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The Scientists of Sound

If you're a knowledgeable music listener who remembers various lyrics and good writing, then you may recognize this week's headline. Coined (or in this case borrowed) from a song by the Beastie Boys, this week's World Music Show (9/14) will take that line of thought and actually perform a musical experiment of sorts--at least in the first hour. 

That's right, we're going to dissect a couple of songs--not lyrically or note-by-note. But we're going to experiment with variations of style and sound. Who's the lucky artist? Well, it's the man in the picture himself--Bob Marley. Now, you may think of this experiment as just playing cover songs. Hmm, that's one way of looking at it. And, if you follow this program on a regular basis, then you may know that I often love to play World Music versions of various pop and rock songs. However, in this week's show, we're going to take two songs by Marley--"Redemption Song," and "Concrete Jungle," and listen to three versions of each (including the original of course, which actually makes it two versions).

Luckily for your ears, I won't bombard you with both songs back-to-back-to-back-to-back, etc. Nope, I'll give your senses a rest and spread out the selections throughout the first hour, you know, so you can take some well-detailed notes in your Scientific journal. And as such, let's spread out exactly who you'll be hearing perform this experiments in this fine blog. 

First up, of course, we'll start off with the experiment by playing Marley's version of "Redemption Song," which is pulled off a must-have CD called "Legend." Then we'll transition from that into songs from these artists: Los Lobos, Latin Playboys (which are really members of Los Lobos), and the Cuban band Afrocubism (who were once part of the Buena Vista Social Club collective). 

Staring off the next chunk of music we'll hear version number two of "Redemption Song," but this one will be performed by the enclave known as Playing for Change. PFC, as their known, take well known songs (sure, these are cover songs) and have musicians from around the world play them--all at once, then through their fancy editing, the songs come out as a remarkable accomplishment. But there's more to PFC than just that, so click on the link to learn more. In this version, with the amazing help of technology, we'll actually get to hear Bob Marley, along with one of his sons, Stephen Marley (and about 12 other musicians from around the world) play this song. Think of it along the lines as what Natalie Cole did with one her father's songs. Also in this set will be tracks from the Columbian band Aterciopelados and the Brazilian singer BiD, as well an amazing display of Indian slide guitar by Debashish Bhattacharya

The last version of "Redemption Song" is one of my favorites--it's the one that Joe Strummer did acoustically. It's featured on the posthumous album "Streetcore." Since this chunk of music is the last set to close out the hour, the Scientific experiment of sound will have to go into overdrive. Which means that other song, "Concrete Jungle," will have to be played back-to-back-to-back. But it's ok, I know you can handle it. We'll of course start off with the orginal version, then move into a great Brazilian style done by the singer Ceu and cap it off with a more Ska version done by the Specials

After hour one, you'll have to email me your notes, so we can compare which version of the songs are the most popular. 

For the second half of the show, I'm afriad they'll be no more experiments--just good chunks of music to entertian you. Here's who you can look forward to hearing:

  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Michael Franti and Spearhead
  • Jimmy Cliff
  • the desert band Entran Finatawa
  • Ali Farka Toure
  • Manu Dibango
  • Midival Punditz

I'll end the hour by having a mini-tribute to the band Cornershop (including a rare cover they did of the Beatles Norwegian Wood sung in Hindi). So, after this week's show, will you be able to consider yourself a Scientist of Sound? Well, perhaps--but sadly, I have no diplomas to hand out. The World Music Show aires Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. (new time!) at 88.9FM or online at this website. You can also follow my banter on Twitter @wcveworldmusic.

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