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The King of Bongo

Just who is the King of Bongo? I know it's a question that's been tormenting listeners throughout the ages. It's been gnawing on their sub conscious like an earwig--ok, that's going too far, right? Well, on this week's World Music Show (10/19) we'll put some good sounds into your ears, try to comprehend what French Salsa music sounds like, and check out a song from the End of the Word (sadly, it's not a reference to The Walking Dead). And, of course, we'll answer that 25-cent question about just who is the King of Bongo.

But where to start? First, let's get that image of the earwig out of your mind and replace it with the thought of dancing to a Fatal Mambo. Wait, is that any better than the earwig image? Let me explain. Fatal Mambo is a French Salsa band. And though that sounds like a contradiction, it's not a far stretch, especially when you think of music as global. This band, who hail from just outside of Southern France, play a mix of Samba, Salsa, Mambo, Cumbia and son with sort of French swing/jazz vibe. And to confuse things more, you'll hear a cover of a 70's song that you may recognize. If you listen and recognize it, just tweet me the answer (@wcveworldmusic) during the show.

Also in that first set of music will be some New World Flamenco music from Tierra Negra & Muriel Anderson, plus a really sweet cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song "Cecilia" done Rhumba style by Jesse Cook. And, if that weren't enough Latin beats, you'll also hear guitarist extraordinaire Marc Ribot with a track from his CD "Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos." 

To piggy-back on that last chunk of music--becuase it was just so good, we'll continue with the Cuban sound, but go classic with the help of Ibrahim Ferrer, who was part of the mega-super-band-juggernaut Buena Vista Social Club. The piggy-backing ends there, but the similarity of a mega-band like BVSC continues with a track from the band Orchestra Baobab, who were once the house band of the hotel Baobab in Dakar (just like BVSC was a houseband). Plus, we'll check out what Super Guitar Soukous music sounds like (think Hi-life, Dance music from Nigeria) and listen to a couple of other Hi-life songs from Ghana, by The Mercury Dance Band and by The Cutlass Dance Band (so get your dancing shoes on!)

But, if you're following the bouncing ball of this blog, then you may be asking me--just who is the King of Bongo? You haven't answered it yet! Well, it's coming. However, I need to tell you that to close out the first hour, we'll hear what Dutch Pop and Dutch World Music sounds like (remarkably, it sounds like um, music!). We'll hear from the Nits and from the band Rabasa. And, since earlier in the program we heard a cover of a Simon & Garfunkel song, I wanted to play a couple of cuts from Paul Simon's last CD, called "So Beautiful or So What," which is a great CD. 

For the second hour, we'll get even closer to answering this week's riddle, but first, we'll hear just what Rhythms Del Mundo is. Translation: Rhythms of the World. But it's more than that, it's also an organization similar to Playing for Change, in which they do good things through music. Namely, they get great bands together, mix up some great sounds (such as Cuban or African) and donate the money to thier Music Rising Foundation, which helps third world countries struck by natural and other disasters. Click on the link to read more. From two of their releases (Cuba and Africa), we'll hear the band Coldplay (doing two different songs in two different styles), the Arctic Monkeys and Rokia Traore

Finally, we've reached the answer to the question "Who is the King of Bongo?" Well, of course it's the name of a CD by the defunct French band Mano Negra. This band, which didn't last long--they broke up in 1995, mixed Ska, World Beat, Punk and Rock. I'll play the title song, "King of Bongo."

But just becuase this riddle has now been answered, it doesn't mean you should turn off the radio. There's still a few good chunks of music to be heard, namely tracks from: Jorge Ben, Cornershop, Carsick Cars, Yoav, Matsuki Ayumu, and We Are Enfant Terrible. Plus, for some strange reason, cuts from T-Bone Burnett (who laments about the End of the World), and Thomas Dolby end up in these these sets. Those two songs alone are worth price of admission. Thanks for playing along this week. 

The World Music Show aires every Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. on Richmond’s Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE or online via this site. You can follow tidbits of information and fun via Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.