Because it's back to school time for many children, it reminded me of the times I was in school and we had to write about our Summer vacation. Since there is no World Music Show this week (due to a special broadcast of the Proms), I thought I'd dole out some recommendations as to what local-World Music bands to listen to, places to see such bands and other online areas to check out World Music. Now, I know this week's missive isn't technically a recap of my summer vacation (Because who'd like to read about that?) but I liked the title and thought so much, that I hope you bear with me.
First up--a band that you should always try to see whenever they make it back to town, Bio Ritmo. Bio Ritmo is a "Salsa Machine" of music. They've been making electrified salsa music in Richmond since 1991. The name Bio Ritmo is a Spanglish word play on the term Biorhythm, the hypothetical description for the rhythm of life. The seven-member band have produced several albums over the years and are about to release a new one called "Picaresca," this Fall. To break down their sound, think of a fusion of traditional African, Latino and Caribbean rhythms and melodies with American Jazz sensibilities. Their shows are high-energy and full of fun. Some of the places they've been known to play include The Camel or at Balliceaux--both of which are intimate locales perfect for high energy music like the kind Bio Ritmo provides.
Another groovy, local World Music Band to check out is Rattlemouth. Like Bio Ritmo, this 5-piece-band packs a lot of punch into their musics and shows. Their sound is a mix of Ethio-Jazz and World Groove. On deck is saxophone player Danny Finney, the monster rhythm section of Robbie Kinter (drums) and Wayne O'Bryan (bass), the guitar of George M. Lowe, and the cello playing of Constance Sisk. They blaze through spirited instrumental updates of classics from around the world (Mali, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Cuba, Jamaica, Lebanon, etc.), plus similarly flavored originals, inspiring audiences to equally spirited dancing. You can usually find them over in Westover Hills are at Crossroads Cafe.
If want to keep the vibe Latin, but bring the groove down a bit, then be sure to check out local favorties, Quatro Na Bossa. The band comprises of Kevin Harding and Laura Ann Singh, who formed Quatro na Bossa in 2003. Drawing initially from early Brazilian bossa nova composers and performers, Quatro na Bossa's repertoire has expanded to include familiar classics, rare or forgotten pieces, and some original material. Quatro has performed at several music festivals around the country, and has been a guest artist at several universities. Quatro na Bossa also has Rusty Farmer on bass and Andy Brockman. They play all over town, including stints at The Camel.
Speaking of mellow grooves, you'll want to check out Leah Kruszewski. She is a classical and flamenco guitarist, who--thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, is currently in Seville, Spain. She performs as a soloist and in the ensembles Sueños Gitanos (flamenco-inspired music), and in Fado Nosso (Portuguese Fado music), and the Richmond Guitar Quartet (classical guitar).
Other bands or musicians to check out locally, include: Kevin Davis and Ban Caribe, and The Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra
Some great websites or apps to checkout new World Music, though, not locally, include: NPR Music, KCRW (a local NPR-affiliate in Los Angeles), and the World Cafe and alt.Latino, both of which are on NPR's website.
Hope you enjoyed this peek into some local World Music--if you know more, please let me know. The World Music Show is heard Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio, 88.9FM or online via this website. Follow the show on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.