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Lowlines

Author: Social Broadcasts & Scenery Studios

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Lowlines is a sonic scrapbook and a passport to roam. Following one woman’s pull to tune into the pulse of place - befriending strangers along the way.


Feeling pranged out by the London business hustle, food entrepreneur Petra Barran brought an audio recorder and set off with no itinerary, guided simply by a hunger to get lower and closer to the ground.


The series is a holiday for the ears, taking us to the heartbeat of New Orleans, the low-slung wetlands of South Louisiana, the slow gyrations of the Amtrak to Tucson. Down to the brittle rasp of the Sonoran desert, the rich, volcanic soil of Mexico City’s Aztec allotments and further, to the soaring jungle chorus of the Peruvian Amazon.
9 Episodes
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Where are you right now? If you were asked to recall the details of the ground you just walked on - the way it felt beneath your feet…the smell…  the sounds, the faces of the people you passed - could you do it? It’s possible you’re drawing a blank…and if that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place.I’m Petra Barran – a gatherer of people and food on the kerbs of London. I began as a food truck owner, cruising the UK, selling chocolate to any and everyone - and grew a whole multi-pronged street food organisation from there. But as my business took off and gave way to more and more meetings in glass buildings, the energy and genuine, spontaneous human connection that I thrived on started to fade away.I had this powerful urge to get…lower. To move down from my scrambled head and plant my feet back on the ground. So I stepped away from the business, packed up my stuff, bought a recorder and decided to let myself be pulled deep into magnetic places and meet those whose lives are shaped by them.No planning, no agenda and no neat conclusions. Just me, following and sharing threads, that are lower and closer to the ground. I call them Lowlines.To go deeper into Lowlines: low-lines.comProduced by Lucia Scazzocchio of Social Broadcasts, Executive-Produced by Lina Prestwood of Scenery StudiosPrologue Production and Sound Design by Lina PrestwoodMusic by Hannah Marshall
Trailer

Trailer

2024-01-3002:18

New Orleans - the most human city I know has to be the first stop on my pull to tune into the pulse of place. It’s the most magnetic of places. Here it feels like the air is thicker, the light has currents in it and the ground is …bouncy. And bubbling up from those streets is the second line, a rolling block party, a neighbourhood parade, a high-voltage current coursing through the city’s veins every Sunday with music, community, freedom and culture. For many Black New Orleanians it’s the day when you own the streets, so you better bring that FOOTWORKWe kick off the series with me getting my feet back on the ground at the Ole & Nu Style Fellas parade in the 6th Ward. Then we step off the sidewalk to go find the wonderful Jarrad DeGruy, whose footwork is unmatched, and whose spirit behind it is key to understanding the relationship between the second liners of New Orleans and the ground upon which they dance.CreditsFeaturing the voices of  Jared DeGruy, and AJ, Keisha, Paula, Joe, Stanley, Ducky, Harold, Tana, Herman, Charles at the Ole & Nu Style Fellas Social Aid & Pleasure Club paradeProduced by Lucia Scazzocchio of Social Broadcasts, Executive-Produced by Lina Prestwood of Scenery Studios, Mixing & Mastering: Jobina TinnemansMusic by Hannah Marshall with featured live music from Da Truth Brass BandTo go deeper into this episode head to low-lines.com
Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana - bottom of the map, end of the world and one of the ‘fastest disappearing places on earth’. Once fertile farmland, the bird’s foot-like piece of land that stretches south from New Orleans is fraying and breaking away under the pressure of industrial canal systems, rising sea levels and a leveed Mississippi river, divorced from building up the land around her with all that rich sediment she carries. Something needs to be done - and fast - but for the communities of people who have been woven into this landscape for generations, it’s not a simple fix.In Episode 2 I meet up with passionate ecologist, Dave Baker under the shade of an ancient oak tree in New Orleans’ City Park to get the lowdown on the urgency of this local land loss. He’s terrified for the area, but what about those who are on the front line of it? I wanted to get onto the ground, so off we go down to the ‘end of the world’ to meet people who are watching it play out in real time.There are no neat tie-ups here, just a simmering sigh of foreboding and a hell of a lot of heart. Love you, Louisiana.CreditsFeaturing the voices of Dave Baker, Barbara at The Lighthouse Lodge, Mitch in his truck, Wade Pitre in his John Deere buggy, the Army Corps of Engineers guys up on the levy and Justine DeMolle at Changes RestaurantProduced by Lucia Scazzocchio of Social Broadcasts, Executive-Produced by Lina Prestwood of Scenery Studios, Mixing & Mastering: Jobina TinnemansMusic by Hannah Marshall To go deeper into this episode head to low-lines.com - including a BONUS EPISODE of the full conversation with Dave Baker.
The Sunset Limited, Westbound - Fly or take the Amtrak? The journey or the destination? Taking the slow train to Tucson just felt right. You know when your whole body craves a more gentle, almost human tempo to carry you onto the next place? So, whilst keen to get to the wide open desert, the opportunity to stretch out the journey, savour the changing landscape through Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and have time to meet my fellow passengers was too much of a pull.  In Episode 3 we follow the lowlines of the train tracks and the hiss, groan and gentle gyrations of the 36 hour journey as I talk off-grid living, denture cream woes, magic mushrooms and marrying the same man three times with a raft of fellow travellers - all while trying to get a decent bite to eat and a bit of shut eye.CreditsFeaturing the voices of the King Brothers (Matt, Lenny, Lee and Bobby), Maria-Luisa Aguilar, Meredith, Brad, Konnor Broussard, the burrito lady on the platform in El Paso, Jackie in the cafeteria and Dwayne the conductorProduced by Lucia Scazzocchio of Social Broadcasts, Executive-Produced by Lina Prestwood of Scenery Studios, Mixing & Mastering: Jobina TinnemansMusic by Hannah Marshall with featured music via YouTube courtesy of Ry Cooder and Bobby KingTo go deeper into this episode head to low-lines.com
I’m looking for a desert woman, someone who is totally in tune with this powerful landscape and who might help me tune into its great vastness a little bit more. I hear in a Tucson cafe that Arivaca is ground zero for such women. I head down there - almost all the way to the border - and start asking around town for a desert woman. Who I end up spending time with is a long way from what I had imagined but who fills me with all kinds of ideas about what it is to belong to a place, to know it - and for it to know you.In Episode 4 we follow the lowlines to the La Gitana bar in Arivaca, the brittle dirt of a huntress’s land, discover an abandoned halfway house, a coven of new wave desert women in a secret bar at the back of a store - and then gravitate further down to the border to get up close with The Wall.CreditsFeaturing the voices of Samantha Moore, the Tumbleweed Cafe owners, the helpful folk at the Arivaca general store, to everyone in La Gitana, the coven of women at the Hilltop bar at the back of the Sasabe Store & Wholesale Mesquite Firewood, as well as the odd passer-by…Produced by Lucia Scazzocchio of Social Broadcasts, Executive-Produced by Lina Prestwood of Scenery Studios, Mixing & Mastering: Jobina TinnemansMusic by Hannah Marshall To go deeper into this episode head to low-lines.com
Working with the land, tuning into the pulse of place - the Aztecs knew what was up. They were engineering geniuses who worked with the lake around which Tenochtitlan (ancient Mexico City) was built to create a rich permaculture system - chinampas - fringed by canals and waterways. When the Spanish landed and took over they didn’t get it. They said ‘drain that lake’, make this place make sense - and the city has been sinking at a terrifying rate ever since. Today, as Mexico City slides lower, the remaining chinampas endure, perfectly designed to function in this landscape - and now being carried forward by some tuned in farmers.In Episode 5, we’re following these ancient canalways to visit Arca Tierra down in Xochimilco - brilliant project, brilliant vision - the future, and the past all in one big juicy sponge of rich volcanic soil.CreditsFeaturing the voices of Lucio Usobiaga and Victor Gamboa at Arca Tierra, Dani Moreno and Santiago Muñoz of Maiz Ajo, and Leonel, Gamaliel and Noé on whose boats and chinampas this episode cruises through. Extra field recordings: Emilio Quiñones , San ChagoProduced by Lucia Scazzocchio of Social Broadcasts, Executive-Produced by Lina Prestwood of Scenery Studios, Mixing & Mastering: Jobina Tinnemans. Extra field recordings: Emilio Quiñones, San Chago on Freesound. Music by Hannah Marshall To go deeper into this episode head to low-lines.com
Two weeks at a plant medicine centre in the Peruvian Amazon - I thought this would be a good thorough deep dive and that I might get wiser and closer to the plants, but I soon discover that two weeks is nothing and that I know nothing. Everything at Aya Madre is a challenge to what you think you understand and who you think you are. An assault on the senses, a take-down of the ego, an all-out reckoning with not even the release of a firm conclusion.This final episode of the first season of Lowlines is the anti-conclusion episode. Give it up to the twisting, knotted vines and the soaring, deafening jungle chorus. Just go with it. I tried to…!CreditsFeaturing the voices of Maestra Estela, Maestra Yaca, Maestro Nestor and Maestro Daniel of Aya Madre and Jordan McIntosh, the wise apprenticeProduced by Lucia Scazzocchio of Social Broadcasts, Executive-Produced by Lina Prestwood of Scenery Studios, Mixing & Mastering: Jobina TinnemansMusic by Hannah Marshall and icoros sung by Maestra Estela, Maestra Yaca, Maestro Nestor and Maestro DanielTo go deeper into this episode head to low-lines.com
Leaving the jungle, leaving the Americas, heading home! After OD-ing on mould and the thick, viscose brew - as well as more ‘place’ than I knew what to do with at times - the sweet relief of a plump pillow, seasoned food and a hot bath soon gives way to this eerie sense of…mutedness. All I can hear is white noise - and what do you do about that when you realise that most of your life is soundtracked by this dull hum?In Episode 7, the final part of this first series of Lowlines, we move back into the familiar high-pitched world, prepare to re-adjust - and consider how to land back into it differently.CreditsProduced by Lucia Scazzocchio of Social Broadcasts, Executive-Produced by Lina Prestwood of Scenery Studios, Mixing & Mastering: Jobina TinnemansMusic by Hannah Marshall and icoros sung by Maestra Estela, Maestra Yaca, Maestro Nestor and Maestro DanielEpilogue Production and Sound Design by Lina PrestwoodTo go deeper into this episode and the rest of the series - and to sign up to the Lowlines newsletter - head to low-lines.com
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