Unwrapping the Freshness | Community Idea Stations


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Unwrapping the Freshness

Ah, can you smell that? That’s right—it’s the freshness of new music that’s going to hit the airwaves on this week’s World Music Show (4/8). If radio or streaming had the power of “smell-o-vision,” then you’d be able to bask in the smell of newly unwrapped CDs. But sadly that app and the ability to smell new digital downloads are not within our grasp yet.

Either way, there’s some really great new and “new-to-me” music this week, including new tracks from from the young Cuban singer Dayme Arocena, the guitarist Vieux Farka Toure and the band La Vida Boheme, who play upbeat music on somber themes. Plus, they’ll even be some really interesting cover tunes, including a couple done to honor the 70s rock icons Creedence Clearwater Revival done with a Latin bent.

Apparently the music Gods have been looking down on me or perhaps my show is finally getting a good reputation. Either way, we’re both winners because it means I’ve got a bunch a great, new music lined up for us tonight. First up, this is a brand-spanking track from an upcoming CD by the Brazilian ex-pats who live in New York known as Forro in the Dark. This band, who was discovered—somewhat—by David Byrne as he apparently wandered into a bar in New York and helped them get their first CD out. The band combines driving dance rhythms of forró from Northeastern Brazil with rock, jazz, psychedelia, and folk; and it sounds like a return to form with their forthcoming album, Sandcastle (out April 21). It’s their first release in 8-years!

Forró music is often played by a trio or small ensemble and characteristically has a rhythmic triangle and zabumba driving the pace of the song along with an accordion. But they also intertwine synth bass, drums, tape delay and other sound effects accentuated by lyrics of rural life’s hardships. Off their upcoming release called Sandcastle entitled, here’s Você Não É Insubstituível which translates to “You Are Not Irreplaceable.”

Mixed with them will be a new release from the Mexican band Cafe Tacvba called “Un par de lugaresu,” which will be forthcoming on their new CD called Futuro, followed by a new cut off of what’s becoming one of my favorite CDs by the Cuban singer Dayme Arocena. She’s been wow’ing people with her strong vocals. Off her CD called Cubafonia, which is like a mix of Cuban Neo-Soul and American R & B, we’ll hear the song “Lo Que Fue.”

Now, if you want to pace yourself in terms of digesting all this new music, I will be throwing in some regular world beats that we’ve heard before—you know, I don’t want to stuff your ears full of such goodness right off the bat. However, I’m here to tell you about all the glorious newness. Off an upcoming release called Samba, this is the son of the Grammy-winning guitarist Ali Farka Toure, whose name is Vieux. However, he’s not riding on his father’s coat-tails. He’s established himself as an excellent musician in his own right. This is the song “Bonheur,” which by this song, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the CD.

Rounding out hour one doesn’t mean doesn’t meant that we’re done hearing new music. Nope, far from it. The band La Vida Boheme, recently moved from Venezuela to Mexico City, after getting tired of all the atrocities happening in that country. The band takes influence from late '80s punk, disco, funk, electronic music, jazz, salsa, reggae and dance music. On their last release, they were a bit bombastic, but on their upcoming release called La Lucha, they’ve taken a more naturalistic approach. We’ll check out track “Pupitres en Fuego.”

Following suit will be some new tracks from the band Quetzal, who are a Chicano rock band out of East LA who have been playing music for more than 20 years. They just released an energetic CD called The External Breakdown, in which they sing about many of the issues facing immigrants who enter the US. But it’s nothing new for them, in that they’ve been politically active for many years. Off that new release, we’ll hear the song “Barrio Healer,” which is about people who are both teachers and healers in the barrios. Before that, though, we’ll hear the song “El Rey Del Swing,” off a new release by the band Los Fabulous Cadillacs…wow! Lots of new Latin Releases this hour!

For the second hour of the World Music Show, we’ll continue slogging through a truck load of new music. Perhaps slogging isn’t the right adjective—anyway, you’ll still get to enjoy a bunch newness, like this Columbian band, Ondatropica. This band, led by two guys mostly, has a second CD out called Baile Bucanero. They recorded it in both Bogota and the Caribbean island of Old Providence. Fueled by bushy rum, the sessions, often including up to 35 musicians, captured the dialogues between calypso and gaita, accordion and lapsteel, clave and mandolin, even synthesizer and a horse's jaw bone. Off of that, we’ll listen to two songs “La Naranja Madura,” and “Caldo Parao.”

Continuing this super theme of fresh new releases, I’ll pair those two tracks with one by the Latin musician Ceci Bastida, who besides going solo, is also  part of the Mexican Morrissey cover band Mexirssey. Off her solo release called Sueno, we’l hear the song “Ya No.” Also in here too will be a new artist to this show called Yasmine Hamadan. She’s a Lebanese singer, songwriter and actress, now based in Paris. She became known with a band called Soapkills (which I’ve played before on the show). Off a CD called Al Jamilat, we’ll check out the song “Cafe.” 

More, more, more! That’s right, there’s more new music still to be heard. I just got this new CD by another new artist who I didn’t know about, but I’m glad I do now. The musician Alex Cuba, is-yes, from Cuba, which is where he also draws his inspiration. One of his main ones is from a movement that emerged in Cuba in the 1940s called “Filin” or “Feelings.” It’s guitar-based Cuban roots styles such as trova, but mixed with American Jazz and soul. Off his new CD called Lo Unico Constante or The One Constant, I’ll play a twofer—two songs. “En Mi Gituarra,” and “Yo she Quien Soy.”

And the hits or the newness just keeps on coming! Also in this set will be a song from Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang, which is called “Santa Monica,” which I picked purely from having lived there. Before that, from Austin, will be a cut from the band Cilantro Boombox doing the song “Living in a Box.” That’s off their CD called Shine. I’ve read too that they’ve opened for Cafe Tacvba—how cool is that?

I hope all these new releases won’t make you sluggish or hurt your ears because off a new release by the artist Natalie Rize, who reminds me of female Michael Franti in that her style, in both music and looks, called Rebel Frequency, we’ll hear the song “Natty Rides Again,” which features Julian Marley.

Ending the show will be those two tracks of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs. However, these two will have fall under the “new-to-me” category, since this interesting tribute CD came out last year. The songs off the CD called Quiero Creedence, are all done with a Latin bent, by a bunch of great musicians. We’ll hear a cover of the song “Bootleg,” done here by Los Lobos. I’ll follow that with cover of “Traveling Band,” done by Los Enanitos Band.

As mentioned, mixed in throughout parts of the show will be other great world beat songs—you know, I need to fill in some gaps. But don’t worry, these won’t be dull. The World Music Show airs Saturday nights from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE. Stream the show and get live track listings as the show airs via this website. Follow the fun on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook, at The World Music Show on WCVE.