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The Beauty of Summer

I've been thinking about this recently. There is a division among people here in RVA. There are those of us who enjoy mid-seasons and those of us who enjoy the transitions, as in from one season to the next. As for me, I tend to fall into the latter. But for those who enjoy the mid-season (or in this case, the still-newish start of a season), then this week's World Music Show (6/28/14) is for you.

Of course, this isn't to say that whatever season you happen to relish, would bar you from tuning in to the show this week. It just happens to mean that if you are of the sort who enjoys the humidity, the mosquito bites and the heaviness of summer, then this show--at least parts of it--may be right up your alley.

I can think of no better person to start off this week's show than with the singer Bebel Gilberto. If the name sounds familiar, it could be because her father, Gilberto Gil, was one of the founder of the Tropicalia movement--the era in which Brazil became a juggernaut of arts and culture in terms of books, film and particularly music. Think Samba and Bossa Nova. Well Bebel has that vibe in her, as is evident in the songs "August Day Song," and "So Nice (Summer Samba)." Both of these tracks are a nice easement into the pace of the humid summers in RVA: slow, but with a steady beat of rhythm. I'll pair her with a couple of songs by another Brazilian Tom Ze.

Continuing that gentle, yet groovy feeling, will be a cut off the CD "Lunatico," the band Gotan Project. Gotan Project play electronic-infused tango music, which is both old world and new. Mixed into their set will be a couple of Tropical Discotheque songs in the style known as Sofrito as well as some more mellow tracks from another stellar Brazilian, Caetano Veloso (I must have World Cup Fever going on--hence, all the Brazilian tracks).

Los LobosStaying within that genre, sort of, but moving North--far North, to East L.A. we'll hear a couple of tracks from the long-running band Los Lobos, who partner with producers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake on their CD called "This Time." Why mention this? Well, both of these guys helped form the Los Lobos side-project known as Latin Playboys, and when you hear the two tracks off this CD, you can almost think of this as another Playboys CD.

Rounding out the hour will be tracks from Los Amigos Invisibles, Serge Gainsbourg (who sings with the legendary Brigette Bardot), Paul Simon and the band Nouvelle Vague, who do a great cover of the song "Heart of Glass, which was also covered by the then New Wave ingenue Blondie.

For hour two, we'll keep the summer fling going a tad longer by hearing some new (well, technically, it's not been a year yet) music from Reggae Legend, Jimmy Cliff. Off his CD called "Rebirth," we'll hear two songs, including his cover of The Clash song "Guns of Brixton." Paired with him will be a couple of Mento tunes from Jamaica's The Jolly Boys. Mento, by the way, is basically dancehall music played with the help of a Marumba box, which is beat box that one of the musicians can sit on while playing. Mento musicians were known for covering hits of the day. And in our case, we'll hear cover these hits "The Passenger," and the Amy Winehouse song "Rehab."

Moving from this style of tunes, we'll head East to hear some more electronic-type of music, including tracks from Karmix, Badar Ali Kahn, and mutli-instrumentalist Japanese Matsuki Ayumu. Plus, we'll hear a cool cover of the Beck song "I think I'm in Love," done by the French trio, We Are Enfant Terrible.

Closing out the show will be cuts from Cornershop, the Police (listen for their Regge beats) and from Ursula 1000 and Morcheeba. Perhaps these last chunks of tunes are more for the transition types.

And in case you're wondering why I'm the type who enjoys the transition periods of seasons, it's because there is change afoot. The temperatures are either about to get hotter or cooler, and I can keep the windows and sunroof open without any fear of melting or freezing.

The World Music Show can be heard every Saturday night from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE. Plus you can tune in on-line via this website. And you can also get show updates on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.