Alive & Kicking
First off, my apologies to the 80s band Simple Minds. I'm hijacking their album title for this week's World Music Show (6/15) blog. I'm doing this with good reason, though. You see, throughout the Summer months, I'll be featuring snippets of live music from various World Music artists as a way to celebrate one of the best times to see live music.
To kick off the first hour of the show, we'll hear from the Beninese singer who has performed some amazing live shows throughout her career: Angelique Kidjo. Kidjo, who has been nominated--and won--various Grammys throughout the years, always seems to partner herself with some amazing artists. In the past, she's worked with Bono, the Brazilian bands Forro in the Dark and Brazilian Girls, Josh Groban and Branford Marsalis, just to name a few. Last year, she appeared on the Guest Street stage in Boston for a concert that featured some of the musicians mentioned above, as well Dianne Reeves. We'll hear her duet with Reeves on a cover of the Rolling Stones song "Gimme Shelter." And we'll hear her own song, "Malaika."
For the rest of hour we'll bounce around the globe (though, we'll get stuck for quite awhile in Latin America) and hear tracks from Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (Fela Kuti's old band), Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Brazil's legendary, eccentric musician Tom Ze, who has a way of making even short songs sound magical. Also in one of the first chunks of music, we'll hear some great guitar-driven music out of South Africa by Phillip Encobo and Elias Mathebula & the Chivani Sisters.
Another highlight of the first hour will be a couple of tracks from the Malyasian musician Zee Avi. Avi, who plays a mean ukelele as well as guitar, has one of the sweetest, most melodic voices I've heard in a long time. To say her voice is like butter would be a good description, though, I often wonder why that phrase works. In any event, her style is earthy (which could be helped by her partnership with Jack Johnson's record label, Brushfire).
As mentioned, most of the hour will be donimated by Latin music--which is ok, becuase there's so many great songs to hear. However, one of the first tracks we'll hear, which will be a Bossa Nova tune, will actually be the German duo 2raumwohnung (which translates to Two-Room Apartment). And in that same twist of locales, we'll hear some Rumba music from the French band Fatal Mambo. But then we'll be back on track to hear some Brazil tunes from Marisa Monte and the band Tribalistas.
I'll close out the hour with with a cut from the first Latin Playboys self-titled CD. This band was a side project for a couple of musicians from Los Lobos and Tchad Blake and Mitchell Froom. Also included in this last set will be a sitar solo surprise from someone you may recognize.
For hour two, we'll visit another highlight of summer--at least for me--that of Ska & Reggae music. But first, what's up first. We'll hear more Brazilian music from Domenico + 2 and another track from Tom Ze. And we'll hear some all-the-around-the-world music from David Byrne, off his great CD called "Uh-Oh;" and we'll hear the beautiful voice of Ceu.
For that Ska/Reggae set, you'll be able to tap your feet to some classic Ska--and I mean classic (from the 60s), from Dave & Ansell Collins, Eric Donaldson (who does the original version of the song "Cherry Oh Baby" done originally by UB40); and the Paragons (who do the original version of the song "The Tide is High" (done later New Wave style by Blondie). Plus we'll also hear from the Specials, The Jolly Boys and from Bob Marley. It's a good thing that most Ska songs are really short.
To close out the show, we'll take a complete 180 from all this mellowish sort of music. We'll hear some groove music from British singer Alice Russell and the German couple Linn & Freddie. And we'll find out "Who's Gonna Lite it Up?" care of Cornershop and we'll check out what happens when Dub music intertwines with Rap, care of the Beastie Boys and Santigold.
Summer is here and the time is right for listening to The World Music Show--heard every Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. on 88.9FM WCVE Public Radio or online via this website. You can follow the show on Twitter, too, @wcveworldmusic.