The Nerve

Why does music have such power over our hearts and minds?

Hosted ByJowi Taylor

In 2008, Chris Brookes, Jowi Taylor and I produced an award-winning six-part documentary series for CBC Radio called The Nerve: Music and the Human Experience. It’s a follow-up to our Peabody-Award-winning series The Wire: The Impact of Electricity on Music, and it takes a look at how music is a facet of every part of our lives, from human evolution, to war and peace, to religion and personal identity.

Music is found in every culture worldwide. It’s our constant companion, from birth through childhood, love, marriage and death. It has a starring role on every stage of the great human drama – whether we are at war or at prayer, by ourselves or with others, happy or sad – music is there. But does it really have a purpose? Where does it come from? And why does it have such power over our hearts and minds?

The Nerve asks those questions, featuring the voices and thoughts of top musicians and thinkers, from Zakir Hussain to Howard Shore to Richard Dawkins and more. The series has six episodes:

1. Wired for Sound (Music & the Brain)
2. In the Key of DNA (Music & Evolution)
3. The Pipe, the Drum & the Thunder Run (Music & War)
4. Enchanted, Entranced (Music & Spirituality)
5. myTunes (Music & Identity)
6. Sentimental Journey (Music & Emotion)

Episode 1 of The Nerve was Shortlisted for the 2009 Prix Italia in the Work on Music category. The Nerve as a series was awarded two Silver Medals at the 2009 New York Festivals Radio Awards in the Culture & the Arts and Best Editing categories.

The Nerve has aired on CBC Music, CBC Radio 1, RNZ National in New Zealand, and across the USA on PRX. Unfortunately, at this time, The Nerve is not available to listen to online.