Past Seven Seas

Hosted by Jorge Lopez Llorente

TUESDAYS 17:00 - 18:00

A weekly journey abroad, to a different country each week, exploring foreign culture through ~mysterious~ historical anecdotes, legends, literature and music from each place.


Destination: Austria. We all think we know Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart... But he had secrets, an esoteric side: let's rediscover him and why he was so attached to Freemasonry, often composing for masonic symbolism. Also, why is painter Egon Schiele so controversial this year? Check out his shocking Expressionist art (and shocking life), at modern Vienna, along with greats like Gustav Klimt. Featuring modern music by Falco and (of course) Mozart and Haydn.

Destination: India. Did you know about Rabindranath Tagore? Find out about this Nobel Prize winner's many talents: poetry, stories, essays, political activism, philosophy, painting, mysticism... Also, enjoy some unique details about the traditional Hindu festivals of Diwali and Holi, along with Hindu mythology, of diverse polytheism within India's incredible religious diversity. Featuring Indian pop, folk music + 'raga rock', which influenced The Beatles, no less!

Destination: Colombia. Rediscover Gabriel García Márquez, one of the best writers of all time, from his Colombian roots in Aracataca to his visionary fictional town, Macondo, now legendary. What/where is Macondo? What's behind, beyond labels of 'magical realism'? Listen for some real magic! We'll also go into traditional Colombian carnivals, especially the Carnival of Riosucio, with its devils, cultural diversity and unique backstory. Featuring latest Colombian bangers by Shakira, Juanes, Cali & el Dandee.

Destination: Italy. Delve into the secrets of Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci, in his unique art and his many crazy inventions. You'll be surprised! Also, rediscover Caravaggio: his radical painting and his wild life as a murderer (up for ethical debate...). Plus some info about esoteric illustrated medieval/Renaissance books of codes and allegories that remain elusive. With banging Italian tunes by Zucchero, Nek, Eros Ramazzotti.

Destination: Australia. Go rogue with gangster history, razor gangs, queens of crime in 1920s Sydney and bushrangers. Discover the background to these Australian outlaw icons… Are they anti-heroes or villains? Also, repressed Aboriginal Australian mythology and 'Dreamtime' folklore deserve some attention, back to Australia's roots. Featuring rock and pop tunes by AC/DC, Sia, Kylie Minogue.

Destination: Sweden. Scandinavian mythology and folklore has a lot in store for you: what is there beyond Thor, Odin and Valhalla? How is the real mythical Loki meant to be? We'll also turn to August Strindberg, another cursed writer, with his wildness, madness and/or mystical visions… Featuring great songs by ABBA, Avicii, Zara Larsson, Swedish House Mafia!

Destination: China. Discover the emotional poetry of the great Qu Yuan and emperor-poet Li Yu, essentially 'Romantics' in their art and lives, both marked by destinies of exile and tragic deaths. Also, you've heard of traditions like Chinese New Year, but we'll go into that and other Chinese traditional festivals more deeply, with their folklore and local culture. This time with a native guest from Shanghai joining me: the lovely April Wu! Featuring rock tunes by Cui Jian and Wang Feng + traditional music.


Destination: the USA. We explore North and South, Baltimore and Mississippi, linked to the stormy lives of writer Edgar Allan Poe and legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson respectively. Hold on tight to delve into their tormented but magical art and life, their inexplicable deaths and their great cultural legacy. There will be dark Romantic poetry and some crackling Delta blues... (And even some tricks by the Devil...)

Destination: Japan. This time, let's travel to feudal Japan, in the 18th century. Have you ever heard of 'bushido' or 'seppuku'? Discover that and more about actual samurai history, including its best tale of revenge, blood and honour, with problematic morals, which has become a national myth in Japanese culture. Also featuring the best Japanese pop, techno and special traditional music as well as snippets of poetry (haikus plus other lesser known forms). 

Destination: Russia. The Tsar's downfall by 1917, political storms, mystical sects, cheeky sex intrigues, a blurry murder plot... What character would get into all this? Discover the mysterious life and murder of Rasputin, at the end of Tsarist Russia, with all the crazy myths it has left. Also, for more cheerful legends, let's look into Russian fairy tales and Slavic mythology. With hit rock/pop songs by Kino, Mumiy Troll (+the Russian police choir!).

Destination: France, specifically Paris. There, at the capital of 19th century art, two authors won literary fame: Jules Verne and Arthur Rimbaud. Be bewitched by the craziest details from Verne's science-fiction prophecies (more precise and rare than you think!) to Rimbaud's life and art, of fatal love, of beauty, of mad Decadence. Featuring unique music by Debussy and Saint-Saëns + modern chansons and hip hop.
//Shorter episode due to technical problems when broadcast live//

Destination: Ancient Egypt. Rediscover two memorable queens among male Pharaohs: Cleopatra and Hatshepsut. Do we really know Cleopatra, eternal poster-girl? Let's trace her myth and history, from her many political conspiracies, wars and fatal love affairs to her legacy in films, literature, etc. And why was Hatshepsut so important, but then forgotten? Egyptian mythology's messy gods also feature!

Destination: Germany, especially Bavaria, in the 19th century. Get ready for Ludwig II, the Mad King or Fairy-Tale King of Bavaria, fan of music and fairy-like castles, with his odd behaviour and his stranger death, full of conspiracies... He also supported Richard Wagner, one of the best Romantic composers, so we'll look at Wagner's passionate operas and stormy life. Also featuring German rock by Scorpions. And a surprise!! *NEW FEATURE*: 'World of Words', in which you'll discover untranslatable unique words from each country's language (here, German).

Destination: Mexico. Juan Rulfo is our focus, a haunted author of modern Mexican literature and García Márquez's idol. GUEST INTERVIEW: Dr María del Pilar Blanco, academic in Spanish-American literature at Oxford, tells us more about Mexican spiritualism and Rulfo's ghostly novel 'Pedro Páramo'. We'll also trace the Day of the Dead's origins, from Aztec myth to today's folkloric symbols, along with stories of Aztec gods' naughty tricks. With top Mexican pop+rock by Maná, Paulina Rubio, Caifanes and more.

Destination: Spain. (Your host's home country... *wink wink*) We end this season travelling to magical Spain, south and north, with haunting myths and history. In the south, discover Al-Andalus, Spain's Islamic medieval period, of beautiful cultural/artistic legacy, including the Alhambra palace in Granada, which hides historical secrets and legends... In the north, meet perverse spirits and witches from Galician, Asturian and Basque folklore. And what really happened with the Inquisition's witch-hunt in Navarra? With great Spanish tunes: guitar, Chambao, Tino Casal's glam rock