Well, here it is—the end of the road for 2017. Which means it’s time for the final Best of the Best for this week’s World Music Show (12/20). If you’ve been reading the blogs for the past month, then you’ll remember that we’ve been highlighting some of the best music that we were lucky enough to receive. And with that, I’m not going to delve into each band/or song too much, since you can go back and see all my notes from the past month.
But why top 14? Well, that’s all I had room for in the hour—simple as that. Needless to say that rest of the show this week will cover the Best of the Rest. And with that said, on with the show.
14: The Tanzania Albinism Collective/White African Power. This collection showcases some very powerful, and forgotten voices of people who have been persecuted merely for their skin condition. I was lucky enough to interview the producer of this project, Ian Brennen (who also did the moving Zomba Prison Project collections) and what he witnessed and recorded was just amazing. (White African Power/Six Degrees)
12: Vieux Farka Toure/Nature. Once again, VFT proves that not only is he a master of the guitar like his father, but a musician who doesn’t need to ride on his father’s coattails. His sweeping melodies and full sound will have you closing your eyes and swaying your body. (Samba/Six Degrees)
11: Afro-Zen Allstars/Beautiful. The only local RVA band to make my list this year (only because many others didn’t put out any new music that I’m aware of). They infuse their Afrobeat music with a freshness as well as a playfulness that is addictive. Their beats are tight. (Greatest Hits/Afro-Zen Allstars)
10: Juana Molina/A00-B01. This Argentinian musician is creative in a way that doesn’t make your shake your head, wondering what the heck she’s trying to do. Instead, her tracks pull you in and allow you to ponder what’s she doing—then before you know it, you’ve listened to the whole album. (Halo/Crammed Discs)
9: Monoplasma/No Mi Intimadas (live). This Latin duo rocks, and rolls and adds a bit of everything into their alternative music. I’m looking forward to more releases from these two. (1/De La Rosa Music)
8: Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas/Hot 2 Trot. Not only did Jessica release two versions of her album (one in English the other in Spanish) but she crafted a bunch of songs that are catchy, inventive and just plain fun to hear. (Telefono/Dead Owl Music)
7: La Misa Negra/Acrobata Nacional. This Cumbia band out of Oakland, Ca takes the already pumped-up style of Cumbia music and gives it an extra twist. This could be because of their love of Heavy Metal and Punk. But they add these elements not with a heavy hand, but a light touch. (La Misa Negra/NAM)
6: Nina Miranda/The Surfer. This Brazilian/British musician is more of an artist—in that her love of painting and graphic design ooze into her work, allowing her style to breath, expand and take-over each song. (Freedom of Movement/Nina Miranda)
5: Meklit/Supernova. If you want some soul/funk mixed with World Music beats, then look no further. Sometimes, when great voices add horns to their tunes, they tend to get drowned out or even overshadowed. Not Meklit—her voice is powerful enough to rise above Preservation Hall horns she brought in on many tracks. (When the People Move, the Music Moves Too/Six Degrees)
4: Ladama/Porro Maracatu. This female quartet of Latin musicians hail from all over South America and because of that, they’re able to fuse together all sorts of distinct styles. Their beats and songs are triumphant in that they pull you along instead of shoving their voices in your face. (Ladama/Six Degrees)
3: Forro in the Dark/Voce Nao E Insubstituivel. Sure, it took about eight years for them the release a new CD, but the wait was worth it. This band of Ex-Brazilian Pats tackle all sorts of styles, including Reggae/Ska and Afrobeat. Each track on their CD is unique and enjoyable. (Sandcastle/Nacional)
2: Alex Cuba/El Dia de Hoy. Between his effortless guitar playing and his smooth and lilting voice, Alex crafts some of the most beautiful and stirring songs in any genre. (Lo Unico Constante/Caracol Records)
1: Cafe Tacvba/Futuro. As soon as the long-running alternative band out of Mexico released their latest album (they’ve been playing together for years and often take long breaks between works), I, along with the rest of world blew our tops. The album is strong in terms of the differing styles they do on each track, but I couldn’t get this single “Futuro” out of my head (as you probably noticed since I played it quite it bit). Plus, the video that goes along with it is also just as addicting. (Jei Beibi!/Cafe Tacvba).
Best of the Rest
As for the rest of the hour, we’ll hear some of my other favorites, including tracks from Chicago Afrobeat Project, Chopteeth, the Atomic Bomb Band, Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet and Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. Plus, not to missed too are songs from New Kingston, Dayme Arocena, Mosquitos, Pink Martini and Lula Pena.
The World Music Show airs Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on 88.9WCVE/Richmond Public Radio. Stream the show and get track listings via this website. Plus, follow the show on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.