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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In 2001, a quarter-century after boxing's celebrated "Thrilla in Manila," Ali and Frazier were once again poised to enter the ring. But this time i...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago and PRX Remix

  • Added: Mar 10, 2015
  • Length: 25:50
  • Purchases: 2
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In the early 1950s, at the same time legendary record producer Sam Phillips was making recordings of the pageants and events happening in Memphis’ ...

Bought by WABE

  • Added: Feb 25, 2015
  • Length: 16:56
  • Purchases: 1
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Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote a poem about them. Amy Tan’s mother was serenaded by them as she lay in state. Jessica Mitford’s memorial procession ...

Bought by KWMR,, WABE, and PRX Remix

  • Added: Feb 24, 2015
  • Length: 15:44
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Frances McDormand
The Kitchen Sisters and PRX present Hidden Kitchens World, a new hour of kitchen stories that travel the world. A broadcast special rich with grea...

Bought by KAAD-LP, WGBH Radio Boston, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago and more

  • Added: Sep 11, 2014
  • Length: 53:57
  • Purchases: 76
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Patti Smith was an aspiring poet, not yet launched into the world of rock and roll. Judy Linn was just beginning her work as a photographer. The tw...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, WABE, WABE, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass. and more

  • Added: Sep 03, 2014
  • Length: 13:13
  • Purchases: 6
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Fugitive Waves: Episode 6: Cry Me a River: A story of three pioneering river activist and the damming of wild rivers in the west.  Mark Dubois, co-...

Bought by WHFR, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., KZYX, KZMU Moab Community Radio, KZYX and more

  • Added: Aug 01, 2014
  • Length: 33:19
  • Purchases: 13
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In 1947 Tennessee Williams and his lover Pancho stepped into a recording booth at a penny arcade in New Orleans and recorded 8 cardboard discs. Lo...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, WABE, and PRX Remix

  • Added: Jun 25, 2014
  • Length: 21:16
  • Purchases: 4
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Tales from Vietnamese Manicurist Shops in America: A story of memory and manicuring. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese immigrants work as manicurists...

Bought by KZYX, KZYX, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and PRX Remix

  • Added: Jun 24, 2014
  • Length: 23:04
  • Purchases: 4
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In this episode of Fugitive Waves, The Kitchen Sisters ride the nightshift with The Homobile. Homobiles is a non-commercial, volunteer, 24/7 ride ...

Bought by KSFR, KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, KZYX, KALW and more

  • Added: Jun 24, 2014
  • Length: 21:17
  • Purchases: 6
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In 1947 Tennessee Williams and his lover Pancho stepped into a recording booth at a penny arcade in New Orleans and create some Fugitive Waves.

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, WABE, KALW,, and WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass.

  • Added: May 28, 2014
  • Length: 21:25
  • Purchases: 5