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The Sound Kitchen

Aux Armes, les Citoyens !

Audio 15:14
David Franklin/Getty Images/A Terrade

This week you’ll hear the answer to the question about the French - American man swimming the Pacific. There’s a salute to France’s Bastille Day, music composed by RFI English listener Gyanendra Shravan, and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the arrow in the photo and enjoy!


Hello everyone!

Welcome to The Sound Kitchen. You can catch the programme on-the-air every Saturday at 6:15, 7:15, 14:45 and 16:45 universal time. You’ll hear the winner’s names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you have grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews and great music, so be sure and tune in every Saturday.

For our DX enthusiast friends: Our shortwave frequency is 11830 kHz on the 25m band, from 06.00 to 07.00 UT every day. We’ve had reception reports from Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Cuba, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, the UK and the US, and although the frequency is “aimed” (or however that works) towards the African continent, give it a try. You never know … and be sure and send us your reception reports. Maybe we can get more time, which would be wonderful.

You can also hear our programs on WRMI ( and WRN ( These broadcasters diffuse our programs out of the goodness of their hearts, but unless you tell us how you heard us we have no way of knowing … so do write and tell us how you listen to us.

Fabulous News! We now have an RFI English newsletter! On the very top of our homepage, there’s a little tab that says “Newsletters”. Click on it and fill out the form, and every day you’ll receive the latest from the RFI English website.

We look forward to seeing all your names on our brand-new subscriber’s list. And congratulations to our web team for making it happen. Way to go David, Tony and Isabelle!

We want to hear from you. We have a phone number you can call to leave us a message, so we can hear your voice. Just call, give your name, your country, and a short message - something like “I love RFI”, because of course you do – and we can put you on-the-air. The number to call is: + 33 1 84 22 95 82.

We have new RFI Listeners Club members to welcome:Jonathan Ugiagbe from Edo State, Nigeria and Gyanendra Shravan, a composer from Assam, India.

So glad you have joined us!

You too can be a member of the RFI Listeners Club – just write me at and tell me you want to join, and I’ll send you a membership number. It’s that easy. When you win a Sound Kitchen quiz as an RFI Listeners Club member, you receive a premium prize.

The Fourth Annual RFI Clubs Football Tournament is underway! RFI provides footballs, jerseys and trophies to RFI Clubs who want to organize their own tournaments to correspond with the World Cup games, and several RFI English Clubs signed up. You’ll see their photos on our Facebook pages and hear about their matches on The Sound Kitchen, so be sure and tune in every week.

RFI Clubs: Be sure to always include Audrey Iattoni ( from our Listener Relations department on all your RFI Club correspondence. Remember to copy me ( when you write her so that I know what is going on, too.

We’ve made a Facebook page just for you, the RFI English Clubs. It is a closed group, so when you apply to join, be sure you include the name of your RFI Club and your membership number. Everyone can look at it, but only members of the group can post on it. If you haven’t yet asked to join the group, go to and fill out the questionnaire !!!!! (if you do not answer the questions, I click “decline”).

Are you interested in forming an official RFI Club, or transforming your existing club into an official RFI Club?  Here’s how:

This week’s quiz: On 9June, I asked you a question about a French – American man who a few days earlier had started to swim across the Pacific Ocean.  He started on 5June from Choshi, Japan and plans to end up in San Francisco, California – a mere 8000 kilometers away – by December. He swims about 8 hours a day.

My question to you was: what is his name? You were to send me the name of the French-American man who, on 5 June, started swimming across the Pacific Ocean. 

The answer is: Benôit Lecomte, or Ben, as he is known in the U-S. He’s at Day 38 today – as noted, he plans to be in California by December, so it’s just the beginning. You can follow his logs on the web – they write most every day about what they have seen. So far, Lecomte has swum with turtles, sighted two sharks (he is wearing a shark repellant bracelet), had some equipment break – and, sadly, seen a lot of plastic garbage.

The 51-year-old’s journey is not just about setting a record, it’s a science expedition as well. Lecomte is swimming through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which, according to the latest estimate in March, is twice the size of France. There are nearly 80,000 tonnes of plastic in the Garbage Patch. According to scientists, the patch has been growing exponentially in recent years. The March estimate found it was 16 times larger than previously expected.

Under the direction of researchers from 12 scientific institutions - including NASA and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - the crew is carrying out oceanic and medical research. They’ll study concentrations of plastic debris and pollution as well as the effects such extreme exercise has on the human heart. 

The team is also catching fish along the journey to track how plastic pollution accumulates within the food chain.

And in addition to his shark repellant bracelet, Lecomte is wearing an armband which can track radiation in the ocean – remember the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011?

By the way, this is not Benôit Lecomte’s first big swim. In 1998, he swam across the Atlantic – 6400 kilometers – in 73 days. At the end of that swim, he said he’d never do it again. Seems he changed his mind!  Good luck, Mr Lecomte!

The winners are: Jakiya Parvin, a member of the Karatoa RFI Radio Listeners Club in Sirajgonj, Bangladesh; brand-new RFI Listeners Club member Preeti Bhatta from Murshidabad, India; Ferhat Bezazel, the president of the RFI Butterflies Club Ain Kechera in West Skikda, Algeria; Mrs P Sathyavathi, a member of the RFI Listeners Club in Hyderabad, India and Minal Emaan, a member of the Pak France RFI Listeners Club in Chichawatni, Pakistan.

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program:Two versions of the French National Anthem “La Marseillaise” (music by Hector Berlioz and words by Roget de Lisle): a “gypsy jazz” version by Django Reinhardt, and a traditional version sung by Roberto Alagna; “New Day New Feel " by RFI English listener Gyanendra Shravan, and Rimsky-Korsakov: “The Flight of the Bumblebee”.

Do you have a musical request? Send it to

This week’s question ... You'll have to listen to the show to participate. You have until 3 September to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 8 September program. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

Send your answers to:


Susan Owensby

RFI – The Sound Kitchen

80, rue Camille Desmoulins

92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux



By text … You can also send your quiz answers to The Sound Kitchen mobile phone. Dial your country’s international access code, or “ + ”, then  33 6 31 12 96 82. Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your text – and if you have one,your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize, click here:

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club, click here:

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