Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m a musician in a band. And though I do have the stereotypical fantasy of being on stage, singing and playing guitar to an adoring audience, I also fantasize about writing a set list for an upcoming show. Usually, this fantasy involves me being Elvis Costello or David Byrne. Yes, my nerd-dom knows no bounds. And while I’m no where near being a musician, I am fortunate enough to be able to assemble playlists. It’s the closest thing I’ll get to being on stage. Each week I get to conjure up imaginary set lists that I imagine would be great to hear if I were at a show.
So, on this week’s World Music Show (7/23), I want you to imagine you’re at a show or listening to your favorite mix CD, because that’s how I approach the assembling of playlists each week.
As the title of this week’s show implies, there is indeed something electric about this show. It’s mainly because one of the bands, Burkina Electric is a unique example of what makes doing a playlist so exciting. Burkina Electric are a group led by Lukas Ligeti, who is a composer and percussionist. He is also the son of the famed Hungarian composer Grygory Ligeti. The younger Ligeti’s work incorporates elements of jazz, contemporary classical, and various forms of world music. His current group brings together electronica and Burkinabe popular music. The resulting sounds are very interesting to hear.
There are other electric elements on this edition, too. I’ll play a couple of selections off a Luaka Bop compilation called “Cuisine Non-Stop,” which highlights music from the French Nouvelle Generation, which is a group of bands who, a few years back, wanted to redefine what French music should sound like. Many of the bands, like Tetes Raides and Java built a loyal following at underground clubs by playing a mash-up of all styles of French music, from French Chason to pop and world beats. Plus, their lyrics cover daily life and everyday problems, which many popular French bands didn’t sing about. The press in France dubbed this movement “Neo-Realism.”
Bonus tracks to listen for on this show are some more new selections off The Jolly Boys CD, which include their cover of Steely Dan’s “Do it Again,” and The Clash’s “I Fought The Law.” Their style of music, called Mento, is a throwback to the early days of Jamiacan music. Plus, I’m still excavating tunes off the new release called Red Hot + Rio 2 which will include Brazilian songs by Os Mutantes and Beriut. This two disc CD features some really amazing combinations of classic Brazilian artists mashed up with current Brazilian and even some U.S. musicians. All the proceeds from the sale of this compilation go to fight the AIDS epidemic. And, did you know that if you purchase any tracks or whole CDs off of my playlist (or any of the playlists featured on WCVE), that the station gets a small bit of proceeds from your purchase? It’s a win-win.
Some other choice bands and musicians to be on the listen for on this week’s show include: Sam Mangwana, The Latin Playboys, The Talking Heads, David Byrne, and Salif Keita, who is a descendent of the first Malian king, by the way.
As you can imagine, I have quite the bit of fun when I’m putting together my weekly playlists. And though I’ll never be on the stage singing or strumming, this is the closest thing I have to performing on stage.
The World Music Show aires every Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. on 88.9FM WCVE Public Radio or online at ideastations.org/radio. You can also join me on Twitter. I post tidbits almost daily and during each show, I give a little more background into what I’m playing.