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A Simple Thing

On one level, music is a simple thing, right? We know what we like and often times we may not even pay attention to what's being played. Many times music is even background noise, simply sounds to absorb throughout the day.

But for this week's World Music Show (5/18), I want you to go to a deeper level. I want you to stop and listen to the sounds and beats that will blare out of whatever speakers you may be listening to. Give the music a chance, because chances are you may not have heard many of the songs being featured. Remember, many of these songs are from faraway places--or in some cases, right here in lovely RVA.

For instance, we'll start the show with a local musician named Dave Shiflett. He, along with a few friends, like Matt Boon, Jim Mohr, Giustino Riccio (who is also in Bio Ritmo), and Jonathan Greenberg (He's played with both the Temptations and the O'Jays) have been playing around town for a number of years. But even though he's local, the sounds on his new CD "A Simple Thing," are from all parts of the world. Shiflett, who has a very interesting background--he has been a reporter for Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal--also brought along another friend to this new CD. Her name is Buttafly Vazquez and her voice is powerful, rich and smooth all at the same time. A testament to Vazquez's voice is that she was offered a scholarship to Julliard when she was only 15 and she attended the famed Professional Performing Arts High School. Find out more about Dave and his friends by visiting his website, at: Dave Shiflett

Some other highlights of the first hour, that aren't so simple, include tracks from Columbia by the band Aterciopelados and from Brazil's Bid. And we'll hear a cool song from Ecudorian New Yorker Cecilia Villar Eljuri, who does a duet with former 4-Non-Blondes singer Johnette Napolitano.

We'll keep that Latin vibe going a little bit longer, too, by playing a song from band leader Chichi Peralta, who is from the Dominican Republic. Plus, you'll hear a couple of songs off a great atlernative Latin CD, called "Cafe con Musica," which a compilation CD from the record label Nacional. You'll hear Andrea Echeverri as well as the band Chau, whose name translates to "You Are Not Going to Like This." But, despite their dire warning, I know you will. Also featured in this chunk of music will be a song from the Latin Playboys (pictured), who feature members of the famed, long-running East L.A. band, Los Lobos.

To close out the hour, I'll attempt to play more music that is not so simple. I'll feature a couple of songs from the former Talking Heads frontman, David Byrne, when he put out a Latin dance CD called "Rei Momo." We'll hear his takes on these two styles of Latin dance music: Orisa and Mapeye). And we'll head to Brazil, to a place called Pernambuco in fact to hear more alternative music--this from the band Otto (who do a fun song called "Bob"), and we'll also hear from Brazilian Tom Ze, who is a very unique artist, sort of like Tom Waits. I'll end hour one with some Mento music (which is basically Dancehall and/or folk music from Jamaica) from the Jolly Boys--they'll do a great cover tune that won't want to miss.

For the second hour, I'll continue my weekly theme of "mini-tributes." This time, I'll highlight the long running, legendary band The Chieftains. They've been playing music together since the early 1960s, though lately, many of their albums feature collaborations--which is ok, it's just not solely "them." For instance, off thier latest CD "Voices of Ages," you'll hear them partnered with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Then, you'll hear them partnering with famed producer and musician Ry Cooder when they got together a few years ago to record the album "San Patricio." And, off thier CD "Tears of Stone," you'll hear them when they re-recorded the Joni Mitchell song "Magdalene Laundries," along with Joni herself. I'll also sneak in an Irish song into this set by Elvis Costello off his CD "Spike."

So, I've noticed that at this point, this week's blog has turned from "Simple" into "Complex." With that, and before I wrap it up, I'll add that you should stick around for the entire hour. That way, you'll be able to hear songs from Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale, along with the French band We Are Enfant Terrible, and the Britsh band Cornershop. Oh, and you'll hear Japanese avant garde artist Matsuki Ayumu. But how will the show end? Well, that's not so simple. I'll leave that as a surprise.

The World Music Show aires every Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio, 88.9FM or online via this website. You can also follow the show on Twitter @wcveworldmusic