Don't Be Scared...It’s Just Music
Why does music scare some people? I mean, I can understand when violent or degrading lyrics are used. And that's not really scary, but rather a matter of either personal taste or a poor taste in musical expression by the artist. What I'm talking about is when new or foriegn beats are heard or when the lyrics heard are sung in a language other than what someone may be used to.
On the World Music Show, I try to stretch the fabric of world music to its outer edges. On many occasions, I even try to go beyond what the normal term "World Music" means by playing things that one may not originally associate in that genre. For this week's show (3/31), I try to make this fabric of World Music even more taut. I'll feature some artists and musicians who at once define this catagory of World Music as well as tweek the term just a bit by giving the style a fresh edge (this is where the "scaryness" may come into play).
For instance, I'll start the show with a nod to the American blues genre by featuring a couple of African blues musicians who are able to capture the heart of the Blues. In both Adama Yalomba and Amar Sundy, you'll be able hear the DNA that is found in American blues music. I'll even add some blues or "Morna" music to this set by playing a track from the late Barefoot Diva, Cesaria Evora. And, I'll play a moving cover of the famous Bill Withers song "Ain't No Sunshine," done hear by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Des'ree.
But is that really scary? Not at all.
How about when I feature a nice long (or rather short, in this case) song by Fela Kuti? At one time, he was considered controversial, at least in his home country of Nigeria. But now, he's considered an icon of not only the Afrobeat movement, but of music in general. In fact, throughout the first hour of the show, none of the artists, like Mosh Ben Ari, or Aurelio or with the bands Taxikreol or Los 50 de Joselito are at all controversial. On the contrary, this is standard fare for the show--good music is good music, no matter what the language, right?
Perhaps in hour two, they'll be something scary or out of the norm. Well, let's see, I'll start off with some really great Italian cafe music featuring the singers Giorgio Conte and Gianmaria Testa, followed by some Indie Brazil music from Marcos Valle and the band BungaLove. Nope, that's not at all "out there."
I'll follow that with some early music from Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, followed by a great track by Bob Marley, then by Peter Tosh. Ah, Tosh could be considered almost controversial. For his lyrics and songs could be considered forceful ("Legalize It," for instance). But he was really singing about the issues that were important to him and his country--just like Marley did.
Which takes me to one particular band that I'll be featuring. The French trio We Are Enfant Terrible could be the stretch test for a few listeners. First, let's start with their name--which really just means they're being bad kids. Now, let's talk about their sound. Let me put that in context first by lifitng a quote from my pal Joshua Fischer, who actually sent me their CD and turned me on this unique band:
"...it's like Fischerspooner and Sonic Youth conceived a child delivered by the Breeders."
Now, if none of those alternative bands ring your register, that's ok. Josh goes on to describe the band as "The whole thing is just superb, funky and futuristic, and completely sans pretense." Which is true. Their music is funky and futuristic. They use an old Atari gameboy for sound infusions in many of their songs, and they dot their songs with both French and broken English lyrics. Perhaps the scary parts come with a few of their song titles, like: "Filthy Love," and "Flesh N Blodd Kids." And then there's their CD covers. I'm thinking of the CD that these two tracks came off of, called "Explicit Pictures." The cover art and titles aren't something you'd normally hear on a public radio station, right? I purposely didn't use that cover my blog article in fear that it may turn some listeners off.
One of the main joys I get from putting together the World Music Show is getting to explore the different, unique sounds that are floating around the globe just waiting to be heard. I mean, what's new music without a little adventure, right?
The World Music Show is heard Saturday nights at 10:0 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio or online on this fine website. You can respond with your thoughts below and/or via Twitter. Look me @wcveworldmusic.