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Back to Basics

In the past few weeks, I feel like, due to the every expanding cavalcade of new music that have been gratefully flooding the offices of 88.9 WCVE, we need to take a step back a bit. So on this week’s World Music Show (5/20), that we’re going to go back to basics.

So, for at least two genres of World Music, we’ll take a trip back to see (sort of) where many first heard or began to love World Music. As for me, I can attribute this to my very bad habits of television watching habits as a youth. Like many in my Generation X era, I consumed way too much TV. Call it the latch key kid syndrome. As in, you get home from school, grab a snack, turn on the tube and “do homework.” And with that modus operandi, I scarfed up all I could in terms of TV, even classic TV. I loved “I Love Lucy,” as well as the Road Movies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, which I watched on the weekends (I’m a comedy nerd).

Now, in reading that, you may not think that this relates to World Music—but stick with me—it does. You see, on Lucy, her TV (and real life husband) was a nightclub musician. And in those Hope/Crosby movies, there was often a singer who sang some interesting songs that sounded different to me.

I’m talking of course of Desi Arnaz and Carmen Miranda, who though they had strong TV/Movie personalities, also were actual musicians. Arnaz was already an accomplished nightclub musician and band leader. Miranda was also an international star. And by the time their watered down version of themselves found me, it was hard to distinguish what was real and what was “Hollywood.” And, I’m going out on a limb here and assuming that for many of my ilk and of the previous generation, there was no distinction between their personas.

Hence, the reason why I like to occasionally get back to basic. So, we’ll kick off the show with both Desi Arnaz and Carmen Miranda, then we’ll also here a tad more updated style of Nightclub music (because man, what a cool thing to go and see, right?) by hearing from Buena Vista Social Club, Orchestra Baobab (who are both long-running hotel bands who have survived so much). And they’ll be paired with Afrocubism, who were actually supposed to be part of the Buena Vista sessions. And, by the way, look for an new documentary about Buena Vista coming out soon.

Plus, we’ll hear some beautiful Cuban music from Pedro Luis Ferrer, Lena Ferrer and Rene Ferrer, though, I’m not sure what the relation is with all of those. And, we’ll explore some Afro-Portuguese music from the multigenerational band Mabulu and the smaller scale band Bidinte.

For more back to basics, we’ll dive head first into the mosh pit that was French Pop music—ok, that’s a really bad metaphor, but I like the visual. Either way, we’ll hear from Brigitte Bardot, Eileen, Johnny Hallyday and France Gall. And to just throw a wrench into this set, we’ll check out some classic Japanese Pop music from Eiko Shuri.

Then, for the second hour, we’ll delve into the history of some excellent Afrobeat music, including tracks from of course Fela Kuti, but also we’ll check out music from Ghana, which includes styles from Hi-life and Afro-funk. 

Then, to end the show, I’ll throw all that back to basics stuff out the window and concentrate on some really great Latin Alternative music. We’ll hear from Axel Krygier, who came up with a fantastic premise of a time-traveling Bigfoot from the Stone Age. Plus, we’ll hear from the not-so-alternative Ceu and Dom La Nena (who is about to have a baby!), while ending the show with the very alternative Bebe, who is fierce musician from Spain. And, it'll all end with a couple of cool covers from the super group Los Crema Pariaso.

To get on the flashback/back to basics A-Train, tune into the World Music Show Saturday from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on 88.9 WCVE Richmond Public Radio. Stream the shows via this website and follow my rantings on Twitter @wcvworldmusic or on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.