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'Tis the Season--to Mellow Out

Ok, I'll admit it. It's halfway through December and I'm already burned out. Perhaps that's a normal thing this time of year, right? In any event, becuase of this rush of things to do, see, touch, feel, experience, etc., I decided that it's time to mellow out--at least for a couple of hours. So, on this week's World Music Show (12/14), we'll keep the tempo at an even keel. And though most of the show will follow this mantra, there will be spots of sound that will ensue a bit of glee and foot tapping.

But, back to the mellowness. We'll start off with a good chunk of acoustic goodness from the African continent. First from Madagascar, we'll hear from Rajery, who lost most of his right hand to a strange illness that he believes was a result of black magic. Despite that handicap, Rajery has been able to coax magic out of a stringed instrument called a Valiha, which is a tube-shaped bamboo harp with strings made of bicycle brake cables (check out the link above). On this instrument, which generally requires the fingers of both hands to pluck th strings, Rajery defied the odds to create a unique style that has made him one of Madagascar's most popular artists. Also in this set will be tracks from South Africa musicians Vusi Mahlasela (who recently played a show at the Modlin Center for the Arts last month) and Nibs van der Spuy, whose influences include British folk music as well as classical Celtic music. Plus, we'll hear some guitar music from Zimbabwe by Oliver Mtukudzi.

And since this blog has a theme about mellowing out over the pressures of the holiday season, I'm going to keep this brief, by just going over some of the highlights for this week. 

In the first hour, you'll want to keep track of another set of African music, which includes tracks from South Africa (as well as some great guitar music), some sounds from the streets of Soweto and some Hilife music from Ghana. Also mixed into this hour will be some acoustic music from Israel, the Dominican Republican and Columbia. Plus, we'll hear a couple of groovy "Bollywood" tracks from India by Ursuala 1000 and Fun da Mental

For the second hour we'll move the tempo needle up a bit to hear some Tropical Discotheque music (also called Sofrito), which blasts the sounds of African, Caribbean and South American beats. However, the twist is that these sounds didn't come from those locales, but instead came from the clubs and raves of South London. Mixed in here too will be a track from the East Los Angeles band Los Lobos (because it's always good to hear from them!)

Then, turning the volume down a bit, we'll move from there to Jamaica to hear some reggae beats from Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. And, keeping that same vibe going, we'll hear from the UK band UB40, too. That volume gets turned up again when we hear a couple of tunes from Oakland, Ca native Michael Franti and his band Spearheard

To close out the show, we'll a mixed up set that features the Indian duo Midival Punditz, the defunct Japanse pop band who loved to sing about food, Cibbo Matto; the UK band who loves to experiment with sound, Cornershop and another Japanese artist (who at one time was a child piano prodigy), Matsuki Ayumi. Then, we'll end it with some Brazilian Hip Hop music. All in all, a good way to both mellow out (and keep you entertained). 

The World Music Show aires Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. on 88.9FM on WCVE Richmond Public Radio or online via this site. Plus, you can follow updates on the show via Twitter, @wcveworldmusic