From A to Ze
Don't worry. I'm not goint to arbitrarily list this week's World Music Show (11/17) in alphabetical order--that would be nearly impossible and quite the stretch (though, I may use this idea at a later date, so don't hold it against me). However, I will say, to stretch this particular theme, that this week's show does push the boundaries in terms of musical global outposts. Sure, one-to-two themed shows are a good way to exlpore a region or a particular artist or two. But, really, variety is the spice of life, as the cliché goes.
So to play off the headline, let's start with Ze, as in Brazilian artist Tom Ze. The music of Tom Ze is almost unlike any other Brazilian music I've played. He's not a big star and he's been around for quite some time. He first came to the public's attention along with Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and many others from the state of Bahia. They were all part of the Tropicalia movement, which was a creative renaissance that encompassed film, music, theater and writing that lasted from the mid to late 60s. His style is akin to Veloso's in that when he plays acoustic guitar, his voice can be soft and delicate--but there are times when his style is striking.
It'll be like a Brazilian love-fest in the first hour, in that we'll hear songs from Banda Uniao Black, who were a big part of the Black Rio Movement back in the 70s, but who came back a few years ago to record new material. And we'll hear the sweet, touching voice of Ceu, who'll do an interesting version of the reggae classic "Concrete Jungle." Mixed in this hour, and still staying in Brazil, we'll hear a couple of tracks from a style called Tropical Discotheque. But don't worry, you won't have to break out the leisure suits or polyester to enjoy this upbeat, danceable music.
Thrown in here somewhere will be a frenetic-guitar-driven set featuring the duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who perform a song with sitar player Anoushka Shankar, and another with Carles Benavent on bass. Closing the hour will be a powerful, political song from Seun Kuti, who is still recording music with his late father's band (Fela Kuti) Egypt 80. An interesting side note abotu the song I'll play, it was produced by Brian Eno. Eno has worked with a range of interesting musicians, including David Byrne, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
In hour two, the we'll dive into some Rhythms Del Mundo, which may translate to Rhythms of the World, but is actaully a series of CDs that champion a worthy cause. Created by an non-profit organization called Artists Project Earth (APE), the project "aims to help create a better world by bringining the power of music and other arts to 21st century challenges....with regards to enviornmental disasters, climate change and related challenges." The idea came about after the unforgettable Asian Tsunami of 2004, and their first CD (called Rhythms Del Mundo: Cuba) brought together members of the Buena Vista Social Club and paired with them with Western Artists, such as Coldplay (who'll you'll hear), Jack Johnson, and Artic Monkeys.
That release spawned a follow up that just came out, called Rhythms Del Mundo: Africa, which also features Coldplay, Beyonce, Mumford & Sons, to name a few. You'll hear a total of four tracks from these two CDS of some songs that you most likely have heard before, but this will be in a new way. Find out more about Rhythms Del Mundo.
Remember that alpabet metaphor I mentioned? Well, here's more artists that you'll hear that will further that notion. You'll hear cuts from the Pogues, the Specials, Michael Franti and Spearhead, as well as some Ska tunes from The Clash and a tune from Los Fabulosos Cadillacs (a few of those coming from the film soundtrack to "Grosse Pointe Blank").
All in all, this week's World Music Show may not hit on every letter of the alphabet, though, as stated, that was not in the contract. It will, however, be an enjoyable two hours. The World Music Show aires Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio, 88.9FM or online via this website. You can follow my ramblings on Twitter: @wcveworldmusic.