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A French Dip Sandwich of Sound

You know, many wish they could have traveled back in time to be part of the French heyday when famous American writers and musicians roamed the streets of Paris in search of enlightenment. And while that sounds good to me, I also wish I could have been in Paris circa 1960s when they were having an explosion of pop music--most likely reflecting what was going on in the U.S. and in Great Britain. On this week's World Music Show (5/31), we'll explore a little bit of that world--especially in the first hour. In fact, it'll be like a French Dip sandwich of Sound.

Here are two reasons why--why the first hour will be like a French Dip sandwich and why I wish I could have been around during the French 60s Pop scene. We'll hear a track from Johnny Hallyday, who was basically called The French Elvis, for--well, you'll hear why; followed by the singer Clothilde who made her first record when she was 8-years-old, but eventually left singing to go to college and raise a family. While one sounds of swiveling hips, the other sounds more psychedelic. That's the top half of the sandwich--or maybe the bottom--you pick.

For the filler between the breads of French music, we'll hear some updated French music from the acrobatic band Lo-Jo, who often use Cirque de Soleil-like tactics in many of their shows and who have also been known to give impromptu street performances.

BossaCucaNovaAdded for sweetness, we'll hear more new music from the Brazilian band Bossacucanova. If you've been keeping track of past shows, they have a new CD out called "Our Kind of Bossa." And, if indeed you are keeping track, then you know that I've been plowing through this new CD two songs at a time (as per Radio Rules). Currently we're on tracks seven and eight. Called "Ficar," and "Waldomiro Pena," both of these tracks--like many of their previous ones, feature guest singers. In these case, they are Marcela Mangabeira and Wilson Simoninha. These guys loving adding electronic pings, twists and turns to either classic Brazil songs or to songs of their own making.

Paired with them will be another Brazilian band--well, a band of Ex-Pats actually who now reside in New York. The band Forro in the Dark met in a bar and became a great bar band and were discovered by David Byrne, who helped them produce some great music.

Keeping that Latin vibe-filler going, we'll continue with some more Brazilian music, but this time it'll a couple of tracks off a great two-disc compilation called "Red Hot + Rio 2," which is a fundraising CD for AIDS relief and awareness in countries. And, sort of like Bossacucanova, the concept of these CDs (the others were "Red Hot + Riot," "Red Hot + Jazz,"), is to take some of the original artists and mix them with more contemporary ones. In two examples off this CD, we'll hear two Caetano Veloso songs--one done by the band Beirut and the other by Tha Boogie.

Rounding out that Latin filler will be a couple of alternative tracks from the Nacional compilation CD "Cafe con Musica," by the Chilean musicians Ana Tijoux and DJ Bitman, who I always love to point out was once a champion boogie boarder and is still an avid surfer in Chile.

Now for that other piece of bread to complete our French Dip sandwich. And like the other piece, we'll head back to the 60s, but before I lay that piece down, I'll first add some Japanese Pop/Bossa Nova music from Reiko Ohara and Eiko Shuri. Ok, with that out of the way, we'll finish this long drawn-out metaphor with two Serge Gainsbourg songs sung by two different female singers: France Gall and Anna Karina, who despite being proteges of the notorious womanizer Gainsbourg, made some great records.

Now, for hour two I'm afraid I don't have any witty or in reality pun-like musical metaphors to entertain you. But I do have this: some Giant music, as well as Some Atomic Forest Obsession, followed by some Paste and some Sudden death of stars...sound confusing? Don't worry, all will be revealed forthwith.

If you haven't guessed by that picture above of David Byrne and the artist who goes by St. Vincent, that should answer the "Giant" part, as their CD is called "Love this Giant." And, if I wanted to stretch the theme of food, you could say that this first chunk of music in hour two may resemble a sort of sandwich--or perhaps it's more like an appetizer. Here's why: we'll hear four songs featuring David Byrne--two with St. Vincent and two with Brian Eno. Perhaps that's more of a thread instead of a food theme.

In the next segment of tunes we'll become Atomic Forest Obsessed. And yes, that is a reference to a band of the same name. This Turkish band, who's heyday was back in the late 70s and 80s, like to redo popular Western songs by adding some really heavy guitar vibration. I'm not sure if any of the Beatles got to hear Atomic Forest Obsession's medley cover of "I Saw Her Standing There/Rock N' Roll Music, but if they did they may been ok with it.

Added to this obsession will be some Paste--again, a reference to a CD--this time a compilation provided by the magazine "Paste." Off that we'll hear some Chinese Rock N' Roll from the band Carsick Cars, and some South African folk/club music from Yoav.

Other highlights to look forward to on this week's show include some German rap music from CRO, and some new European psychedelic music from the band Sudden Death of Stars as well more psychedelic music, this time from Japanese wunderkind Matsuki Ayumu.

So, despite all the odd CD title references and all the goofy metaphors, this week's World Music Show will be worth checking out. The show aires every Saturday night from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9FM or it streams online via this site. You can follow the show on Twitter, too, @wcveworldmusic.