The Sound Kitchen

Let’s go to Madagascar!

Audio 11:03
David Franklin/Getty Images/A Terrade
17 min

This week you’ll hear the answer to the question about the oldest human skeleton found in the Americas. There’s a trip to the Madagascar exhibit at the Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac museum, great music, 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. 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.

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A hair ornament from Madagascar
A hair ornament from Madagascar © Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, photo Claude Germain

This week’s quiz: On 8 September, I asked you a question about Brazil. The National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janerio had just burned down; only 10 percent of the museum was spared. Gone was the museum’s centerpiece - the hall that held a 12,000-year-old skeleton was destroyed.  The skeleton – of a woman - is the oldest human remains discovered in the Americas. My question to you was, what is the name the archeologists gave to that 12,000-year-old skeleton?

The answer is: Luzia, in homage to Lucy, our 3.2-million-year-old human ancestor found in Africa. Luzia is believed to have roamed the savannah of south-central Brazil some 11,500 years ago. Until Luzia, the oldest known human remains recovered in the western hemisphere were also those of a woman, and were found in Idaho in the U-S.  Radiocarbon dating tests have established the age of that skeleton as a bit more than 10,000 years old.

Luzia herself was originally discovered in 1975. She was in her 20's when she died, was a little less than a meter and a half tall, and was part of a group of hunter-gatherers who appear to have subsisted largely on whatever fruits, nuts and berries they came across in their meanderings, plus the occasional piece of meat.

The National Museum was Brazil’s oldest scientific institution. Founded in 1818 by King John VI of Portugal, it served as a backdrop to some of the turning points in the nation’s history. The palace that would become the museum’s main building was home to two emperors and a king. It was where Brazil’s independence decree was signed in 1822. It is very sad.

The winners are: RFI Listeners Club members Jeremiah Henry Ziea from Monrovia, Liberia and Royse Cramton from Illinois in the U-S. There are two new listeners on the list of lucky winners this week: Piotr Borski from Poznan, Poland and Ambeno Fidelis Narika from Buea, Cameroon – welcome to you both! Last but not least, Rimil Paul from Dakshin Dinajpur in West Bengal, India.

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program: “Promenade - Walking the Dog” by George Gershwin, performed by Luis Fernández, clarinet and Carlos Apellániz, piano; Mazurka from the “Suite Popular Brasileña” by Heitor Villa-Lobos, performed by guitarist Pablo de Giusto; Rimsky-Korsakov: “The Flight of the Bumblebee” and “Dru Me Negrita” by Arsenio Rodriguez, performed by Ry Cooder, Manuel Galban and their orchestra.

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 26 November to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 1 December 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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