A Bag Full of World Music
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. And though this system turns out some pretty good shows, it makes it hard when I'm trying to wrap the two hours of World Music up in the bow of a "theme."
So this week's show (8/13) has simply been titled "A Bag Full of World Music." But don't let my lack of theme stop you from finding some great tunes in this week's show. I've got a lot on tap for you. To kick off the first hour, you'll hear a track from Remmy Ongala. Remmy Ongala was part of the soukous scene, which is a Congolese kind of Rumba. He, along with his Orchestra Super Matimila, helped to bring Tanzanian music to a bigger stage. Tanzanian music, is often called Ubongo, and it's the Swahili word for brain. Some of Remmy's music has also been described as Tanzanian hip-hop.
In fact, in that first chunk of music in that first hour, I'll not only feature music from Remmy, but from Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour too. A highlight from the first hour too is a track from a French Blues singer named Saga. He started his career as a writer, not a singer. One time, during a trip to San Francisco, Saga showed a friend some of his writings. The friend must have seen Saga's potential and suggested that he put his words to music. Saga's voice is deep, a little moody and perfectly French. In that chunk of music, you'll also hear tracks from Lo * Jo, Les Nubians and an group called Major Boys.
A couple of other bits of music that you'll want to make sure to listen for in the first hour include some amazing guitar work from the Mexican duo of Rodrigo Y Gabriela as well as a song from a group called the The Good Ones. This group of three musicians are all survivors from the Rwandan genocide that took place a few years ago. The Good Ones had to make their own instruments and record their tunes on the porch of one the players houses. Their story is not only inspirational, but their music is really good too.
In hour two, there are some great artists to check out. Off the new CD "Red Hot + Rio 2," you'll hear a couple of stunning tracks--one of which is a remake or maybe an update of a Beck "Tropicalia," that features the Brazilian singer Seu Jorge. The other snippets of Brazilian music to check out will be from Sergio Mendes and from the Mexican band leader Esquival who was once dubbed "the King of Space Age Pop."
Last but not least, and by no means the end, you'll want to check out some music from The Klezmatics. They play Klezmer music, obviously, but they have a CD out that features music written by the late folk hero Woody Gutherie. The lyrics were all written by him--he wrote more than 3000 lyrics over his lifetime and The Klezmatics were granted permission by the Gutherie family to put music to them. It's really very fascinating to hear their take on Gutherie.
And as is my method, I've included some surprises for you--particularly a nice double from They Might Be Giants, which is a nice bookend to the Klezmer music. But I think you'll enjoy it. The World Music Show aires Saturdays at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio or online at ideastations.org/radio. You can also follow me on Twitter during the week and/or during the show--I often Tweet background information about the music I play. Just look me up @wcveworldmusic.