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What's Happening!

Be forewarned—I’m going to date myself. And it’s not the first time. It’s all about What’s Happening. And no, not the “Hey, Hey, Hey, What’s Happening” from the classic TV show with Rerun and the gang, though that’s what I thought of when I came up with this title (hence, the dating myself). But for this week’s World Music Show (9/2), we’re going to find out What’s Happening!

What’s Happening in places like Pernambuco, Brazil? And What’s Happening with new music from Mosquitos and Meklit? Plus, What’s Happening with all the compilations we’ll be diving into on this week’s show?

Well, here’s my chance to parcel out a bit of information to hopefully entice you to tune in. And What’s Happening is quite a bit. Starting off with the aforementioned new music from Mosquitos, we’ll take a closer look at this new—and long overdue (10 years!)—release from this Brazilian trio (and sometimes quartet), whose music on Mexican Dust reads like a travelogue of sound (oh, there’s a good title!). Chris Root and his wife Juju Stalbach, along with Jon Marshall Smith, have gathered sounds from travels to places such as Puerto Rico, Oaxaca, New York and Brazil. It’s their quest, as Stalbach says, to try to find a somewhat permanent home.

In their travels, in which they stayed in those various places for a number of years, Stalbach says that she was always looking for some grounding. So, the output of music on this go-round isn’t so much a throwback to their Pop/Brazil roots but more of an exploration for home. Off their CD, we’ll hear the song “Azulando.”

Other great happenings on this week’s show include a deeper look at the latest CD from the Ethiopian/San Francisco based musician Meklit. On her latest, called When the People Move, the Music Moves too, you’ll hear some very impressive funky beats as well as some stellar horns, provided by the New Orleans Jazz band Preservation Hall Horns.

As far as What’s Happening in compilations, well—this is an area of expertise or perhaps it’s more of a fondness that I have when it comes to this style of musical distribution. Compilations provide so many great choices—their like a greatest hits of sorts from various record labels—they’re a good way to showcase some music that begs to be explored further.

Diving deep into some compilations, we’ll explore tracks from Putumayo, which includes artists such as: Carla Bruni, Pascal Lejeune, Coralie Clement and the band Presque Oui. Which if you can’t tell, are all featured on some French inspired CDs. Plus, off a few other Putumayo releases, we’ll hear from Carla Gomez, Wasis Diop, Lena Fiagbe and even a duet with Toots and the Maytels and Willie Nelson!

In the other corner of record labels, we’ll dig a bit into the catalog of some Luaka Bop compilations. Off their The Sound of Sound, we’ll check out some other-worldly music from Jim White, Nouvelle Vague, and The Atomic Bomb Band, who are a group of well-known musicians (including David Byrne and Money Mark), who tour playing songs of Nigerian Afrobeat musician William Onyeabor.

Now, before I forget about what’s really happening—the main reason for the title for this week’s show hails from a CD called What’s Happening in Pernambuco. It’s also a Luaka Bop release that explores the alternative bands that are coming out of this Northeastern part of Brazil. We’ll hear from Mombojo, who’s song translates to “Blood Stew,” and who’s sound is a mix of Jazzy Psychedelic beats. And we’ll hear from Nacao Zumbi, who’s song “Carimbo,” refers to the Carimbo dance music of the Northeaster Amazon region. And, it’s also the name of the hollowed-out trek trunk drum which percussionists squat over to produce some heavy beats. 

In another Luaka Bop CD, we’ll sample some classic African/Brazilian music off a CD called Afros e Afoxes da Bahia. This release explores sounds from when African beats traveled to Brazil—well, the after results of years and years of morphing sounds together.

Other Happening things this week include a chunk of Ska music. In this bit, we’ll go back in time to hear some classic Ska from the Ska-tilites, the Specials and The English Beat. Then, we’ll move forward to hear a cut off the Frightnr’s one and only CD Nothing More to Say. The sad story behind this release is that while making the CD, their lead singer came down with an illness and died shortly after the albums release. A sad story indeed, especially since their sound is both a throwback or an homage to classic Ska, but is also one that updates it just bit with a few tweaks.

In our last chunk of the What’s Happening theme, we’ll get Fuzzy Freaky—ok, don’t worry. That is actually the title of a David Byrne track off his CD Feelings. Paired with him will be a couple of freaky tracks (ok, not really) from Pizzicato Five and Shonen Knife.

So, if you want to be in the know or yes—know What’s Happening, then you need to tune into the World Music Show this Saturday night from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on 88.9 WCVE Richmond Public Radio. You can stream the show via this website and see live streaming track listings while the show airs. Or you can also go back to see past shows and blogs. Also, be sure to follow the show on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE and on Twitter @wcveworldmusic.