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The Sound of Sound

Mr. Cryptic--that's what you can call me. The allure of the above headline is an invitation to you to read this missive dedicated to this week's World Music Show (10/27). In an effort to surprise and delight you, along with my good intentions to please your ears, I've concocted an array of sounds that will almost "span the globe" (to steal a snippet of phrase from the long ago voice over to "The Wide World of Sports).

So you may ask, "What's in it for me?"

Good question. The answer is arranged as follows:

Kicking off the first hour of the show, we'll hear an amazing track from the Broadway musical Fela! Word on the street is that this is an amazing show--one which should it come to Richmond, we should all try to see. This song will morph into a couple of Afrobeat selections culled from a nice two-disc CD of music recorded at a place in Paris called The Impala Lounge. So, to go from Fela, to Tony Allen (who was a partner of Fela's), to Mamou Sidibe is a great way to start Saturday's show.  

Moving onward, we'll hear from an Ethiopian transplant (who now reportedly lives in the beautiful city of San Francsico), Gigi. Amazing, soulful and stunning are just a few adjectives to describe her voice. On her self-titled CD, which came in the previous decade, she had some remarkable backing musicians, including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Pharoah Sanders. I'll follow her cuts with some finger-blistering Saharan guitar playing by a man simply known as Bombino. He's from Agedez, Niger and learned how to play some terrific guitar, despite some harsh conditions, like escaping his home country due to political strife and a ban on Tuarag and Western guitar playing. He's been compared to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and Ali Farka Toure

To change gears or countries or styles of music--really, all three examples work here, we'll hear some upbeat Brazilian music. In a nod to the band who opens each World Music Show, BossaCucaNova, we'll hear a couple of selections off their CD "Uma Batida Diferente." BossaCucaNova like to revisit and update classic Brazilian tunes, giving them some electronic umph! Included in this set will be tunes from Sergio Mendes, who is partnered with the multi-talented, and we'll hear from a Grand Rapids, MI born singer who moved to Brazil. Monica da Silva fits right into the Brazilian sound so well, that you'd have no idea she was born in the U.S.

To further this theme of "The Sound of Sound," hour two will surely stand as a the poster boy of the apt-named title. Headlining hour two will be a former classical pianist wunderkind from Japan named Matsuki Ayumu. He's grown from performing in packed auditoriums at the age of ten to being a homebody who dabbles in psychodelic sounds. And what sounds he produces, too! Following him in that first set of music will be another psychodelic band from Japan, Pizzicato Five and the Chinese rock band Carsick Cars

The rest of hour two will explore this week's headline further by featuring tracks from Nouvelle Vague (doing a nice cover of "Dance with Me"), Tom Ze and some Bombay Beats by Jasbir Jassi. For a mini-retro-throwback of sorts, we'll also hear tunes from Los Lobos, The English Beat, David Byrne and even one from Sting, who infuses a song off his first solo CD with some reggae undertones. 

So, to revisit the question "What's in it for me?" Answer: a two-hour exploration of sound--the sound of sound, my friend. Enjoy. The World Music Show aires Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on 88.9FM WCVE Public Radio and online via this website. You can follow my tweets via Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.