Sure, April First—April Fool’s Day, happens to be one of my favorite days of the year—you can guess that I’m quite the prankster. However, on this week’s World Music Show (4/1), the tracks we’ll hear will be no joke, in terms of world beat sounds that will make you happy to be alive (or, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch). However, because of stern upbringing in a family full of jokesters, you can expect the usual, albeit poorly executed attempts at some humor.
But, thankfully, they’ll be none of those comedic attempts in the first hour, since we’ll be hearing the live recording of when the Nile Project came into the studios of WCVE-TV. This performance will take up the first hour.
This 12-piece ensemble from 11 Nile countries performed songs about the conservation efforts taking place in that region which features the longest river in the world. It was a fun night that included a jam session at the end with members of the audience (but sadly, we didn’t record that). The event took place last week at the headquarters of WCVE, which if you don’t know, also include two large television studios—the largest on the East Coast.
Before the performance, I spoke with the group’s founder, Mina Girgis. The project started a few years ago to promote new ideas and collaborations among countries that are vastly different from one another politically and culturally. Musicians from Egypt, Eritrea, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are all part of the group. Now the Nile Project tours across the globe, sharing a message of culture and sustainability, particularly with water.
We want to thank the Modlin Center for partnering with us on this—hopefully, this will be the start of more great shows like that. You can get more information and see some pictures of the event on my Facebook page at The World Music Show on WCVE.
As for the second hour, needless to say I’ve got some great music lined up for you tonight, including a brand new track from Monica Da Silva, of Complicated Animals fame, who is apparently in cahoots with the BBC—more on that in a moment.
But first, we’re going to head to the Tropical Discotheque to up the tempo a bit. Its a style called Sofrito, which mixes African, Caribbean and South American beats all together. It was born in the clubs of East London by folks who had a passion for this style. Off a compilation of Sofrito music, we’ll check out the song “Je Ne Bois Pas Beaucoup,” by the band Les Ya Toupas du Zaire, who are from Congo. It came out in the late 1970s. Also off that Sofrito Tropical Discotheque CD, we’ll hear the song “Maye Obi Den,” by Kyerematen Stars, who are from Ghana. You can say this track was pure Highlife music, which is a version of danceable Afro-beat music in a way, but that was born in Ghana in the 70s.
Here’s an update for you about some success from our good friends who make up Complicated Animals—the Indie-Neo, Brazilian duo made up of Monica Da Silva and Chad Alger. They just released a new song last night called “Soldado de Amor” and Monica tells me that this track is going to be featured in a new BBC series called The Replacement, produced by Left Bank Pictures, the same company that did The Crown. It's just been released in the UK, and will be here in the States on Netflix soon. It’s so good to have connections. I hope you enjoy “Soldado de Amor” as much as I did when I previewed it.
Then from the airwaves of the BBC, we’ll travel to the outer edges of the magical non-existent region of Bongolia to hear the song “Human Happiness” by the band Superhuman Happiness. This is off a great compilation CD that Marlysse Simmons of Bio Ritmo and Miramar fame gave me when she and Rei Alvarez, also of those two bands, came by the studio to record my on-again-off-again segment called “A Different Spin.”
Off another CD given to me by Marlysse, we’ll check out the song song “La Plata” by the Salsa band Chicha Libre. Then, to keep the compilations going, we’ll hear a track off of one called Onda Sonora, which is a Red Hot + Lisbon release, which is called “Lura” by Nha Vida.
So, playing Monica Da Silva and hearing the live music from the Nile Project in hour one, makes me reminisce about last year’s BirthdayBash. Remember we had local band Afro-Zen Allstars headlining? Well, they have a new CD out called Greatest Hits. Off of that, we’ll hear the song “Alemye.”
After this set we’ll all become the Kings of Bongo—which just means that off a CD called exactly that by the French band Mano Negro, we’ll hear the title track. Also in that set, we’ll hear two classic Nigerian Afro-Funk tracks. The first one will be the song “Ire Africa” by Chief Checker and we’ll hear the song “Onyame” by Ashanti Afrika Jah. Closing out the show will be the song “Mana,” by the band Zuco 103.
Jokes aside, I hope you can tune into this week’s World Music Show Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE, since it’ll be a great show filled with wonder or with gumption or with great tunes—take your pick. Follow the show’s fun updates via Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.