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Men of Meaning

Don't worry. This week's World Music Show (4/26) won't be entirely dominated by men. But in looking over this week's playist, I noticed that the male voice does take prominence this week (which means in the coming weeks, I'll have to reverse this particular menu--it's only fair). The good thing is that the "Men of Meaning," as the title refers to, come from an array of locales and all have unique and distinct sounds.

Starting off the first hour of the show will be a few more tracks from the trio of men known as Bossacucanova. This Brazilian group have a new CD out called "Our Kind of Bossa," and since I happen to really enjoy this group, I've been plodding threw two tracks every couple of weeks. This means we're only on cuts three and four. The group is known for taking and/or creating classic Brazilian tracks while adding their own special electronic "umph" to them. Plus, they love working with various other musicians and singers, including Cris Delano and Elza Soares, who appear on said tracks.

Following them will be the man pictured above--Seu Jorge. Jorge is also from Brazil. He was raised in a favela, north of Rio de Janeiro. When he was 19, he became homeless and remained homeless for three years--however, his musical talent flourished when he was living in the streets and he became well-known in the "favelas." Now, he is considered by many as a renewer of Brazilian pop samba. Jorge cites samba schools and Stevie Wonder as major musical influences. Besides appearing in the movie "The Life Aquatic,"  in which he sang nothing but David Bowie covers in Portuguese, Jorge is also known for his role as Knockout Ned in the 2002 film "City of God." We'll hear him cover the Bowie songs "Rebel Rebel" and "Queen Bitch."

Keeping that Latin vibe going a little longer (becuase there is such a weatlh of great music) we'll hear a unique German DJ who lives in Chile and who likes to redo 80s New Wave pop songs. In this case, Senor Coconut will be doing a fun cover of The Eurythmics song "Sweet Dreams." Paired with him in this chunk of music will be the Richmond Fado band Fado Nosso, which features some beautiful guitar playing by Leah Kruszewski and singing by Bernadette Stephens; as well as some cool bass lines by Brian Cruse and violin by Melissa Sunderland Jones. They often play around town as a group or as pairs or even individually--which means you should check them out in some form or another when you get the chance. Also featured in this set will be fun cover of the Desi Arnaz (aka Ricky Ricardo) song "El Cumbanchero," by Cecia Noel.

Serge GainsbourgNext up in the theme of "Men of Meaning," we'll tackle the racontour that is Serge Gainsbourg. Known as an artist who delved into all areas, including film, books and of course music, Gainsbourg was also known for his not-so private life. He frequently pushed the boundaries of culture and taste by openly dating a bevy of famous women, such as Brigtte Bardot and Jane Birkin; and was a known womenizer. Often times he helped produced songs sung by French teenage girls (like France Gall) that had double meanings. Rergardless of those assertions, Gainsbourg was--and is--regarded as one of the most important figures in French pop music. We'll hear a couple of songs from his LP (in CD form), called "Comic Strip." In one of the songs, "Comic Strip," he's paired with Bardot. Also in this set of French music, we'll hear famed cartoonist R. Crumb as he plays the mandolin in the band Les Primitifs du Futur. And we'll hear two more French tunes from the bands Fous de la Mer and the Portland, Oregon band Pink Martini.

Closing out this first hour, will be a voice in the world of Afrobeat--Seun Kuti, who carries on the tradition of creating powerful, political and amazing high-tempo songs just like his father, Fela Kuti, did. We'll hear a song from his CD "Africa with Fury: Rise," which was produced by the legendary Brian Eno (whose worked with David Bowie, Iggy Pop and David Byrne, among others).

For the second hour, we'll continue this trek through "Men of Meaning," by hearing from a couple of powerful as well as spiritual musicians, who are Michael Franti (an avid yoga practioner) and Ziggy Marley, who, like Franti is also known for being both political as well as spiritual.

Other highlights in this hour will be tracks from Habib Koite, Adama Yalomba, Amar Sundy, and well as some Ska classic from Dave and Ansell Collins--who are a precursor to some future, Ska-revival music that will appear in the last chunk of music. And speaking of that last set, we'll hear some movie music (I guess to balance out that set from "The Life Aquatic) from the film "Grosse Pointe Blank." The film, which starred John Cusack and Mini Driver, was an ok feature, but the soundtrack was great. We'll hear The Clash covering the song "Rudie Can't Fail," and The Specials covering "Pressure Drop." And speaking of cover, we'll hear two more covers that have Angelique Kidjo covering Jimi Hendrix, and the French band Les Go, covering Hall and Oates.

So, you see, after both hours even though there is a heavy mix featuring "Men of Meaning," there are pockets of some very powerful songs by some "Women of Meaning." Perhaps I should have split the show in half, with hour one dedicated to the men, and hour two to the women--maybe that's a future show.

The World Music Show appears each Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9FM WCVE FM or online via this website. Get show show updates via Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.