For the new year I thought I’d start this week’s World Music Show (1/7) off right by playing a bunch of new music. But then I remembered that it’s only been a week into the new year, so there’s nothing new to choose from. However, due to the enormous bounty that was in last year’s crop of new music, I will have some leftover goodness that will seep into this week’s show.
All that, however, will be saved for hour two of the show. Because in hour one, I was able to get a special guest into the studio to talk about a very interesting and rewarding project.
Local Richmond native Alex Paullin started an organization called Conservation Music back in 2015 as a way to combine two of passions: music and conservation.
Conservation Music is a multinational collective of musicians, photographers, filmmakers, and conservationists who believe in the power of music to spur positive change. They bring together old and new technology, as well as sounds from local musicians and traditional instruments, to create music and imagery in hopes that they can educate villagers and government officials to learn how to better serve the land in which they depend upon.
The project has it’s roots in the village of Seronga, Botswana. It was here, as an intern for National Geographic, Alex became part of the Okavango Wilderness Project. Three of the “polers,” which are guides who push boats across the vast Delta, allowed him to pitch up a tent on their plot in the village. Another local expedition poler, Thopo “Tom” Ritio, took Alex out into the woodlands to gather supplies to create the traditional ba’Yei instrument, the sigorogoro, and they proceeded to spend a few days recording traditional songs together.
”By using the musical medium, the lessons of environmental stewardship are spoken to the heart and the mind simultaneously,” says Alex. “A positive tone, easy, memorable melodies, and a rhythm to dance to make this method of collective communication especially powerful. On top of this, it gives further cause to take the time to listen to realities that are often difficult to hear.”
We had a very interesting conversation about what he and his organization does—plus, Alex brought along several tracks of music he recorded and played on while on his travels last year. In our conversation, we talk about the unique instruments as well as meanings behind the songs. Also, this Monday, January 9th, Alex—who was also in a band called Philosophunk—are putting on a benefit concert at the Camel in downtown Richmond. They’ll be other bands there, as well as some special local RVA musicians.
For the second hour of the show, we’ll have a relapse. That’s right, we’ll delve back into last year’s pie of gooey sounds for your ears to hear from bands such as Los Super Seven, which is a great collective of musicians who use guest musicians such as David Hildago (Los Lobos, Latin Playboys), Caetano Veloso and Rick Trevino on their songs.
Also in the mix will some pumped up salsa beats (in fact the whole hour will be of a Latin/Funk/Salsa nature) from Zuco 103, Locos Por Juana and a classic Rock ‘N’ Roll number from Dr. Loco’s Rockin’ Jalapeño Band.
Digging deeper into the Latin alternative scene will be some cuts from the band Los Aguas Aguas, who do a nod to the TV Show Beverly Hills 90210, with a track called “91020.” And we’ll hear from the Colombian band Aterciopelados, the Mexican band Mana and from the Peruvian band Pacifika.
Rounding out the show will be some Jazz from the Pedrito Martinez Group, who do a song with singer Roman Diaz; a magnificent guitar-laden song the duo Rodrigo y Gabriela; and the title track to the Los Lobos album Good Morning Aztlan.
The World Music Show airs every Saturday night from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE. You can also stream the show via this web portal and you can be part of the conversation via Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.
Until next week…thanks for tagging along.