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  • The bionic gloves that brought music back to me
    For many years, acclaimed Brazilian pianist Joao Carlos Martins graced the world's most famous concert halls, performing as a pianist and celebrated interpreter of Johann Sebastian Bach's music. He'd studied the piano since he was eight years old, and by the age of 21 had made his debut at the Carnegie Hall in New York sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt. His career was going well until a series of health issues and injuries meant he couldn't fully play anymore. It started with a neurological condition called focal dystonia, which caused spasms in his hands. Then a soccer injury damaged a nerve in his arm, and in 1995 he was attacked by a mugger who hit him over the head, injuring his brain. Although he had over 20 operations, the dexterity in his hands was severely impeded and he was restricted to playing with just three fingers. He went on to become a celebrated conductor, but it looked like his professional piano playing was over. That was until Brazilian designer Ubiratan Bizarro Costa created a special pair of 'bionic' gloves for him. Now aged 81, they help Joao move all of his fingers more freely, reuniting him with the pieces and music he loves. Get in touch: [email protected] Presenter: Mobeen Azhar Producer: Katy Takatsuki (Photo: Joao Carlos Martins wearing his bionic gloves. Credit: Miguel Schincariol/AFP via Getty Images)
  • My anonymous teen story became a playground sensation
    In 2005, when London schoolgirl Jade LB was just 13, she got a computer for her birthday and began writing a fictional story on it – the sometimes raunchy, sometimes disturbing adventures of a 17-year-old girl called Keisha. Written in a mixture of text language, slang and patois, the story became legendary and was passed around playgrounds all over London. But when she first put it online with a promise to post a new chapter every two weeks, Jade had no idea of the impact it would have, or how Keisha would shape her life for years to come. Get in touch: [email protected] Presenter: Mobeen Azhar Producer: Laura Thomas (Photo: Jade LB. Credit: Stuart Simpson)
  • Matt Goss: Life and loss in a superstar boy band
    In the late 80s, the British group Bros was one of the most successful pop acts in the world. Made up of lead singer Matt Goss, his twin brother Luke, and childhood friend Craig Logan, Bros quickly achieved multi-platinum selling albums and legions of adoring fans. But behind the scenes not everything was as it seemed. By 1992 the band had collapsed, and the relationship between the brothers never fully recovered. Matt tells Mobeen Azhar how the split affected his mental health, and how he eventually made his way back to music. His new album is called The Beautiful Unknown. Get in touch: [email protected] Presenter: Mobeen Azhar Producer: Rebecca Vincent (Photo: Matt Goss of Bros performs at Brixton Academy, London in 2019. Credit: Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
  • The Jewish prisoner, the treasure hunters and the secret diary
    A few years ago, Menachem Kaiser went to Poland to uncover his family history. All he knew was that his grandfather survived the Holocaust but the rest of his relatives were killed. In search of his family’s lost home, Menachem met a group of treasure hunters who led him to a secret diary and the story of the Nazi’s mysterious underground city, Project Riese. Menachem Kaiser’s book is called Plunder: A memoir of family property and stolen Nazi treasure. Presenter: Mobeen Azhar Producer: Maryam Maruf The excerpts from Abraham Kajzer's book are read by Martin Esposito Get in touch: [email protected] (Photo: One of the underground tunnels in Project Riese. Credit: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Fighting the apartheid my grandfather created
    Wilhelm Verwoerd has spent most of his life wrestling with his surname and what it represents. His grandfather, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, is widely known as the 'architect of apartheid' in South Africa because of the brutal policies he introduced as a government minister and then prime minister of the country in the 1950s and 1960s. But Wilhelm turned his back on his family's apartheid politics and is committed to tearing down its racist legacy. His book is called: Verwoerd: My journey through family betrayals. This episode was first broadcast on 14th December 2019. Get in touch: [email protected] Presenter: Andile Masuku Producer: Deiniol Buxton (Photo: Wilhelm Verwoerd. Credit: Wojciech Klimala)

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