The Kitchen Sisters

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The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) are producers of the duPont-Columbia Award-winning NPR series Hidden Kitchens, the two Peabody Award-winning NPR series, Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project and most recently, The Hidden World of Girls, a series on NPR that explored the lives of girls and the women they become. Their currenct project is The Making Of…, a production with KQED and AIR.

As independent producers, they are the creators of more than 200 stories for public broadcast about the lives, histories, art and rituals of people who have shaped our diverse cultural heritage.

Hidden Kitchens heard on Morning Edition, explores the world of secret, unexpected, below the radar cooking across America—how communities come together through food. The series inspired their first book, Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes, and More from NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2005 and nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Writing on Food.

Lost & Found Sound, a national collaboration that went on air in 1999 chronicles American life through recorded sound. In 2001-2002 The Kitchen Sisters created and spearheaded The Sonic Memorial Project, a collection of radio stories and audio artifacts, a website and archive ( commemorating the life and history of the World Trade Center and its neighborhood. This nationwide cross-media collaboration was awarded the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York Award for most innovative use of archives and the NFCB Golden Reel for Best Hour-Long Radio Documentary.

Other recent work includes the radio special Hidden Kitchens Texas, narrated by Willie Nelson, which was nominated for a James Beard Award and the inspiration for their second book,Hidden Kitchens Texas: Stories, Recipes and More from the Lone Star State, and Cry Me a River, a portrait of three pioneering river activists and the damming of wild rivers in the West, that aired as part of the series, Stories from the Heart of the Land.

The Kitchen Sisters began their radio lives producing a weekly live radio program in the late 70’s on KUSP-FM in Santa Cruz, California. Their radio documentaries have been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Smithsonian, California Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, Soundprint, and others. Other noted Kitchen Sisters stories include: Waiting for Joe DiMaggio, The Nights of Edith Piaf, Carmen Miranda: The Life and Times of the Brazilian Bombshell, WHER: 1000 Beautiful Watts, Guillermo Cabrera Infante: Memories of an Invented City, Tupperware, The Road Ranger, and War and Separation.

The Kitchen Sisters are also involved in educating and training new voices for public media in an imaginative, artistic and creative approach to storytelling. They have taught at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, University of California Santa Cruz Social Documentary Graduate Program and frequently lecture and provide training at universities, festivals, workshops, radio stations, public forums and events throughout the country and abroad. They also train and work with interns, college students, and youth radio apprentices and participate in the life of the public radio community throughout the country. In addition to producing radio, Davia Nelson is also a screenwriter and casting director. She lives in San Francisco. Nikki Silva is also a museum curator and exhibit consultant. She lives with her family on a commune in Santa Cruz, California.


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57 Pieces

Fugitive Waves --  Lost recordings and shards of sound, along with new tales of remarkable people from around the world. Stories from the flip side of history.

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16 Pieces

Secret, underground, unexpected, below-the-radar, community cooking across America

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10 Pieces

Lost & Found Sound is an eclectic gathering of stories both historical and entertaining, woven together with lyrical sonic transitions, surprising audio artifacts and musings by the likes of Sun Records producer Sam Phillips. A national collaboration with listeners, produced by The Kitchen Sisters, Jay Allison and NPR.

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2 Pieces

"Lost & Found Sound and Beyond" is the second anthology of greatest hits from the Peabody Award winning Lost & Found Sound radio series, heard over the last five years on NPR's All Things Considered. A collection of eccentric, endangered and undiscovered sounds and oral traditions, this special two-hour program provides a glimpse of the recorded legacy of our country.

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The Hidden World of Girls is an NPR series exploring the secret life of girls around the world. Girls and the women they become. Stories of coming of age, rituals and rite of passage, secret identities--of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide.

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8 Pieces

The Keepers, two new hour-long Specials from The Kitchen Sisters and PRX with host, Academy Award-winning actress, Frances McDormand. Stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians. Keepers of the culture and the culture and collections they keep. Striking and surprising stories of preservation and civic life. Available soon from PRX. Sound-rich, highly produced, hope-filled — perfect for the holiday season and turn of the year.

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0 Pieces

The making of the Bay Bridge. The making of a jar of jam. The making of the iPhone, an opera, a surfboard… what people make in the Bay Area and why.

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5 Pieces

The Sonic Memorial Project's stories about the World Trade Center as aired on NPR's All Things Considered.


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Perfect for Women's History Month programming. "Buildings Speak: Stories of Pioneering Women Architects," a new special from The Kitchen Sisters, h...

Bought by WCUW 91.3 FM, WILL, KALW, WRGY, WKSU and more

  • Added: Jan 30, 2024
  • Length: 54:56
  • Purchases: 54
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For some eight years now, 34 Black women from the Bay Area — artists, scholars, midwives, nurses, an architect, an ice cream maker, a donut maker, ...

Bought by KASU, WWNO, High Plains Public Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9, WXXI Rochester and more

  • Added: Apr 10, 2023
  • Length: 53:27
  • Purchases: 45
Caption: The Brubeck Collection, Wilton Library, Wilton, CT, Credit: V.M. Hanks
The Real Ambassadors is a poignant tale of anti-racism, cultural exchange, jazz history— and it’s a love story—between life-long husband and wife p...

Bought by KZMU Moab Community Radio, Troy Public Radio, WJCT, KAAD-LP, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago and more

  • Added: Aug 31, 2022
  • Length: 52:00
  • Purchases: 14
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Time, interaction and change in Tongan culture The small island states near the International Date Line in the South Pacific have been competi...

  • Added: Feb 21, 2022
  • Length: 01:12:42
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On August 16, 2020, some 12,000 lightning strikes exploded across northern California, igniting more than 585 wildfires. In the Santa Cruz Mountain...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer and WXAV 88.3FM Chicago

  • Added: Aug 17, 2021
  • Length: 33:41
  • Purchases: 2
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Inspired by a blackboard sign on the street in Davia’s neighborhood announcing “Spotlight on Black Entrepreneurs,” we enter the creative and growin...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago

  • Added: Apr 27, 2021
  • Length: 36:38
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Amish Sewing Frolic, New Bedford, Ohio, May 2020, Credit: Erick Stoll
It was Friday, April 10th, 2020. The pandemic was really starting to roar. PPE was scarce and the supply chains were already breaking down. Every h...

Bought by KFAI Minneapolis, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, and KZYX

  • Added: Dec 22, 2020
  • Length: 19:31
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Host, Frances McDormand, Credit: Alison Rosa
The Keepers: Archiving the Now — a new hour-long special from The Kitchen Sisters and PRX with host, Academy Award-winner Frances McDormand. Storie...

Bought by Prairie Public, WJCT, WABE, WNMU-FM, WCQS and more

  • Added: Nov 24, 2020
  • Length: 54:25
  • Purchases: 70
Caption: Frances McDormand, Credit: Photo by Alison Rosa
The Keepers: Archiving the Now — a new hour-long special from The Kitchen Sisters and PRX with host, Academy Award-winner, Frances McDormand. Stori...

Bought by WABE, KGOU, KPTZ, Port Townsend, WA, Georgia Public Broadcasting, KCLU and more

  • Added: Nov 19, 2020
  • Length: 01:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Cleve Jones and Gert McMullin, 1987, Credit: Deanne Fitzmaurice / SF Chronicle
Gert McMullin, The "Mother of the AIDS Memorial Quilt" memorializing those who died in the AIDS pandemic, is now sewing masks for nurses and health...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, Northern Community Radio - KAXE & KBXE, Minnesota, and WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass.

  • Added: Jun 19, 2020
  • Length: 30:01
  • Purchases: 3