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World Blues & Other Grooves

Not to ride on the capes of the ever-popular WCVE Public Radio show Time for the Blues, hosted by John Porter and Henry Cook, but every once in awhile I like to feature a bevy of "World Blues" music on this show. So, as a nod to those two fine fellows, on this week's World Music Show (4/20), you'll get to hear a few chunks of this style of music--but done with a world-music twist.

However, before I divulge the blues artists in question, the show will begin with some variations of Latin music, to which there is a plethora. For starters, we'll hear from the band Afrocubism, who have quite the interesting story. It seems these musicians were at one time destined to be part of the large ensemble that was the Buena Vista Social Club. But on their way to the recording, they got held up due to visa problems, and were prevented to go. Well, fast forward to years later and this group of leftout musicians got together and recorded this self-titled CD. Also in this set of music will be a couple of tracks from the Brazilian singer Ceu as well as a track from the double CD "Red Hot + Rio 2" from the bands Os Mutantes and Of Montreal. Plus, I'll sneak in a Bossa Nova tune that was recorded by the French singer Didler Sustrac--this can be found on a great CD of Boss Nova music from around the world by the record label Putumayo.

And now (we'll see if John and/or Henry are paying attention), here's the chunk of "World Blues" music I mentioned. We'll start off with a legend in blues from any continent--Ali Farka Touré. Farka Touré was a Malian singer (he died in 2006) and multi-instrumentalist, and was one of the African continent’s most internationally renowned musicians. His music is widely regarded as representing a point of intersection of traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues. The belief that the latter is historically derived from the former is reflected in Martin Scorsese’s often quoted characterization of Touré’s tradition as constituting "the DNA of the blues". Touré was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and number 37 on Spin magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." We'll hear a collaboration he did with the Kora player Toumani Diabate, off their CD "In the Heart of the Moon," which was recorded on the banks of the Niger River. 

Piggybacking in this set of "World Blues' music will be tracks from the desert blues/Tuareg band, who are also from Mali, Tinariwen and from the desert blues/Tuareg guitarist Bombino. He's been compared to the likes of John Lee Hooker, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page--and honestly, it's a pretty fair comparison. The term Tuareg by the way, means they are a Berber people with a traditionally nomadic pastoralist lifestyle. They are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa. And we'll also hear some North African music from Morocco by Samira Saeid and some Arabic Groove music by Lebanonese singer Dania

To close out the first hour, we'll Swing around the World! Like Blues music, Swing music has its fans from all over the planet. We'll hear a track from Italy's Renzo Arbore e i suoi Swing Maniacs and America's famed band Squirrel Nut Zippers. Plus, we'll end the show with a Rumba-styled version of the Simon and Garfunkel song "Cecilia," done by Jesse Cook

That first hour alone is worth the price of admission--to which there actually is none--which leads me to ask, why don't you think about becoming a member of WCVE Public Radio? If you like this show and the other locally produced shows, or all the national shows we feature, then becoming a member is worth it. Just find the membership/pledge page and join--you can even mention that you like this show. 

So, if you're still craving some World Beats of all genres, then hour two may have just what you're listening for. We'll start off being Wild & Free, which is actually the name of one of the latest CD's by Ziggy Marley. We'll hear a couple of songs off of it, one that includes the late rapper Heavy D and another that includes the actor Woody Harrelson--who can actually sing! Who knew? Also in this set will be one of my favorite reggae "hits," that being the song "(You Gotta Walk) Don't Look Back," that featured both Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger. And we'll hear the title track to the movie "The Harder they Come," that both starred and was sung by Jimmy Cliff.

And remember that theme I mentioned, that of World Blues? Well, we'll have a ramped up version of blues and/or pop and electronica music from Vieux Farka Toure, who is the son of Ali Farka Toure. Though you'd think it'd be almost a given that the son of one of the worlds best blues guitarists would also himself go into music, this wasn't necessarily the case. Despite his father's discouragement and his family's lineage as a tribe of soldiers, Touré secretly took up the guitar and enrolled in the Institut National des Arts in Bamako, Mali. And to do his first album, he had to get the approval of his elders, which included his father and Toumani Diabate. All that persistence paid off, as Vieux has had a stellar career thus far.

To close out this week's show, we'll hear a mix of tunes that features the likes of UB40, Bethova Obas and the band Taffetas. And we'll have another reggae/pop pairing with both Jimmy Cliff and Elvis Costello.

After all that, I wonder if both John and Henry will appreciate not only the World Blues music featured on this week's World Music Show, but the other styles as well. The World Music Show is heard every Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio or online via this website. You can follow the show on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.