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What is your favourite music?
Why does a single song or piece of music mean more to you than any other?


Update: repeat broadcast of the program in ABC Radio National's Summer Features series 5 January at 11 am.

Local Portraits is a photographic exhibition that asks this question of 70 people. It is also a radio program about the residents of two places in NSW: the rural town of Robertson and the 2168 postcode area of Liverpool. What music do these people carry in their minds, and why?

This radio feature, first broadcast on ABC Radio National's Into the Music on 27 September 2008, was a lot of fun to put together. I had been involved with the exhibition project as a sound editor and wanted to go on working with this fascinating material. I used interviews originally recorded for the exhibition by Andrew Ford, mixed them together with music, and recorded some environmental sounds (on ZoomH2, a lovely little digi-toy) in Robertson and Liverpool to tie all elements together. Jack Monro, year 11 student from Oxley College in Bowral, volunteered to narrate the program, and Phillip Ulman from the ABC was the immensely experienced mastering sound engineer, who also added a few 'missing' ravens and crickets (wrong season for recording crickets!). Robyn Ravlich as the executive producer of Into the Music oversaw the whole process. Funding for the program came from ABC's Regional Production Fund.

ABC Online put up a beautiful website (functional from 27 September 2008), with 20 portraits from the exhibition, the relevant interview clips, as well as links to related content on ABC's social networking site Pool. Photographer Jim Rolon generously let us use his exhibition photographs for this website.

Please check it out, and follow the links to Pool to create your own local portrait. And don't forget the exhibition itself, which will be open from 27 September through to 18 January 2009.

Photo: Jasper Fearnley (Robertson) © Jim Rolon