Meet Sir David Attenborough… world music fan and collector

The naturalist is to reveal a side of himself that few know…


Sir David Attenborough is to reveal a side of himself that few know – as a collector of music from all over the world.


This Christmas Day, Radio 3 will air David Attenborough: World Music Collector in which he tells the stories of the music he has collected in his travels around the globe in six decades of natural history programme making.

The show will return to the music he gave to the BBC, much of which has been locked up in the Corporation’s Sound Library ever since.

This includes the music of the harp players of Paraguay whom Attenborough discovered and whose work was used as the theme tune for his hit show Zoo Quest which ran on the BBC from 1954 to 1963.

In fact, wherever he went to make programmes Attenborough recorded musicians.

When the men carrying the crew’s baggage in New Guinea in the 1960s started singing, he taped them.

He also recorded songs in Borneo longhouses, drumming in Sierra Leone, gamelan music in Java, Aboriginal didgeridoo players and palace music in Tonga.

In the programme he will listen again to recordings he made half a century ago and talk about the memories and stories they evoke.

He said: “I’m delighted that the music I recorded, all over the world, half a century ago, is coming to light at last. I’m enjoying listening to it very much and I hope the Radio 3 audience will enjoy it, too – and the stories of how I met the players and singers who shared with me their fascinating and wonderful music.”


Sunday Feature: Sir David Attenborough – World Music Collector airs on Radio 3 on Christmas Day at 6:45pm