There's plenty of room for you to hop aboard the mobile musical camel on this week's World Music Show (4/23). From some really great desert music by one of the best rated guitarists in the world, to some classic Juju tunes as well as some lost and found Cuban music, this week's show should have something for everyone, whether you like to ride camels or not.
On the first leg our mobile musical camel tour, we'll head to Mali to hear from one of the best. It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since the death of Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure. He's style of playing got him rated in the top 100 class of guitarists around the world, according to Rolling Stone. It's hard not to disagree, since his style of playing was free flowing an even improvisational. To celebrate his life, World Circuit records sent out a mini-4-disc CD featuring some of his best songs as a reminder as to why he was one of the most loved and respected artists. Off of that, we'll hear the songs "Soukora," which is off his 1994 album Talking Timbuktu and the song "Allah Uya" which can be found on his 1999 album Niafunke.
Mixed in with Farka Toure will be some desert blues music from the band Tinariwen (who provided the decked out mobile camel picture). Off their CD called Emmaar, we'll hear the songs "Toumast Tincha" and "Timadrit in Sahara," which both feature the Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. And that last song, "Timadrit in Sahara," was a song for the youth of their homeland in the Mali desert, letting them know that there is a whole big world outside of their own views.
Alright, let's take a trip back in time to Nigeria in the 1970s. If we were driving around in one of the cities, flipping the channels around on the radio, we'd hear a styles known as Highlife, Juju, Original Heavyweight Afrobeat or Afro-Funk. Can you guess that the tunes are big band sounding and upbeat? They are. From that era, we'll check out the band Sir Shina Peters & His International Stars with the song "Yabis," which is a chugging slice of Afro-Juju music. And we'll hear the song "Ezuku Buzo," by Bola Johnson & his Easy Life Top Beats. Johnson was not only a musician but he was a comedian, which you'll understand after hearing the beginning of that song.
Partnering with that style but only by proximity and not by decade or style will be a couple of tracks featuring the Senegalese legend Youssou N'Dour. One of the tracks you may have heard many times back in the 80s or 90s. It features him with Peter Gabriel doing the song "Shaking the Tree," which was written by both of them. It was originally released on N'Dour's album "The Lion," but was later remixed with some new vocals and put on one of Gabriel's albums. Then off of N'Dour's album "Joko (the link)" we'll hear the song "She Doesn't Need to Fall," which is a very moving number.
Midway through most World Music Shows means it's time to switch the dials, which means at this point, we'll move from those African beats and head over to the island of Cuba to hear some lost and found sounds. Off a CD that came out last year, I'll throw in some recently unearthed sounds from the Buena Vista Social Club. The tracks on this release were found years after their huge success in a recording studio. We'll check out the live song "Bruca Manigua." And we can't just have a set with one great Cuban track. So, for kicks and as a prelude to the second hour, I'm throwing in a track that I think could almost be danceable. Off a CD compilation from the Putumayo label, we'll hear the song "Corazon," by Asere and the track "El Chacal" by the band Jose Conde y Ola Fresca.
Now, I hope you're ready to boogie...ok, maybe that's not the right terminology. Instead, I hope you're ready to groove because in hour two, we're going to groove to a whole bunch of different types of dance music. I'll just leave it at that. And with that, away we go. So what do you get when you mix traditional Arabic roots music with modern electronic beats? You get a style called Arabesque. This style started in the 1990s and this blending took the many parts of the globe by storm, filling up dance clubs from Marrakesh to London and New York. Off a Rough Guide CD, as in Rough Guide to Arabesque, here is the song "Fantasy" by the band Oojami, which is band that became famous for doing belly dancing breakbeats.
And you want to talk about global? In this first chunk of music for hour two, we'll certainly travel around the globe. Remember, we'll start out with some electronic Arabian beats but mixed in will be some French-Caribbean music out of Martinique and we'll end with some Brazilian Timbalada music. All danceable depending on what floats your boat. That French Caribbean music will be the band Wapa Sakitanou. And as for that Timbalada music, that was the song "Beija-Flor" by Ze Raimundo.
Alright it wouldn't be a dance party without some Latin music right? And what could be better than some Boogaloo music? Kicking off a Latin set will be the Brooklyn Funk Essentials with the song "Big Apple Boogaloo," followed by the song "Electric Boogaloo" done by the band Yerba Buena. And in case you need more convincing to shake it off, my friend Michael Franti will come and find you to help you shake it off. Off his CD called The Sound of Sunshine, we'll hear the song "Shake it Off." Also in there too will be the song "Cumbia Del Caribe" or Cumbia of the Caribbean by the Colombian band Fruko y sus Tesos.
The great thing about dance music is that it makes the time go that much faster--wait, I don't want that to happen...maybe I should slow it down a bit. Ok, here's a style that's just a tad slower. And here's something unique and danceable. We'll check out some Swing Music, but it's swing music done with a global perspective. From Zimbabwe we'll groove to The Cool Crooners of Bulawayo, (Bulawayo is the second largest city of Zimbabwe). This band features members who were around when Glen Miller and Louie Armstrong were shaping the sound of Swing. In fact, during the 1950s, some of the Crooners members danced to a style called Marabi, which was a popular style created in the poorer towns of South Africa. I'll play their song "I Van Enkulu" or The Big Van, which tells the story of early years of Zimbabwe's fight for independence from British rule by gathering in unlicensed beer halls to talk politics and plan acts of resistance.
What could go with global Swing music? We'll how about global Salsa music? Great pairing! From the Italian band Havana Mambo, we'll hear the song "Malanina." And yes, I said Italian band-these guys are made of both Cuban immigrants and Italian musicians. Also in there too was more Swing music. We check out the song "Mamma Mi Piace il Ritmo" by the Italian swing band Renzo Arbore and the Swing Maniacs. And if that weren't enough, we'll also hear the song "Maria Nica Swing," by the musician Triton, who is from Mauritius, which is a small island country located in the Indian Ocean off the Eastern Coast of Africa.
Alright, so we've had some global swing and salsa music, some Arabic electronic dance music and some Latin party music. How about we have a style that I can dance to and not look too silly doing? Here's some Ska music from the English Beat, this is the song "Rough Rider," and if you need a tip on how to do dance to this, just slightly swing your body and your arms from side to side...see? In fact, if you look around my Facebook page (The World Music Show on WCVE), you'll see a clip of me demonstrating this fine dance.
So, I thought since we started the show with some electronic dance music that we'd end it with some sort of trance-like music. One of my favorites of this style is by the British band Morcheeba with their song "Shoulder Holster," and I really, really love that song..in fact, I'll have the speakers turned up to 11 in the studio. But as for dancing, well to dance to this takes no skill at all--just bop around to the beats. Think of if like you're at a Grateful Dead concert in one of those spinning circles...and yes, I've partaken in that, so don't judge me.
After all this great music on this week's World Music Show, I'm sure you'll need a rest. The show airs every Saturday night from 8:00 -10:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE and can be streamed on this website. Plus, you can get social and local World Music updates on both Facebook (The World Music Show on WCVE) and Twitter (@wcveworldmusic).