Archives for category: The World
A trishaw driver association parading down Pansodan Street in Yangon, on their way to deliver offerings to a Buddhist monastery.

A trishaw driver association parading down Pansodan Street in Yangon, on their way to deliver offerings to a Buddhist monastery.

U Pyinya Zawta, a Burmese Buddhist monk I know here in Brooklyn, told me that tazaungdaing was happening the day I arrived in Myanmar. I was all “tazaungwhat?” and he explained that it was a big deal–the end of a month of offerings people make to monasteries. Kind of like a Burmese Buddhist Christmas, he said, only giving stuff instead of getting stuff.

So when I got to Yangon on November 28, I fought off the jet lag and went out to see what I could see. Here’s an audio slideshow I produced for The World.

Irrawaddy Magazine covers from the mid-2000s hang in a conference room at the publication's Chiang Mai offices.

Irrawaddy Magazine covers from the mid-2000s hang in a conference room at the publication’s Chiang Mai offices.

I’ve been reading the Irrawaddy since I first got interested in Burma three years ago. (Back then most people I talked to still called it “Burma.”) So I was excited to look them up when I got to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where they’ve been based since the ’90s.

More excited still to find out that they were, the week I arrived in Chiang Mai, publishing their first issue openly inside of Burma/Myanmar. Here’s the story I did for The World about exile media going home.

A few small things I wrote for The World‘s blog while I was in Myanmar–

One on chasing rumors of demonstrations, and finding only a scrum of reporters.

One on international ATM cards finally being accepted in the country, and my failed attempts to make use of this fact.

And one on Yangon’s lovely quality of being a bit trapped in time, a quality that I think it’s now quickly shedding.


Asia Green Development Bank seen through spires at Sule Pagoda. AGD is owned by Tay Za, who Forbes called “one of Burma’s richest tycoons.”

A couple new Global Hits on The World in the past month.

Hüsnü Şenlendirici is a big-deal Turkish clarinetist whose recorded output sometimes tends towards the New Agey, but was way more old-agey when Julia and I saw him in Philadelphia at the end of October. The show was part of Al Bustan Seeds of Culture‘s 2012-2013 season. Here’s the story I filed for The World.

I first got into Bachata a couple years ago when I was working at WYPR in Baltimore and a few of the newly resurfaced legends of the music came to play at Artscape. I recently got back in touch with Benjamin de Menil, the guy who put on that show and runs iASO Records, a label largely devoted to bachata. He told me about an upcoming bachata show he was putting on in Manhattan, mixing a two generations of bachateros. Can’t miss that. Here’s the story.

How many times have you asked yourself “What do New York’s taxi cab drivers think about the subjects being discussed at the United Nations General Assembly?”

Ask no more, because The World had me go out last week while UNGA was clogging up Manhattan’s thoroughfares and find out.

This story was also featured on “Boston Calling,” the new missive from The World that airs on the BBC World Service.

A diplomatic convoy turns onto 42nd Street near the UN.

(Soon after I took this picture, a fellow wearing a jaunty white “United States Secret Service” polo shirt came up to me, asked for my press credentials, and then said, “Be careful, because we’re watching.” Which reminds me, I need to get press credentials.)

I’m sorry to say it, but by the time you read this, Fanfare Ciocarlia [fun-FAR-ah CHOKE-ur-LEE-uh] will have left North America. If you’re in Europe, though, you really should try to catch one of their dates there. It’s a helluva show.

Here’s the story I did for The World about their New York date; it was part of the annual New York Gypsy Festival.

Here’s a longer version of the song that ends the piece–it starts right after I ran out into the lobby to get closer to the band as they marched out of the theater. Awesome.


Fanfare Ciocarlia. Photo Credit: Arne Reinhardt

You probably heard that Aung San Suu Kyi was here. Did you hear that Myanmar’s president was here too? He made a lot fewer headlines, although many BurMyanamar watchers say he deserves a lot of credit for setting in motion the reforms now happening in that duonymous (I know) country.

Here’s the story I did for The World about the diplomacy involved as the two continue to figure out how to share public and political space.

Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein. Photo via

Here’s a second story about some of the creative resistance that has sprung up in response to the violence in Syria, this one for The World and focusing on the collective Masasit Mati’s Top Goon series. I did an earlier story on the subject for Guernica.

Italian academic Donatella Della Ratta writes regularly and well about these subjects, check out her blog.

Here’s hoping that the members of Masasit Mati stay safe.

The cast of the second season of Top Goon.

Hafez Modirzadeh lives this generous, universal philosophy centered in music. He’s been refining it for 30 years. A lot of it began with Charlie Parker. Hear a bit about it in my story; learn more about it here. But, really, just spend some time listening to his music.

Allow me to set my journalistic objectivity aside for a moment and say I just really like Radio Jarocho. You can listen to the story I did about them for The World here. But you should really try to catch them live–for one thing the visual fun of their performance is lost on the radio. They also teach regular jarana and zapateado lessons. Dig ’em.

Radio Jarocho at Terraza Cafe in Queens.