Forget those other end-of-the-year "best-of" lists. Sure, they have a purpose and offer some valid recommendations, plus they have the luxury of showcasing all the new music that was released this year. But on this week's World Music Show (12/28), you'll get a better "best-of," compilation! How so? I'll take some of the new music that came my way and combine it with some of my favorite songs from the six seasons of hosting the World Music Show--hence, it's the annual "Raves & Faves" show, 2013 edition.
In hour one we'll move from Brazil, with odd jumps to New York and even Richmond, then travel to parts of Africa and Paris, ending back in New York. Now that you have your itinerary, let's get moving.
Off a Putumayo compilation that I received last year called "Brazilian Beats," we'll hear from the singer Tamy as well as from Monica da Silva. Both these two women have unique and distinct voices and both bring some alternative beats to the forefront of Brazilian music. It's like they're mixing Samba soul music with Bossa Nova grooves while still maintaining tropicalia rhythms from yesteryear. Mixed into this first chunk of music will be a couple of tracks from the Brazilian singer Céu (pictured above), who, I think, has a voice like butter. She's one of the most popular singers in Brazil and jumps easily from Bossa Nova to funk as well as to more alternative rock music. I've played her (and the other two singers) quite a bit on the show over the year becuase I just think their style and voices are that good.
Opening up another Brazilian-themed chunk of music, but with more of a classic style, will be local band Fado Nosso. This band features some great local talent, including: Bernadatte Stephens on vocals, Leah Kruszewksi on guitar, Brain Cruse on bass and Melissa Sunderland Jones on violin. All four of these musicians play either solo or in other bands and if you ever get a chance to see and support them, you should (if you follow the show on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic, you'll be able to get frequent updates on thier---as well as other local, "World Music" RVA bands upcoming shows). Paired with Fado Nosso, will be another local RVA Bossa Nova band, Quarto na Bossa, which features these players: Laura Ann Singh, vocals, Kevin Harding, guitars, Rusty Farmer, bass and Rogerio Boccato, drums.
You might wonder why the word "Fado" appears in both of these--and the next band featured (Fado Em Si Bemol)--names. The term "Fado," refers to a style of Portuguese music that dates back to the 1820s. The genre incorporates Portuguese and classical guitar and is usually played or sung in a mournful style, communicating life along the coast and about the poor. Ending this set will be another style of Portuguese music called Forro, with a couple of tunes by a band of ex-Brazilian patriots called Forro in the Dark. Forro music is a left turn from Fado music has it cranks up the beats and becomes more dancehall music. We'll hear this band paired with David Byrne, who happened to meet the band when he encountered them in a local bar.
Jumping out of the Brazilian beats, we'll land over in Africa to hear a great pairing featuring the late Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate. Both of these musicians are masters of their respective instruments--guitar for Toure and the Kora for Diabate. We'll hear a song that they recorded in a studio they set up in a hotel on the banks of the Niger river. Also featured in this set will be a great live track from the powerful voice of Angelique Kidjo (who is about to release a new CD and memoir). Continuing the paired-up theme, we'll hear hear along with Branford Marsalis on their cover of the song "Move on Up," when their were in Boston on the program called "Live from Guest Street." Plus, we'll also hear another powerful voice and guitar player--Ecudorian/New Yorker Eljuri, who pairs her talents with the legendary producers Sly & Robbie.
To close out the first hour, we'll stay in New York to hear a couple of songs off the most recnet release by Paul Simon. Off his CD, "So Beautiful or So What," you'll see how far he's come in terms of expanding his World Music beats, since "Graceland."
For hour two, we'll hear some new music from one of my favorite rock/alternative/world musicians, David Byrne (I proudly lump all three of those descriptions together since Byrne easily incorporates all these into his music). Byrne, along with the band/singer St. Vincent, released the CD "Love This Giant," earlier this year and it features some great horns as well as some great beats, too. Plus, in this opening set o' music, we'll hear some of my other favorite Byrne tunes from his CD "Look into the Eyeball," as well as some of my favorite Ska revival music by the band The English Beat.
In another chunk of music, we'll head back to Brazil to hear from a man who reminds me of Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. Tom Ze does this not only because of his distinctive voice, but of his unique take on playing music. He both stretches your imagination with how songs should sound but he can also be silly at times, injecting some humor into his music. Lumped into his set will be tracks from Seu Jorge (covering a David Bowie song), the Northern Brazilian band Otto and a former Boogie-Board champion from Chile named Dj Bitman.
Closing out the show and the year will be cuts from Jimmy Cliff, Mabi Thobejane, Banco de Gaia, Cornershop and Matsuki Ayumu, who gets the last word with an appropriate song (tune in to find out!)
As I close this last blog of the year, I want to thank the following people for thier help with The World Music Show: Benjamin Dolle, Shawn Evans, who help me produce the show and keep it on the air; Marshall Lloyd and Ami Kim, who help promote the show electronically; Henry Cook and John Porter, who help promote the show on their show, Time for the Blues (Saturdays at 11:00 p.m.); George Maida, who also helps promote the show during drive time as well as on his show The Electric Croude; and to the rest of the on-air staff who also helps promote the show, too. But, I want to especially thank all of you for tuning in, writing in, following the show on Twitter and offering suggestions. The show can't go on without you.
The World Music Show is heard Saturday nights from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. on 88.9 WCVE, Richmond’s Public Radio station or online via this website. Until next year, when season 7 begins, Happy New Year.