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux



By text … You can also send your quiz answers to The Sound Kitchen mobile phone. Dial your country’s international access code, or “ + ”, then 33 6 31 12 96 82. Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your text – and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize, click here.

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club, click here.