The World is Listening

Singer songwriter Emma Ballantine has a new track out today, and we’re excited to be the very first to share it with the world!

‘Secret Tunnel’ is part of a project called Somebody’s Story, the track is the first of four new songs that the London-based artist, originally from Salisbury, will be sharing between now and March 2017. The tracks are each based on a true story sent to Emma by her followers since she announced the idea just three months ago.

Today’s track, Secret Tunnel, tells Lisa’s story – a moving and inspiring story of a young girl’s determination to move on with her life after a harrowing experience. Please be warned that the story is a difficult read, and contains themes of sexual abuse. The track itself focuses on how Lisa was helped to escape her situation and seek out justice.

The new tracks have all been produced by Brixton-based producer MoseleyNoise (Luke Moseley) and reflect a departure from the traditional folk sound of Emma’s earlier EP, Tourist. Layered synths and beats combine with her usual storytelling style to create a more contemporary feel, and on this track at least, the acoustic guitar has been set aside. It remains to be seen how the new sound will translate in Emma’s live set when she tours the songs in the New Year.

Since being tipped by Glamour Magazine as ‘One to Watch in 2016′, Emma Ballantine has had a busy year, performing at a string of festivals including Glastonbury and reaching the final of the U.K. Unsigned Songwriter of the Year competition. She is due to announce a new string of dates for spring 2017 to mark the launch of the four tracks as a full EP and physical record.

To stay up to date with Emma’s plans (and to receive a free track) you can sign up to her mailing list or visit


Lisa’s story, told by Bill 

It’s February half-term in 1988 and starts on the Wednesday at 6:30pm, when my daughter, 16 at the time, is working part-time at the bus station tea bar. Also working there is 14 year old Lisa.

My daughter calls and asks me if I can collect her after work – there’s something she needs my help with. Lisa has told her a secret that is too big to keep… A secret she can’t tell her mother because it involves her father, and what he’s been doing to her for the past three years.

I have no idea what to do, but I know she has to escape before Monday, when school term starts again.

So my daughter and I come up with a plan. I arrange to borrow a friend’s van and my daughter tells Lisa that we’re going to rescue her and she’s not to tell anyone at all. On Sunday night, Lisa secretly packs a bag and all her school things.

We’ve arranged to be parking round the corner, waiting for her at 8:00am on Monday morning; which is after both parents have left for work and 20 minutes before she would normally leave for school. Nobody sees her.

It works perfectly, though in all honesty, I’m panicking, and have no idea what to do next!

When we get to my house, I call Social Services; they call the police and we all go to the police station. Lisa’s statement is so graphic and contains so much information that her father is arrested that afternoon and is remanded to prison.

Then the social worker asks me if I’m able to look after Lisa. They’ve contacted their register of emergency foster parents and it looks like the only other option is a children’s home. I never imagined that this is how things would work out, but I started this and I can’t back out now.

I was Lisa’s foster father for the next two years. Lisa was right. Her mother took her father’s side and accused her of lying. Her father’s extended family rallied round him and told the police that if they found who’d kidnapped Lisa, they’d deal with it themselves, making it clear they intended to track us down and attack me!

So for the hearing, the trial and the sentencing, we had to be given police protection. Our address was never disclosed and Lisa was helped to change her surname, so there was no obvious link back to us. Police also arranged for me to park in the police compound; they told me that there was a secret tunnel between the police station and the Crown Court.

The three minute walk through the tunnel to the trial was the scariest I’ve ever known. We’d been told there was a big crowd of his family waiting outside the court. A screen was put up between witnesses and spectators and Lisa and her father.

Her father pleaded “not guilty”, forcing Lisa to re-live and repeat all the details of her abuse. The trial lasted two days. The jury went out and returned only 50mins later, finding him “guilty” on all five sample charges.

Rescuing Lisa was probably the best thing I’ve ever done. And I’m not scared of ANYTHING now. Nothing will be as scary as those three minutes in an underground tunnel on the way to court with a crowd of angry people waiting to attack me for telling the truth.

And straight after the trial, with the support of her headmaster, Lisa told her story to a full school assembly. She could never be shamed, embarrassed, bullied or frightened. She wasn’t a victim any more. She’s a survivor!

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This month is Black History month, and here at The World is Listening we take great pride in shining a light on some of the women who, we feel, might have fallen under the radar.

We’ve compiled a playlist of some of the great unsung heroines in music, spanning punk, ska, hip hop and of course jazz.

A lot of the women on this playlist have done some pretty amazing stuff. The great ‘International Sweethearts of Rhythm’ where one of America’s first all-female integrated swing band. Featuring some of the best female musicians of the day such as Clora Bryant and Carline Ray. Clora Bryant is actually one of the only females to ever of performed with Charlie Parker (both women are well worth checking out!)

We also feature the ground breaking Mary Lou Williams, and American jazz pianist, composer and arranger. Hugely under recognised as mentor and TEACHER to the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

Don’t worry if jazz isn’t your bag, we have a healthy smattering of punk, starting with X-ray Spex fronted by the infamous Poly Styrene. We also highlight some new music from a relatively new DIY punk band from Brooklyn,  Aye Nako.

Featuring some of my personal favourites, Dominique Young Unique and Lizzo. If you’re into your indie fem rappers, these ladies certainly pack a punch.

The playlist is open to your suggestions! So get involved in helping us create a seriously awesome playlist, filled with some super spectacular women.


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The World is Listening is joining the masses of music lovers in the UK this summer and heading off to a festival! We are super excited to launch our Youtube Channel, TWIL TV, at Larmer Tree Festival next week, in the glorious Larmer Tree Gardens round the border of Dorset and Wiltshire. Meet our TWIL TV host for our Larmer Tree Visit, Jaz Pinckney who’ll be working alongside the wonderful Aglow Films on site.

The festival is celebrating it’s 25th year, and following 25 years of great music with quite a spectacular line up! Of the acts billed at Larmer Tree, an astonishing cast of 31 bands feature a female musician. You can see the likes of Gabriela (y Rodrigo), Chrissie Rhodes from The Shires, Laura Doggett, and TWIL fave rising stars Beth Porter and Cate Ferris! We’re going to be meeting up to chat with as many of these wonderful women, alongside some women working in festival roles, and uploading, live from the site, for you to watch online! We’ll also be pretty busy gathering photos, interviews for our podcast, and rallying support for women in music from across site, so keep a close eye on our social networking channels across the weekend of Friday 17 July – Saturday 19th.

TWIL Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Larmer Tree Festival Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

I am really excited about this collaboration, I’ve been performing and working at Larmer Tree for 10 years now, with several different bands and running a venue called The Social, and I’m so grateful for the festival for joining me on this new venture. If you’re at the festival, I’ll be in The Social, pop by and say hi!

Get inspired with our Spotify playlist featuring women at Larmer Tree, it sounds tasty!


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It’s a big week in the world of festivals and music here in the South West UK, and I think, probably across the world, I’m talking about Glastonbury Festival! I live a mere 25 miles from the festival site, but I won’t be attending this year, I’ll be sat at home watching Patti Smith via the BBC coverage like millions of others!

Ok, it’s late at night, and I really wanted to get this together before you go, for those of you going, I got through the top 9 listed stages on the line up, and I could barely go any further (collecting data is TIRING), so I picked one of my favourite small stages, The Bandstand, and BBC Introducing for good measure, and came up with THIS PLAYLIST of all the women playing on these 11 stages: Pyramid, Other Stage, West Holts, John Peel, Acoustic, Avalon, Park Stage, Left Field, Glade and of course, The Bandstand, and BBC Introducing, for good measure. I’ve set it as a collaborative playlist, so if you know someone playing at the festival not on this list, add them!!

Stick it on in the car on your way to the site, see if anything new takes your fancy, or if you’re staying home, enjoy it in the comfort of your own abode (rather than a muddy field… suckers!)


I listened to all of these tracks, and, personally, it didn’t all float my boat (come on, really) so I’ve made a ‘Directors Cut’, for anyone who likes a shorter playlist, or is interested in my taste in music… if you like our podcasts, maybe you do!


Lastly, while I was trawling through the line up, I took some statistics, and made this tasty graph.. While I do love some solid data, and a tasty graph, I do feel worried that my graph only includes ‘males’ and ‘females’, which is a whole other conversation, which I encourage you/us to have.

GLASTO chart 2



I’ve made a second graph, because I’m not sure the comparisons are clear enough on the first.. I have worked out the percentages of all male acts, mixed acts and female acts for the total number of acts on that stage.

Total Male Acts: 196
Total Mixed Acts: 51
Total Female Acts: 44

glasto chart percent

If you are going to Glastonbury, whatever you do, look after each other, and have a bloody great time!


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Our podcast is available via iTunes

This episode we catch up with Bristol based electronic producer Kayla Painter.

Find out more about Kayla at her website:
Buy Kayla’s music here:
Listen to other remixes and mixtapes on her soundcloud here: @misskaylapainter
Follow Kayla on twitter:

Check out the Bjork interview Nuala mentioned here on Pitchfork:…sation-with-bjork/

In today’s episode Kayla mentioned the following products
Logic Pro
Absynth 5…/absynth-5/
Korg Nano Control

And the University Course mentioned was BA Creative Sound &…nd-and-music

Episode #4 Playlist:
(Background music Rozi Plain – Quarry)
Tokimonsta – Gamble
Sylvan Esso – Hey Mami
Kelela – Send Me Out (Prod. Kingdom)
Holly Herndon – Interference
David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
Kayla Painter – Visitor, Gaga, Ashes, Square
Roberta Flack – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Björk – Lionsong
Missy Elliott – Get Your Freak On

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Rozi Plain is one of my favourites. The sound of her voice and songs and her quirky and often repetitive lyrics about life, resonate with me. And so, i am pleased to share, her third release, ‘Friend’, out on the Lost Map label NOW!

The Quietus, who had the first listen a couple of weeks ago said ‘Friend’ “sees Plain enlisting the help of Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor and various members of François & The Atlas Mountains, Babe and This Is The Kit, forging a record of unhurried pace, all the tracks drawing on a singular mood of reflective repose and specked with electric guitar, synth and a rotating cast of voices.”

Buy it on bandcamp here

or via Lost Map here



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Powerful songwriter and human Kate Stables and the the wondrous collection of musicians around her (including Rozi Plain) that are ‘This Is The Kit’ have just released a brand new album, ‘Bashed Out’ and it’s all we’re listening to, and it’s all we want you to listen to, and then when we get around to editing and publishing our podcast with our interview with Kate, we want you to listen to that too.. So grab some peace and quiet, then launch into the album below.

The Winchester-born multi-instrumentalist enlisted the help of The National’s Aaron Dessner on production duties, as well as a host of other talents for various tracks, including Bryce Dessner (The National), Benjamin Lanz (Beirut), Thomas Bartlett (Doveman, The Gloaming), Rozi Plain and Matt Barrick (The Walkmen).

Available via various options…

> Bandcamp:
> iTunes:
> Amazon Music:
> Spotify:


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Whilst recently catching up on one of my favourite Youtube channels, BD Film, I came across this absolutely gorgeous song by Nadine Carina.

The track ‘Stars’ taken from the EP, ‘Things That People Love to Remember’ by Nadine Carina, available from



In addition to this wonderful new music I had a great chat with Mr BD Film himself, Ben Dowden, at a recent AV night run in Bristol called ‘I see colours man’, run by Audio Visual extraordinaire Pablo Villierezz. Ben was both excited about our TWIL platform and interested to see how he could get involved.. I suggested he start by auditing the male to female ratio of his own work, and this is what he found…! Thank you for sharing BD!


BD nice chart


How do you feel about seeing these statistics from your own work?

I’m not sure. I worked out these stats in response to your website. I’m pretty happy that almost half my videos feature women, as I’d hoped that might be the case. Overall though I have filmed almost three times as many men than women. I’m not sure why this is.

Do you feel your results are a reflection of a larger picture in the music industry?

To be honest I have no idea in that I am not  a part of the music industry. I am a film maker who has enjoyed working with musicians (as well as poets and dancers), so I cannot speak with authority about the music industry. I think that there is not much stopping anyone from making music. Artistic people just do it, and if you make interesting work it has a chance of finding an audience. There seems to be a lot of successful female artists making interesting work.

However I will say that I believe that it is still easier for men to be accepted in so many areas of work. Being a technician or and engineer or working for a record label is a possibly an area where women may have more trouble being on equal terms. I don’t believe men have to prove themselves as much as women. If you look the part as a man, people will assume you know what you are doing.

I think one of the most staggering facts of this day and age is that women still don’t get paid the same for the same jobs in many areas. Patricia Arquette had to point this out at this years Oscars, sports prizes are not equal. That is insane and should be illegal. It is simply wrong and just send the wrong message. It is so archaic.

If people got paid the same it would not only be fair and correct but also would help both men and women to see themselves as equals.

How do you choose artists to work with?

I choose artists for a variety of reasons. Primarily I chose artists whose music I love.
I chose artists whose music and performance I feel will work with my style of filming. Put another way, if I feel I can capture something, that makes me interested. Music and performance can be separated. You can listen to music without seeing the performer, and appreciate it that way. However when you watch a performance, all sorts of other feelings and responses are going on.

I like to capture something of the performance, and good performers interest me. You don’t have to be a good performer to write great music, but I bet it helps. The reason I say this is that you can’t help ‘performing’ if you are concentrating and giving emotion to playing music.

On the other hand people who have lots and lots of gigs may learn to act their performance. It becomes a different type of performance. I have also on occasion chosen to work with artists who I like as people, who have made me laugh, or happened to ask when I was feeling happy.

Do you ever consider the gender of artists when you choose them?


After seeing the stats of your work, do you think you’ll consider the gender of artists you choose to work with in future?

Well I guess I will take notice, but I simply choose artists I like. These days I am tending to make more films about places (which are essentially genderless) and my cat, who happens to be a girl.

Here is a playlist of great lady videos from BD Film channel as chosen by Ben.

Maybirds ‘In This Dream I Had’

La La & the Boo Ya ‘Junglist Soldiers’

Inni-K ‘Gentle Star’

Toyface ‘Beige Walls

Lace On Lipstick ‘These Bones’

Molly Samson ‘Sadness on Your MP3’

Suzy Condrad ‘Dear Simone’

Dub Mafia ‘Hero’


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Finally the new installation in the ever growing discography of Laura Marling is OUT! I have been waiting for this, my excitement growing with each exhilarating single release.

I’ve been listening to Laura Marling since I first heard ‘Night Terror’ on the radio in Australia in 2008. I haven’t always loved all the songs on every album, but I’ve always felt strangely connected to her growth as a singer songwriter and woman, being both myself.

Short Movie was announced with some electric, vibey singles and probably the most candid interview I’ve ever ready with Marling in the Guardian. On the album she paints a large cast of quirky characters, and puts herself in as this almost sarcastic narrator, who feels very much out of place.

I feel as her song writing has matured over the years, it gets closer to the greats from the 60’s I’ve heard her cite as influences, especially Neil Young. Perhaps it’s a consequence of environment, Marling was living in LA while writing and recording Short Movie, among the ghosts of those east coast records. The album opens with a dreamlike ‘Warrior’, an almost psychedelic backdrop to set the pace for us to expect something very different from this album than it’s predecessors.

The album’s title’s filmic nature rides in and past like the blur of headlights passing in the night in a lonely sort of way, and I feel like more than ever this is just Marling. It’s hard not to compare a 5th studio album to previous work, and in that I feel that this time around she has more to say. She has produced the album herself, so maybe that allowed for her to say it more strongly.

I love it, and I can’t wait to get to know it better.


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Week 3 and I seem to be, gladly, keeping up with this new ritual. It’s new music monday on BBC 6 Music today, so I thoroughly recommend you tune in, right now! We’ve already heard Countney Barnett’s ‘Pedestrian at Best’ on Lauren Laverne this morning… (love this song)



Last week Best Girl Athlete released her debut album.. she’s from Aberdeen in Scotland.. she’s 15 years old. What? Yep. How? I can only guess by piecing together information from her own website and that of her label Fitlike Records, that her dad, CS Buchan, has assisted in producing the album and getting his daughter signed to Fitlike, who he is represented by himself. (Please correct me if i’m wrong) I think, stereotypically speaking, it can often the case that young musicians who find any kind of success, have parents who are active in or know the industry, and it might be frustrating to watch for those of us alone out there navigating our way through the cold, over-saturated landscape of music.. but do the best with what you’ve got, for goodness sake, the kid is 15, she’s having a damn good go of it, and she’s written and made this great track.



Donna Lewis (yep, remember the 90’s hit “i love you, always forever”?) has joined the wave of pop stars, who, late in their career, somehow always end up making a jazz album. BUT, Donna has recruited legends ‘The Bad Plus’ as her band, and producer David Torn, to make a very special album of covers and originals. Check out the making of video below and hear the tracks on iTunes.


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What should we be listening to?

Tweet your suggestions to @WiListening #pleaseplay or email us