Aren't esoteric titles wonderful? I often wonder if, for those of you who may regularly read these electronic missives, if the headlines I dream up actually get you to peruse the entire text, of if you stall after the first paragraph. In any event, if you bear with me, on this week's World Music Show (2/9), you'll be able to glean what I mean by the title of "From Cuba to The Clash."
Surely, the "Cuba" part of the headline makes sense--I mean, what would a World Music Show be without music from Cuba once in awhile? But "The Clash" part? How does that fit in? Well, here's how my mind works. One of the first songs I'll be playing, "Lenguaje Del Son," by Patato El, is off a CD called "Cuba Sin Fronteras," or "Cuba Without Borders." It's the "Without Borders" part that made me think of The Clash, because in hour two of the show, I'll be saluting the work of Joe Strummer, who was, of course, an instrumental member of The Clash.
But how does The Clash relate to "Without Borders"? Well, when you listen closely to many of a Clash or Strummer song, you'll be able to detect hints of world beats--everything from Spanish guitar, to Reggae backbeats to Maracas and more. Though they were by definition a "Punk" band, The Clash, through their infusion of world beats, influenced many other bands and artists of the time--everyone from Elvis Costello to the Police. It is becuase of this bit of musical history, and becuase one of my goals on the World Music Show (to bring to light world beats in modern music), that I wanted to play tracks from The Clash and Joe Strummer.
Now, on with the show. Since you already know that some great Cuban music begins the show, how about you hear what follows in that first set? We'll hear some great, alternative Latin music from Diego Garcia and the band Pacha Massive, as well as some Tropical Discotheque music (which started in the clubs of East London) from the band Quantic. And, we'll round it out with some Brazilian music from Tom Ze and some definitive Los Angeles Latin rock from the great, long-running band Los Lobos.
From there, we'll jump regions and head to Africa to hear tunes from Mabi Thobejane, Mongo Santamaria (doing a song that made him famous, but that was actually written by Herbie Hancock) and from Angelique Kidjo. Plus thrown in this set, for some odd reason only known to my brain, I throw in a track from the Gipsy Kings--it works within this set, trust me. And, to complete this chunk will be some classic Afrofunk/Highlife music from 1970s Nigeria with Etubom Rex Williams & His Nigerian Artistes.
To close out the first hour, we'll head to France to hear some French Nouvelle music from Arthur H, Lo'Jo, then dip back to hear some French pop from Serge Gainsbourg.
For the second hour, we'll move in a somewhat different direction--a more looser, groovier one. We'll start off in Italy with the band Fiamma Fumana, who like to blend traditional Italian folk music with contemporary pop and electronica. And we'll hear a track by a British band who had a pretty popular hit with the song "Jacob's Ladder." Remember the band Chumbawamba? Yeah, I thought so. To keep the groove going, we'll also hear songs from the Dub n' Soul singer Emo, who is from Denmark, as well as from the duo Linn & Freddie. Thrown into this first set will also be some Japanese Bossa Nova, circa 1966 from Mieko Hirota.
The next chunk o' tunes will turn electric or rather Electronic Tabla Beat-ish, as I'll play some tracks from the master of Tabla Beats, Karsh Kale, followed by the duo Midival Punditz. Mixed into this set will be another thowback to an earlier scene, this from Turkey circa 1969-1980. The style or CD is called "Turkish Freakout," but the music is really fuzzy and funky and all in all a good addition to this set.
To close out the hour, well, you probably guessed it. It'll be the mini-tribute to Joe Strummer. I'll mostly feature songs from his days with his band The Mescaleros, but I will throw in one Clash track. It'll be a nice way to end the show and I think after hearing this, you may leave the show with a greater appreciation of his legacy--at least, those are my hopes.
The World Music Show can be heard on Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m.on WCVE Public Radio, 88.9FM or online via this website. You can follow the show on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.