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Stars and their Sitars

On last week’s World Music Show we looked back at some of the originators of World Music from the 1950s & 60s. This week (October 8th), we’re taking a similar vein in looking back. But let’s start with a question. Do you remember when you first heard The Beatles song “Norwegian Wood?” I do. I was very young of course and into playing my older brother’s records (eventually I’d get my own) and I remember putting on “Rubber Soul” and really liking that sound that I knew wasn’t a guitar, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Turns out, it was a sitar. To hear George Harrison play it was fascinating. I loved the pitch and sound that the sitar made and loved that he also played it on the song “Within You Without You.” But, since I was young and didn’t know how to venture beyond the Rock & Roll section of my local Licorice Pizza (a really cool record store when I grew up), I didn’t know that there was even something called “World Music.”

But of course, now that I’m grown and the host of The World Music Show, I know all about sitars and other instruments and music, too. So besides George Harrison playing on a couple of tracks--and those two songs by the way are different outtakes of the originals--I’ll play a couple of other Indian instruments, like the Indian Slide Guitar. There is a great musician, Debashish Bhattacharya, who is an amazing guitarist. Not only is he a talented slide guitar player, but he invented his own slide-guitars, too. He made them unique to his compositions. He calls them the “Trinity of Guitars.” These hollow neck instruments are the 24-string chaturangui, the 14 string gandharvi and the anandi, a 4-string lap steel ukulele. Besides him and Harrison, be sure to listen for a few other tracks throughout the two hour show that will feature Indian guitars.

Some other highlights of this week's show include tracks from Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, off one of their early albums called “Jahmekya.” You’ll hear some tunes written by his brother Stephen and David Marley. And, I’ll play a groovy track from the now defunct Japanese pop band Pizzicato Five which if I’m not mistaken has a sitar on it. Their sound was like a swinging 60’s film with updated 90’s electronics.

And you don’t want to miss a pumped up, remixed version of a couple of Talking Heads songs off a remix CD called “12 x 12 Original Remixes.” I love it when bands used to rerelease songs in a remixed version. Plus, we’ll go Gobal a Go-Go with the late Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros. I’ll play a song called “Bhindi Bhagee.” Also, if time permits, I’ll even sneak in a tune from Bjork, who is always fun to hear from (she has a new CD out called Biophilia, which I hope to get soon and play on the show), and a track from the legendary LA band Los Lobos.

So, what do you think? Is this week’s show worth tuning in to? You bet! Listen and then let me know below what you thought. The World Music Show aires Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio. You can follow me on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.

Also, I would like to offer a special thanks to those who became members of WCVE Public Radio during our recent Fall Membership campaign.