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The World from A to Z

Like throwing spaghetti pasta against the wall, sometimes you have to throw a theme out into the world ether to see if it sticks. On this week's World Music Show (12/7), I'll do just that. And from the looks of it, I think this theme will be a winner. In a matter of just two hours, we're going to travel the world from A to Z, musically speaking of course. With 26 letters to get through, will there be enough time? Or will a letter and song be left out in the cold like a dangling participle? You'll have to tune in to find out. 

From A to C: 

In this first chunk of music, we'll only gain a little ground. Starting with the band Afrocubism, who were once part of the collective known as Buena Vista Social Club, but got held up due to travel visas when it came time to come to the U.S., we'll hear the song "La Culebra." Following them will be two surprise songs with the letter B (Ok, right there, playing two songs with one letter may slow us down--but, these are good surprises that I don't want to spoil for you--though, if you happen to notice the picture above, I may have just shot myself in the foot by ruining said surprise. Let's just say that it won't be any "typical" songs you may be thinking of). Ending this chunk wil be a song by the band Cafe Tacuba called "Tropico de Cancer" off their great CD called "RE." The gruff voice of lead singer NRU always makes me a little giddy. 

From D to G:

The great thing about having us trek musically through the alphabet world music style, is that we'll be able to hear a vast array of differnt styles--at least that's my intention. So for the letter D, we'll hear the singer/guitarist Thomas Dutronc, who comes from a famous French family (his father was both a singer and an actor). As an added bonus to the letter D (again, there's so many great songs to play, I'm really pushing it by playing two songs in few of the letters), we'll hear some groovy Middle Eastern music from the singer Dania. From Lebanon, Dania was the first ever Arabic VJ (as in Video Jockey, as opposed to what my line of work is also known as: Disc Jockey). For the letter E, we'll head over to Cape Verde to hear a song from a lady who was dubbed the "Barefoot Diva," Cesaria Evora (who passed away earlier this year). Then rounding out this set will be song from a local Richmond band whose members all have many side-projects, Fado Nosso. And we'll go back in time to hear some French Pop music by a man who was both loved and hated in his country (not for his music, but for his robust personality and out of studio antics), Serge Gainsbourg.  

From H to K:

Rolling on through the alphabet and through yet another style of music, we'll head to Haiti to hear what the band Haitiando sounds like when they play Salsa music (answer: they sound great!). Then from a couple of compilations from the Luaka Bop record label, we'll hear some Cuban music the band Irakere (off the CD "Bomaye"). And off the CD "Cuisine Non-Stop," we'll hear some French music from the band Java. Closing this set of tracks will be a song from Nigeria's own Seun Kuti (son of Fela and brother to Femi) who, like is father, plays some powerful poltical Afrobeat music. 

From L to M: 

Sadly, for hour one, we'll only make it to the letter M. It's my fault, I know. All this dilly-dallying around--playing two songs for one letter in some sets. But, I still have hope that we'll be able to make it all the way to letter Z by the end of hour two. But to close out this first hour, we'll hear a song by the Latin Playboys (who only produced two albums and who have members from Los Lobos in this side-project band). And, we'll close out the set with some 1960s Japanese Bossa Nova, Girl Pop music from Keiko Mari. Like the 60s all-girl music coming out of the U.S. at the time, other countries like France, Brazil and Japan jumped on this bandwagon--some with success, others with no luck. 

Hour 2:

You know, in looking over this nice little package of text that highlights each chunk of music, I got to thinking that perhaps I'd like to keep somethings a surprise (like those two "B" tracks in the first hour). So, from here on out, they'll be no more alphabetical breakdown of sets for you. Instead, I want you to tune in and follow along with a pencil and pad, writing down the letters we cover. I will let you know, though, that in this hour you'll hear songs from:

  • Youssou N'Dour
  • Orhestra Baobag
  • the Pogues
  • Ravi Shankar
  • Tinariwen
  • UB40

Those are just a few of the bands and artists you'll get to check out during this musical quest. As for if we make it to the letter Z or not, I'll save that reveal for the show. I will mention, though, that there will be a few other surprises thrown into the hour, so you'll want to stick around for the whole show. 

The World Music Show aires Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. on WCVE Richmond Public Radio, 88.9FM or online via this website. You can follow the bouncing World Music ball via Twitter @wcveworldmusic.