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Love: World Music Style

Is this love? What is love? Is love all you need? These questions plus many more may be answered on this week's World Music Show (2/8). I say "may" be answered becuase since love is a unviversal thing, an ambigous thing, and a fleeting thing, then I'm not sure if we'll be able to answer any or even some of those questions. However, since this is a music program, these thoughts can be addressed musically. In addition to those musings, we'll also be looking at love in this way: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Sound appropriate for the upcoming special day? Good, then let's get busy.

Injecting the first of the "The Good," for this first hour will be the epitome of love songs, done with a whole bunch of love. We'll hear a cover of the Beatles "All You Need is Love," done here by the Playing for Change organization. PFC is known for doing a world of good by traveling the globe to record musicians live, then they splice and dice these dozen or so musicians together making very unique songs. In their travels they raise awareness and money to get music into schools. Check out more of what they do by clicking on that PFC link. Following that world-class opener, we'll hear two more covers, this time of two Bob Marley songs. Off a Putumayo tribute CD called Tribute to a Reggae Legend, we'll hear the Hawaiian band Three Plus doing the song "Is This Love," and the Canadian singer Caracol singing "Could You Be Loved."

CeuContinuing with "The Good," which in fact will be covered in most of the first hour, will be a couple of songs from the now defunct trio who were called Mosquitos. They were a Brazilian/New York trio who crafted really sweet, groove-inspiring pop songs. But don't be sad about their being defunct, as two of the trio are actually husband and wife--they left the band to start their own band called Undersea Poem (I guess you could feel bad for the third wheel of that band, but I'm sure he's doing ok). Off their CD Sunshine Barato we'll check out the songs "Love Remix" and the title track "Sunshine Barato." Also in this set will be some Brazilian love songs from the beautiful singer Ceu, who in one song shows us her sense of humor (the song is translates to "Baloney."). And tagged on at the end of this set will be a song from the Spanish singer Bebe, who sings a song called "I Will Always Stay."

For another chunk of the lovefest in hour one, we'll hear from an area of the globe that knows a thing or two about love--Italy. We'll dive back to the 1950s to hear from the quartet Quartetto Cetra, who sing a song called "A Kiss at Midnight." And we'll also hear from Vinicio Capossela, who has been compared to America's Tom Waits, due to his raspy voice and quirky creativity. On his song "Che Cosse L'Amour," or "What is Love," he deals with the meaning of love. Like a jelly to peanut butter or cheese to the macaroni, I decided to pair two Italian love songs with two French songs--I know, brillant right? Ok, it really was a no brainer. In any event, we'll take the way back machine to circa 1960s to hear a song by France Gall as well as one by Charlotte Leslie--both of which are about love.

To close out hour one, the mood will change from "The Good," to, well, perhaps "The Bad," or maybe "The Ugly." On second thought, maybe I should have included a "Cheesy" portion in tonight's love show. Because isn't love sometimes cheesy? I'm not talking about playing songs such as "Skyrockets in Flight," or "Do You Like Pina Coladas?" (thankfully!). No, what I mean is that sometimes we as humans have a cheesy side when it comes to love, or we even sometimes don't know when we're being cheesy, right? Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Here's my atttempt at explaining this reference, musically speaking. We'll hear the song "Mr. Loverman," from Shabba Ranks (becuase sometimes when we're courting people, aren't we a tad boastful?); and we'll hear a great cover of Simon and Garfunkel's song "Cecilia," which was about a um, fickle lover--Jesse Cook will be covering that song, done Rhumba style, by the way. Let me know what you think after you listen.

For the second half of this week's show, all bets are off, as we'll delve into "The Bad" and "The Ugly," side of love (but don't be scared, as it's only music). To ease you into the hour, we'll hear two versions of Caetano Veloso's song "Baby," done here by Alice Smith and Aloe Blacc (who I understand was actually in RVA this weekend) and another version done by the Latin band Os Mutantes. I picked this song, becuase to me, sometimes hearing the name "Baby," can either be sweet or it can be annoying--as in whiny or as in pleading. Take your pick, although in this song, I think Veloso intended it to be the sweet version. Also wedged into this first chunk of music will be a song that features three stellar acts: Forro in the Dark, Brazilian Girls and Angelique Kidjo.

And now for the "The Bad," side of love--ok, really, maybe this should again be referred to the "Cheesy" side, as in this week's show, I'm not playing anything that is truly "Bad." Nope, you won't hear any dark or degrading songs on the show. But doesn't the subhead of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" sound so much better? Anyways, here's the next phase. We'll hear the song "In the Back of the Car," by Denmark's Emo (see, cheesy or bad, right?); and we'll hear the song "L.I.N.N." by the husband and wife team Linn & Freddie (to me what could be cheesier but a song written for your loved one and sung together?). Then we'll move to a couple of covers that are perhaps more fun love songs. We'll hear the German duo Mo' Horizons covering the Ray Charles song "Hit the Road Jack," and the French band Les Go, doing the Hall and Oates song "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." Perhaps you're expecting to hear a rim shot after reading those two selections? Or one of sounds that goes "wa-wa." Cheesy, right?

Zee AviIn another set we'll delve into the madness and obession of love by hearing two songs from the lovely Malyasian singer and ukelele player Zee Avi, who sings the songs "Madness" and "Concrete Wall," both deal with another side of love (perhaps this is The Ugly?). This section will end with a great remixed version of the Michael Franti and Spearhead song "Stay Human" becuase that's always a good reminder when you're dealing with love, right?

To close out this World Music Love show will be Seu Jorge's cover of David Bowie's song "Queen Bitch," and two songs by David Byrne. One, "The One Who Broke Your Heart," features the musician St. Vincent and the other, "Girls on my Mind," is off Byrne's CD "Uh Oh."

Whether you're in love, in-between love or someplace else with love, I hope you really love this week's World Music Show (ok, cue that rimshot for that bad pun). The World Music Show can be heard Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9FM WCVE or online at this website. You can also follow the show on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.