I think Tracy Chapman said it best when she sang ‘Talkin’ bout a Revolution.’ In this statement, which is both simple in context while at the same time powerful, it reminds me how in the world of world music, there are a slew of songs in this vein.
So on this week’s World Music Show (4/21) we’ll tackle this subject—using a few world music genres such as Afrobeat, Latin Rock and Reggae. But they’ll also be a few surprises along the way as well.
And speaking of that Chapman song, we’ll actually kick off the show by playing a cover of that song done by Playing for Change—the organization that takes musicians from around the globe, records songs such as Chapman’s (though, they cover a whole swath of musicians), then edits them down into a beautifully finished number. Also from PFC, we’ll hear their version of the Peter Gabriel song “Biko,” which was about the life and death of Apartheid protester Steven Biko.
From the amazing Ecuadorian/New Yorker Eljuri, we’ll check out two powerful tracks from her La Lucha CD. In the song “Bang Bang” Eljuri says: “This is a song against gun violence. We have witnessed atrocities and I'm asking how many more souls must be offered up to this indignity. At the end of the song, I rap different cities across the globe that have been affected and cry out for an end to violence against those protesting without weapons other than their voice. Unfortunately since the recording of my song, I can add more cities like Las Vegas, Orlando, Parkland . . . “
And, we’ll also hear her song called “Injusticia.” For this song, she says her concept “is that it's time to stand up, speak out and STOP Injustice so we can rise up to live life filled with joy, freedom and equality. Musically, the song is arranged with a climax of a choir of voices chanting "es tiempo de parar la Injusticia" ("it's time to STOP injustice).”
Eljuri has been a regular presence at many a protest rallies lately.
Switching to Reggae, we’ll hear a few songs about injustice from some legends, such as (of course) Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers.
In the realm of Afrobeat, we’ll have a trifecta of songs from all things Kuti, as in Fela, Seun and Femi. The style of Afrobeat is no stranger to protest songs or songs about the struggles in life.
Lastly, we’ll also hear some unusual political commentaries put to music, namely from David Byrne, who’s song “Miss America,” is a unique commentary; and then from Talking Heads, who’s track “Democratic Circus” seems fitting for any time on the political calendar.
Besides all the political, protest and songs about injustice, we’ll hear a few other cover songs. One from Karsh Kale, who covers “Spirits in the Material World,” and Midival Punditz, who do Led Zeppelin’s “Four Sticks.”
Rounding the show, but by no means the least important, will be some new music from Brazilian Girls, Juana Molina and the Indian artis Kiran Ahluwalia. Plus, we’ll have a nice nod to the late musician Janka Nabay, who perfected a style of music from Sierra Leone called “Bubu.”
The World Music Show airs Saturdays from 8-10pm the Community Idea Stations (88.9FM, 93.1 & 107.3) and can be streamed via this site. Also on this site you can get track listings to the current show and past shows too. Be sure to follow the show on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.