On the outskirts of Buenos Aires tucked away from the ubiquitous tango clubs and steakhouses lies Hospital Borda, the largest and oldest mental hospital in Argentina. But this isn’t your typical psychiatric ward. In the middle of its courtyard stands a small, bustling building full of recording equipment and unbridled energy, where patients take the mic each Saturday. This is Radio La Colifata, the first radio show in the world to be broadcast out of a mental hospital.
Our latest podcast follows Idealist staff member Celeste Hamilton, a transplanted New Yorker and Ceci Gil MariÃ±o, a native Argentinean, as they give us an intimate glimpse at why everyone from taxi drivers to famous musicians can’t get enough of Radio La Colifata. We hear from staff and patients, or colifatos as they like to be called, about how it all began, why it’s lasted almost two decades — and why this innovative form of public therapy has spawned 40 similar radio stations all over the world.
To listen in Spanish, click here. This is the first time we have been able to produce our podcast entirely in Spanish; if you listen, please let us know what you think.
Special thanks to Victoria Bembibre, MartÃn Waserman, C. Andrea Sottosanto, Josefina Murphy, Carolina Villanueva, Martin Celis, Rodrigo Tabernero, and VerÃ³nica Carmona Barrenechea for their help with this podcast; to Cheba Massolo, Agri, and Julio y Agosto for sharing their music; and to the Radio La Colifata staff and colifatos for inviting Idealist into their world.
[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]