The Sound Kitchen

Have you lost your marbles? Gambians certainly haven’t.

Audio 19:29
Sound Kitchen Podcast
Sound Kitchen Podcast RFI

This week on The Sound Kitchen you’ll hear the answer to the question about the mysterious sound recorded by RFI English journalist Laura Angela Bagnetto. You’ll learn about a young man’s effort to reduce de-deforestation in Sierra Leone, hear some great Music from Erwan, and of course, there's the new quiz question. Just click on the “Audio” arrow above and enjoy! 


Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday – here on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll hear the winners' names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve 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.

I am busy cooking up special shows with your musical requests, so get them in! Send your musical requests to Tell us why you like the piece of music, too – it makes it more interesting for us all!

Be sure you check out our wonderful podcasts!

In addition to the breaking news articles on our site,, with in-depth analysis of current affairs in France and across the globe, we have several podcasts which will leave you hungry for more.

There’s Paris PerspectiveAfrica Calling, Spotlight on France, and of course, The Sound Kitchen. We have a bilingual series – an old-time radio show, with actors (!) to help you learn French, called Les voisins du 12 bis. And there is the excellent International Report, too.

As you see, sound is still part of the RFI English service! Keep checking our website for updates on the latest from our excellent staff of journalists.

To listen to our podcasts from your PC, go to our website and click on the three horizontal bars on the top right, choose "Listen to RFI / Podcasts", and you’ve got ‘em! You can either listen directly or subscribe and receive them directly on your mobile phone.

To listen to our podcasts from your mobile phone, slide through the tabs just under the lead article (the first tab is “Headline News”) until you see “Podcasts”, and choose your show. 

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 is   If you would like to donate stamps and postcards, feel free! Our address is listed below. 

Another idea for your students: my beloved music teacher from St Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, Br Gerald Muller, has been writing books for young adults in his retirement – and they are free! There is a volume of biographies of painters and musicians called Gentle Giants, and an excellent biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They are also a good way to help you improve your English - that’s how I worked on my French, reading books which were meant for young readers – and I guarantee you, it’s a good method for improving your language skills. To get Br. Gerald’s free books, click here.

RFI Clubs: Be sure to always include Audrey Iattoni ( from our Listener Relations department in all your RFI Club correspondence. Remember to copy me ( when you write to her so that I know what is going on, too. N.B.: You do not need to send her your quiz answers! Email overload!

And don't forget, there is a Facebook page just for you, the RFI English Clubs. Only members of RFI English Clubs can belong to this group page, 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, and you are a member of an independent, officially recognised RFI English Club, go to the Facebook link above and fill out the questionnaire!!!!! (if you do not answer the questions, I click “decline”).

There’s a Facebook page for members of the general RFI Listeners Club, too. Just click on the link and fill out the questionnaire, and you can connect with your fellow Club members around the world. Be sure you include your RFI Listeners Club membership number (most of them begin with an A, followed by a number) in the questionnaire, or I will have to click “Decline”, which I don’t like to do!

This week’s quiz: On 11 December, I played some sounds for you which my friend and colleague Laura Angela Bagnetto recorded for me when she was in The Gambia, covering their presidential elections in early December. I asked you to identify the sound.

The answer is: Marbles! It’s the rather ingenious way Gambians vote, and have, since 1947, as Laura Angela wrote in her article “Gambians keep their marbles as they head to the polls for crucial elections”.

As Pa Makan Khan, The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission public relations director explained to Laura Angela: “The marble is a small crystal that is dropped into a hole of the ballot drum, and the bell inside the drum will ring to say you have voted.” End quote.

However, this may be the last time marbles will be used to cast votes; it seems paper ballots are on their way in. Khan told Laura Angela that “the system was effective when few candidates ran for office, but with the advent of democracy in the Gambia, more candidates means more voting drums, so the logistics become even more complicated.”

The winners are: Mrs. Nafisa Khatun, the president of the RFI Mahila Shrota Sangha Club in Hariharpara, West Bengal, India, and RFI Club members Ms. Dipita Chakrabarty from New Delhi, India, Mr. Samir Mukhopadhyay from Kolkat, India; Helmut Matt from Herbolzheim, Germany, and faithful listener Zenon Teles, the president of the Christian- Marxist – Leninist - Maoist Association of Listening DX-ers in Goa, India.

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s programme: “Kokonat Ed” written and performed by Emmerson; “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov; Mozart: Papagena/Papageno duet from The Magic Flute, sung by Montserrat Caballé and Thomas Quasthoff, with the SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserslautern, conducted by José Collado;  Mozart: Papagena/Papageno duet from The Magic Flute, arranged by Richard Monségu and Sébastien Tron, sung by Richard Monségu (who is also playing the conga drums) and Sophie Lou, with the Antiquarks ensemble.

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 31 January 2022 to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 5 February podcast. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address 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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