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Ian Stewart

Articles by Ian Stewart

So Beautiful or So What

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.

Electrified

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.

A Cavalcade of Sound

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.

Look! It’s the Smell of Newness!

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.

It’s Alive! Live Music For Summer Nights

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.

A Toast to Father’s Day

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.

Road Trip Summer Playlist

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).

The Celebration of Random World Holidays

When I was looking at the calendar for June for some ideas for the World Music Show, I noticed that besides Father's Day (in which they'll be a great World Music Show), there were some very interesting holidays happening around the globe. So this week's World Music Show (6/4) is going to a celebration of Random Holidays. For instance, in Australia, there is Foundation Day; in New Zealand, the Queens Birthday; in Ireland, there is a bank holiday and there is also World Environment Day on June 5th.

The Global Blender

Sometimes when I'm trying to think of what to play for a show, I toss around a few different themes or points on the globe in order to put together a solid show. Then, there are other times when I take all those ideas and just toss then in the metaphorical blender just to see what comes out. On this week's show (5/28), that's the route I've chosen. But, don't worry, blended shows are just as tasty as well, crafted shows. I mean, how else would you get to hear reggae music from New Zealand, or Woody Allen movie music from Barcelona? With a blended show, the possibilities are endless.

The iPod Shuffle Show

Let me ask you this: Are you someone who likes to or has to play a CD from start to finish? Or are you someone who likes to hit the shuffle or random button when you play your music? As for me, my needle (that's a reference to how albums are played) likes to play my music both ways. Sometimes I have to go from start to finish and other times I like to take whatever plays. So on this World Music Show (5/21), I've decided to hit the shuffle button on my world music playlist, which will feature some tunes from my personal iPod.

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