This week, PBS Digital Studios announced the premiere of a new original series, SOUND FIELD, taking viewers on a deep dive into the history and culture behind our favorite songs and musical styles. The series, produced in partnership with Twin Cities PBS’ Rewire team, aims to ignite the music lover in everyone. SOUND FIELD premieres Thursday, January 17, 2019 on YouTube and streams via Facebook Watch on Thursday, January 23, 2019. Preview the series in this first look video.  

Playing through music’s most loved melodies, SOUND FIELD offers a fresh perspective on some of today’s most popular titles and highlights the connection between multiple genres, including pop, classical, rap, jazz, electronic music, folk, country and indigenous sounds of America. From Ariana Grande’s catchy pop ballads to James Brown’s heavy funk to Sarah McLachlan’s tear-inducing hit, “Angel,” SOUND FIELD takes viewers through the music theory of why we love the songs that we do.

Hosted by accomplished musicians and music educators Arthur “LA” Buckner and Nahre Sol, each episode will be a unique combination of performances and video essay explainers. Throughout the series, Buckner‘s background in gospel, funk and hip-hop is joined by Sol’s expertise in classical and composition to illuminate music’s universality and to build a community of music lovers.

“Music is a great unifier, it brings people together from all backgrounds because it echoes our deepest cultural and social influences,” said Brandon Arolfo, Senior Director, PBS Digital Studios. “As an avid music lover, I am excited to bring SOUND FIELD to PBS Digital Studios. Nahre and LA are talented hosts who will enlighten audiences with deep knowledge about music and its impacts on the world.”

SOUND FIELD is part of PBS Digital Studios’ expanded offering of lifestyle and humanities content that will join its growing network of original programming with varying topics, including history, science, food, culture, and personal finance.

The format of the series varies by episode, bringing viewers a 360-degree perspective on their favorite songs and genres. While some episodes will incorporate vlog-style commentary with the hosts, others will go on location into vibrant musical communities around the country in collaboration with local PBS stations.

The series premieres with an episode on James Brown and how his band created the DNA for funk. The second episode looks at the song “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan and how its emotional impact helped to raise $30 million for animal shelters. Episode three explores Atlanta’s trap music sound and its crossover journey into Top 40 music.

PBS member station KET in Louisville, Kentucky will create middle and high school classroom resources and curriculum to accompany the series. Following the series, the curriculum will be managed and distributed via the PBS Learning Media platform.