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The Sound Kitchen

The unknown pyramids in the Republic of the Sudan

Audio 15:04
David Franklin/Getty Images/A Terrade

This week on The Sound Kitchen, you’ll hear the answer to the question about the pyramids in Sudan. There’s a mini-history lesson on Nubia, a trip to the Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac museum, music chosen by Ralf Urbanczyk from Eisleben, Germany – and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the arrow in the photo above and enjoy!


Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday. 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 listen every week.

Basket woven by Chikuunsai Tanabe II (1910-2000)
Basket woven by Chikuunsai Tanabe II (1910-2000) Susan Owensby

Here's a photograph from the exhibit at the Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac museum, "Fendre l'Air, the Art of bamboo in Japan", about Japanese bamboo basket weaving. You'll hear from the museum's president, Stéphane Martin, who also curated the exhibition.

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.

For our DX enthusiast and shortwave listener friends: I am sad to announce we no longer have a shortwave frequency. Maybe, if enough of you write, we can have Paris Live broadcast on shortwave. Send an e-mail to if you would like to hear RFI English on shortwave. Be sure you include your country, and why shortwave is important to you – inability to get on the internet, no FM near you …

In the past, 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, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, the UK and the US. And that’s just from people who are requesting QSLs, not the listeners who have counted on hearing us via shortwave because that is the only way they can listen to RFI English. Please write if you would like to hear RFI English on shortwave.

There’s a new musical segment on The Sound Kitchen – your favorite songs. What I want you to do is to send in your favorite song by a female singer, and tell why that song and that singer are important to you. Every week I’ll play one of your suggestions, and then we’ll change to male singer, band, instrumental, film, your children’s favorites … but until the end of December, we’ll focus on women, so to your pens! Write to me at, and be sure you include your city and country in your note. I think it will be quite nice to share your favorite music as well as your thoughts about it – thanks to Daniel Singleton, the RFI English Head of Service, for the idea!

It’s New Year Resolutions time! Send me your 2019 New Year Resolutions; if your resolution is chosen (by a draw from a hat) you’ll receive a prize from us. We’ll read out your resolutions on the 5 January podcast, so time to start thinking about all the good things you want to be and do in 2019. Send your 2019 New Year Resolutions to

Teachers, take note!I save postcards and stamps from all over the world to send to you for your students. If you would like stamps and postcards for your students, just write and let me know.The address

Did you know there’s an RFI English newsletter? If you subscribe, you'll receive our newsletter every day. Just click on Newsletters,fill out the form, and you'll stay up-to-date with RFI English.

Welcome to our new RFI Listeners Club members.There’s Ulysses Beahquoi from Yekepa, Liberia as well as two new members from The Gambia: Musa Baldeh from the Central River Region, and Abubacarr Manneh from Serrekunda.

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.

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. N.B. You do not need to send her your quiz answers!

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, click on the Facebook link above, 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? Just click on the link to find out how!

This week’s quiz:On 20October, I talked to you about some pyramids in modern-day Sudan, which was called Nubia in the ancient world. There are over 200 pyramids at the site, which is about 240 miles north of Khartoum. Two hundred, my friends – that’s more than twice as many pyramids as there are in Egypt! They were built right outside the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, an important power in the ancient world from the 8th century BCE to the 4th century AD. The pyramids were built as burial tombs for the kings, queens and notables of the kingdom.

The pyramids – as well as the capital city itself - are listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, but they are practically unknown. They are rarely visited, and they are not protected at all.

I asked you to write in with the name of the site, which is taken from the name of the capital city of the Kushite Kingdom.

The answer is:The pyramids of Meroë. They get their name from the ancient capital city of the Kingdom of Kush, Meroë.

A brief history lesson: Nubia was a region along the Nile river, located between modern-day Aswan in southern Egypt and modern-day Khartoum in central Sudan. Nubia was the seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa: scholars have traced its history from at least 2500 BCE. 

Nubia was home to several empires, but the most prominent was the Kingdom of Kush. This kingdom conquered Egypt during the 8th century BC, and ruled the country as its Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The Kushite Kingdom collapsed in the 4th century AD - after more than a thousand years of existence. And the name of the capital of the Kingdom of Kush was Meroë, from which the pyramids get their name.

Today, the region of Nubia is split between Egypt and Sudan.

The winners are: Malik Allah Bachaya Khokhar, a member of the Sungat Radio Listeners Club in Muzaffargarh, Pakistan and Rajia Khatun from Joypurhat, Bangladesh.

There are three RFI listener Club members on the winner’s list this week: Mohammad Akhsan from Dhaka, Bangladesh; faithful listener Hans Verner Lollike from Hedehusene, Denmark and Vamuyan A. Kromah from Monrovia, Liberia – who wrote that he hopes one day he can visit the site. Me too, Vamuyan!

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program: Schubert: Moment Musical #3, D. 780 performed by Alfred Brendel; Rimsky-Korsakov: “The Flight of the Bumblebee” and “Non, je ne regrette rien” by Michel Vaucair and Charles Dumont, sung by Edith Piaf.

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 7 January to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 12 January podcast. 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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