For the travel show fan, this new series takes an inspired-twist on cultural education.

Photo: PBS

It’s hard not to see how the world is growing closer. With the outpouring (though not necessarily the execution) of love and support for Haiti, it seems as if the pain and suffering we see others experiencing is truly hitting us in the heart.

But the connection doesn’t necessarily need to be all about pain – it can also be about joy, movement, music. And maybe a little bit of drama, politics, and revolution just for fun. Which is exactly why I’m looking forward to a new travel series on PBS based on stories behind world music (and countries) you may not otherwise hear about.

It’s called Soundtracks: Music Without Borders, and it premieres this Monday, January 25th at 10pm on your local PBS station. Here’s a little clip to draw you in:

If you can’t wait, aren’t in the States, or prefer to watch shows online, they’ve already got the pilot episode on their website. Along with telling the story of Fela’s Afrobeat, seen in the clip above, the reporters find out what’s behind a pop-inspired Putin propaganda song, and my favorite – why the hell an internationally-known Kazakh violinist would ask Borat’s (Sasha Baron Cohen) brother to write a symphony for the country.

If you dig the episode, let PBS know on their comments page. This is what they have to say:

If enough of you agree that SOUND TRACKS is the kind of series you’d like to have on PBS, you can look forward — starting next year — to a world of exciting music, surprising destinations and unforgettable stories.

Some of those possible places include the “bayous of Louisiana to the backstreets of Havana, from the nightclubs of Paris to desert music festivals in Mali.” Plus, they promise to interview Bollywood singers, and you know you’re dying to ask if they are being serious when they sing and dance like that.

Community Connection

Need some help to find the best world music available? Then bookmark Paul Sullivan’s fantastic resource, #MusicMonday: 50 Music Sites That Matter.