It's time to focus. I tell this to myself on a regular basis--especially when listening to tracks that I've culled together for The World Music Show. You see, my mind tends to wander aimlessly while listening to beats from faraway places. And, while listening, and contemplating, I try to focus on what type of theme will emerge from the artists I've pulled together. So, after much review, a theme for this week's show (on 9/24) emerged as if from a fog. This week's show is about: Duos & Trios.
Articles by Ian Stewart
Once in a blue moon or once in a millennium I'm able to craft together a pretty decent World Music Show. This week's show could be one of those shows, because there's so much good music in both hours that each hour could stand on it's own as a stellar piece. Ok, maybe as host and producer of the World Music Show, I'm biased, but I'll let you be the judge.
Listen: There are sometimes when I just need to relax, you know "chill," as they say. Weeks will go by until I realize that, "hey, life's been moving kind of fast lately, so I'd better slow down." (That's right, I talk to myself in quotes). But the point is, things are moving fast. Summer has just officially ended (though, I wish the weather would get the memo), my first daughter just started Kindergarten and there's the 10-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks.* So, it's with all these heavy things happening, that I really need some musical time to relax.
There is some Big Noise happening this weekend on the World Music Show. What do I mean by that? Well, it’s actually a nod to the title of a CD I’ll be playing in the second hour of Saturday night’s show. It’s called “Big Noise, Funky Tropicalismo,” the music of which can be heard in a club based in Brixton, London which features some swinging Mambo music spun by the DJ’s. But, I also thought it was a great title to describe this week’s show.
They say you can't judge a book by its cover. Well the same can be said about the title to this week's blog. It's basically an agglomeration of some of the highlights that I like about the show this week. There's so much musical territory to cover in the mere two hours that The World Music Show covers, that in many shows, I want to make sure I help you get the most bang for your buck (speaking of bucks, are you a member of WCVE Public Radio? You can be by hitting up our Pledge page).
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).
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.