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New podcast series explores Beirut and Salvador's underground scenes: Listen

The 30-minute long investigative audio documentaries are available to listen to via BBC Sounds

A photo of a crowd inside The Grand Factory

The BBC has aired two documentary-based podcasts exploring the underground music and party scenes of Beirut in Lebanon and Salvador in Brazil.

Part of BBC World Service's 'The Documentary' series of podcasts, the investigative audio documentaries, titled 'Global Dancefloor', are available to listen to via BBC Sounds. You can find the Beirut episode here, while the Salvador episode can be found here.

The Beirut episode sees presenter Frank McWeeny head to Beirut to meet the nightlife community behind the club The Grand Factory, where he explores how underground culture here survives even during chronic lack of opportunity. As a BBC synopsis notes, "this scene is working tirelessly to remain active, while rebuilding both physically and psychologically" amid economic turmoil and the effects of a 2020 explosion which damaged large parts of the city.

In the Salvador episode, McWeeny meets the queer and PoC collective Batekoo. The collective, a description for the podcast says, are "changing perceptions by advocating for freedom of self-expression through music, dance, education and community politics".

The BBC's synopsis of the documentary adds: "Brazil has one of the highest rates of trans and gender-diverse homicides in the world, and almost three-quarters of people killed each year are either black or mixed race. Many think the country's conservative and populist class explicitly targets Afro-Brazilians, whose voices are under-represented in politics and culture, despite making up more than half of the country's population."

You can also find a recent feature on Beirut's The Grand Factory here, and revisit DJ Mag's 2019 piece on the rise of safe space parties, which partially focuses on Batekoo, here.