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Rabonas & Rhythms Podcast

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The podcast sees two worldly-wise football and music nuts – James Labous and Alex Lawson – bring together their loves to tell the tales of a different nation’s sporting and musical stars each episode.

The podcast sees two worldly-wise football and music nuts – James Labous and Alex Lawson – bring together their loves to tell the tales of a different nation’s sporting and musical stars each episode.
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The podcast sees two worldly-wise football and music nuts – James Labous and Alex Lawson – bring together their loves to tell the tales of a different nation’s sporting and musical stars each episode.




Ethiopia: Dub Colossus and the ‘Arsene Wenger of Africa’

Join us on a trip to east Africa for some R&R. We chat to composer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Page, aka Dubulah, the founder of Dub Colossus. The Londoner worked with Ethiopian musicians to create a unique, gargantuan sound after two decades working in ethno-tech collectives Transglobal Underground and Temple of Sound. He discusses what ‘world’ music has to do to make it in the West, the greats of Ethiopian music and even some footy. In the football half of the show, we look ahead to...


Uruguay: The first World Cup and Montevideo’s dance scene

The inaugural football World Cup in 1930 was hosted and won by Uruguay in extraordinary fashion. In this mini-episode we look back at a tournament full of oddities from bizarre suspensions (for running a cafe), suit-wearing refs and a match which lasted 84 minutes. In the music half of the show, we examine the underground sounds coming out of the capital, Montevideo, where vinyl-junkie DJs including Persian cat fanatic DJ Koolt, and Christian Bonanata, have been ripping it up.


El Salvador: The Football War and San Salvador’s hardcore punk scene

For 100 hours in 1969, a bloody war between El Salvador and Honduras caught the world’s attention. In this mini-episode we recount the three crunch matches in qualifying for the 1970 World Cup which heightened tensions between the neighbouring nations. It’s an extraordinary tale of action, suicide and the not-so-beautiful game. And we look at the hardcore punk scene of San Salvador and some of its leading bands in a country - now under a new president - where gang violence provides the...


Meet Bands FC - the football and music crest designers

If you’re on Twitter, you’ll know em. Nick Fraser and Mark Liptrott have created an online sensation with their cleverly-worked club badges, which combine football crests with bands' logos and names. Think Wu-vemphampton Wanderers and All Saints (Southampton). A fun idea between mates has spiralled into highly sought after collectables, an exhibition at The National Football Museum and even a match day programme, done in conjunction with the Charlatans and Gary Neville, at Salford City. We...


Women of Africa Special: Two musicians on equality and what’s next for women’s football

A celebration of two incredible musicians and a look at the state of play in women’s football in Africa. We meet up with rising Liberian star Angie TonTon at Senegalese legend Thion Seck’s studio in Dakar to discuss why it’s hard to be heard internationally as a female musician and the personal help she’s received from president George Weah. She even sings a cappella for us. We discuss the secret to the string of incredible artists to emerge from Mali with Fatoumata Diawara - born in the...


Norway: Cosmic disco and John Arne Riise on Champions League glory

Champions League winner John Arne Riise lifts the lid on life in the Liverpool dressing room, discusses becoming Norway’s most capped player and mixing it with France’s World Cup winners as a teenager. He also opens up on the difficulties of handling family life for “selfish” footballers. Of course we discuss music too, including the former Roma and Fulham star’s first gig and an artist from his home town causing a stir. And we cover the ‘cosmic disco’ which emerged from Norway and...


Belarus: Meet a medieval reboot band and a BATE Borisov star

We travel to Belarus to discover the music and football of one of Eastern Europe’s most fascinating countries. Stary Olsa, a lively Minsk six piece, tell us about keeping alive the medieval music of The Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the vast state which had Belarus at its heart. They play all kinds of unusual instruments in their studio lined with armoury for us, and there’s even a surprise waiting in their bagpipe case. And we meet BATE Borisov’s central defensive rock Denis Polyakov after a...


Brazil: Farce footballer Carlos Kaiser, Dona Onete and BaianaSystem

Farce footballer Carlos "Kaiser" Henrique Raposo managed a two-decade career among Brazilian football’s elite without ever playing. We discuss his wildest escapades (including sex, bodybuilding and a career-saving punch-up with a fan) with Louis Myles the British film-maker behind an incredible documentary on this unique "player". In the music part of the show, septuagenarian Dona Onete speaks about the prejudice people from the Amazon have faced and bringing its music to the world. And...


Zimbabwe: Bruce Grobbelaar on Liverpool, Hillsborough and Chris Rea

We meet one of the most unique footballers ever to grace the English game. Eccentric goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar won everything going between the sticks at Anfield and played for a host of other clubs including Crewe, Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday. Here he talks about how he won Liverpool the European Cup (with some help from Chris Rea), what happened in the moments after fans began dying at Hillsborough and why match fixing allegations against him would’ve fallen apart now. We also...


Australia: meet football cartoonist David Squires

The Guardian’s football cartoonist David Squires has drawn himself into footy folklore with his witty takes on the beautiful game. An avid Swindon Town fan, he’s an ex-pat living Down Under, from where he draws for publications all over the world and has authored three books. The latest, Goalless Draws, is out now. We speak to him about honing his craft, encountering his subjects, the crisis in the Sydney music scene and just how far he can push his emo take on Jose Mourinho. He also gives...


Whistlestop: South Africa’s Black Coffee and Bafana Bafana’s slip ups

In this mini episode, we look at the biggest star of South Africa’s explosive house music scene: Black Coffee. He’s gained worldwide acclaim, played huge shows and collaborated with some of Africa’s biggest stars. And all this despite DJing with just one hand due to a childhood injury when celebrating Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. We also look ahead to a crunch match for the South African national team after some amusing controversy in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, and look back...


Desert Isolation Discs: Luke Moore (The Football Ramble)

In this special episode, Luke Moore of the acclaimed Football Ramble podcast tells us the eight songs he couldn’t live without. In a fusion of two pods - world football and music show Rabonas & Rhythms and cheeky parody pod Desert Isolation Discs - we talk music, football and #travel with one of podcasting’s biggest talents. Luke is quizzed on boybands, Portsmouth, podcast projects and even gives some Moorestradamus predictions. (Oh and Rabonas series three is coming soon.)


World Cup review: Five talking points from Russia

Bonus episode! We reflect on the action in Russia after the final whistle at a music festival in Walthamstow (naturally). We study how France won it, what the weirdest moments were and, of course, the prospects for the Three Lions. And we sign off with some French pop in tribute to Les Bleus.


World Cup special: Sexism in football and music

Our second World Cup special looks at how, at tournament time, football's audience opens up but sexism becomes rife. We discuss discrimination among footy fans and in the music business with blogger and musician Georgia Sanders of The Nopebook, and our studio panel. We're also among the fans in Cannes and revel in more World Cup memories on the pitch and the airwaves.


Special: Musicians on their World Cup highlights

The main event is here: the Rabonas World Cup special. We’ve asked artists - including Max Richter, the Reverend & the Makers, Seun Kuti and MJ Hibbett - to recount their memories of the competition. And we have our own knockout, to decide the best football and musical combination from a host of choices by listeners from all over the globe. There’s Divine Ponytails, mad tackles and thundering tunes.


Nigeria: Seun Kuti on football, Fela and Afrobeat

Seun Kuti is the youngest son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, who put an indelible stamp on Africa’s music and politics. Seun has become a musical star in his own right and is furthering his father’s political mission with his own firebrand style. In this interview Seun discusses his relationship with Fela in his reclusive later life, what he’s trying to achieve with new record Black Times and the secret to why he chose not to be a footballer (and it wasn’t a lack of confidence, trust us).


India: Talvin Singh and FC Goa

We travelled nearly 5,000 miles to bring you this episode: from the sweaty dressing rooms of Camden to the beaches of Goa (tough stuff). We met Mercury Prize winning tabla player and composer, Talvin Singh to discuss his collaborations (Bjork, Madonna, Blondie, Jay Z), mastering his art form and even gives away a secret about the influence of football on the music industry. And we were among the fans at FC Goa to talk about the rise of football in India and even bring you the sounds of a...


Finland: Marika Hackman and Liverpool’s Finnish links

A beautifully unlikely combination. Musician Marika Hackman has been selling out venues across the country with her dreamy folk. She describes recording with the Mercury-nominated Big Moon, why she decided to discuss her sexuality on record and how her last trip to Finland ended in a hospital trip. We also discuss a trio of gents with links to both Anfield and Helsinki in the shape of former Reds captain Sami Hyypia, the mercurial Jari Litmanen and ex-Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson, who’s...


Pakistan: Zesh Rehman and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

We bring together the sweaty changing rooms of English football with the mystery of Qawwali devotional singing. Zesh Rehman, an unsung hero, became the first British Asian to start a match in the Premier League while at Fulham and played for Brighton, QPR and Bradford too in a career which has seen him win honours in Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He tells us about the pressure of representing Asian footballers, why more haven’t come through the ranks. And we revel in one of the most...


Colombia: Maite Hontele and the two Escobars

Our latest pod centres on Medellín, Colombia’s City of the Eternal Spring. We discuss the two Escobars who defined a nation’s violent problems - footballer Andres and drug lord Pablo - and meet one of its brightest new stars, musician and feminist icon Maite Hontele The Dutch trumpeter has become a feminist icon in Colombia. Her sleek salsa has gained her fans worldwide, changed lives and created a love-hate relationship with her instrument.