Despite the title of this week’s blog, there'll be no songs from the 80’s band Big Country (though, that would be fun for at least one song, right?). On the contrary, this week’s show isn't just about one country--it’s about many countries. For two hours on The World Music Show we’ll explore the continent that is Africa. And though we won’t be able to hit all 54 countries or explore the more than 3000 languages that populate this region, we will break down the continent by way of compass points, i.e. North, South, East, West (and the middle).
Articles by Ian Stewart
In looking over my playlist for this week, it's once again apparent to me that getting a "theme" from a bunch of songs I've smushed together because I know they sound great together, is hard work. I have a rhythm, a system really, when I'm selecting songs to play for the World Music Show. And that system boils down to my emotional, gut feeling of the music. Sometimes I don't think too much but instead go with the feeling the music gives.
Listen: from my understanding, birthdays are celebrations of the passage of time; and are a time to look behind at things past and at the future of things yet to come. So it is with this pending birthday that I want to bestow onto you, my faithful listeners, some musical gifts of things past (in this case, some of my favorite nuggets from the past year or so). As the saying goes, it’s better to give than receive, right? Here are some of the highlights from this week’s show:
The title of this week’s World Music Show blog refers to the title track to the latest CD by Paul Simon. Part of the lyrics are: “Life is what you make it, so beautiful or so what.” I don’t know about you, but every now and then, I need a reminder like that. Like many, I get bogged down in the day to day activities of life. Sure it’s summer, but with two young kids and two jobs, I often get caught in that web of stopping to notice the cool and absurd things about life.
Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m a musician in a band. And though I do have the stereotypical fantasy of being on stage, singing and playing guitar to an adoring audience, I also fantasize about writing a set list for an upcoming show. Usually, this fantasy involves me being Elvis Costello or David Byrne. Yes, my nerd-dom knows no bounds. And while I’m no where near being a musician, I am fortunate enough to be able to assemble playlists. It’s the closest thing I’ll get to being on stage.
Lately I've noticed, while reviewing my past blogs, that I've kind of adopted a "shuffle" theme. I realize this is because trying to pinpoint one or two themes for The World Music Show is a hard thing to do week after week. It's not as if I don't like theme shows, it's just I like to put together shows the way I like to listen to music--all over the place. It's sort of like when I listen to the radio, I like to be surprised. And I like to pass along that same surprise feeling to you. So many of my shows, I've noticed, will have chunks or mini-sets of themes.
There is something about opening up a new CD. Is it the crinkle of the plastic? No, it’s not that. Is it the forced-removal of that plastic security tag, which takes a millennium to remove? I think not. No, for me, it’s the anticipation of what will be found by spinning the disc, as it were. And in the reading of the liner notes. So on this weeks World Music Show (7/2), as luck would have it, I get to play some new music.
There's one thing I love about Summer--ok, there are many things I love about Summer, and it's not the Mosquitos, unless you're talking about the band "Mosquitos," then, yes, but I digress. I like going to hear live music. Whether it's in the park or at a festival, I love hearing a band or a musician when the weather is perfectly hot. I don't know what the mix is, but those two combinations make for a great night. On this week's show (6/25), my goal is to have you experience that feeling from the comfort of your porch, deck or even your air-conditioned house or car.
Cheers to all you Fathers out there! On this week’s World Music Show (6/18) we’re celebrating some Fathers in World Music, as well as Grandfathers, sons, grandsons and daughters. From Bob and Ziggy Marley, to Ali Farka Toure and Vieux Farka Toure, this week’s show will showcase a few highlights of some stellar musicians.
Roll down the window and stick your hand out like you’re flying a plane, because I want to bring you my summer road trip playlist that’s the alternative to what you may have plugged into your cassette deck over the past years. I love road trips and one of the best parts about taking them, besides the pit stops at some dive-diners and oddly named historical-themed road markers, is the music I get to play. In the past, my soundtrack has consisted of music from a certain era or genre (hello high school/college playlist).