Not So Bizzaro World Music
My apologies to those who don't get the reference to Superman. To explain, Bizzaro World is alternate world in which things are the exact opposite as they are on regular earth. So, on that world, Superman does things backwards. How does this relate to this week's World Music Show (1/26)? Well, if you see this week's cover photo of Bob Dylan, you may be thinking "What's Bob Dylan doing on The World Music Show?" Hence, my reference to Bizzaro World.
Though, if you know anyting about Dylan's canon of work, then you probably know that his songs have been covered and reinterpreted in so many different ways that it's not a stretch to think of a few of his songs being redone to a World Music beat. And that's exactly what you'll hear midway through the first hour of the show. The New York-based Latin band, El Mariachi Bronx do a great version of Dylan's "Love Sick," and Ziggy Marley does a superb acoustic version of "Blowin' in the Wind."
But let's back up a bit. To jump-start this week's show will be the powerful voice of Beatrice Kateme-Byakika. She's s a singer-songwriter known for her eclectic interpretation of East African music. Kateme-Byakika began her professional career as a back up singer for Uganda’s International diva Rachel Magoola between 2004-2006. But desire to step out in front runs deep with her, and in no time, she stepped out into the spotlight to record and sing her own music. Due to a varied upbringing in both Kenya and Uganda she spins tales of life and love in a variety of East African languages like Swahili, Lusoga, Samia and English. There is a sweet yet sensual, pure innocence to her alto voice, which makes you want to press the repeat button. You can get updates about her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter @BKatemeByakika.
Also in that set above will be music from the band Toto Bona Lokua, who are from Congo/Cameroon/Martinique, as well as from the fun band Taffetas, who are from Switzerland/Guinea-Bissau. And, we'll hear a wintery track from New Jersey's Yo La Tengo, called "Winter a-Go-Go," off their CD called Summer Sun. YLT have a new CD out, too, called Fade, and are heading out on tour--just an FYI.
But for a stretch of the imagination, we'll hear from a sort of local band caled The Brand New Life. They hail from Hampton-Sydney area of Virginia, but now reside in North Carolina. They are an eight piece Afrobeat/Free Jazz group who fuse world music traditions with jazz and modern techniques. A highlight of this outfit is their Senegalese griot (or talking drummer) from West Africa. He, along with the others have created a special sound.
To round out hour one, be sure to listen for tracks from Manu Dibango, Tom Ze, Serge Gainsbourg and a duet featuring Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger.
In hour two, we'll act like we're Elvis Costello on tour. Let me explain. On his current tour he has resurrected his famous Spinning Songbook, in which he pulls people up from the audience to spin. There are more than 30 songs featured on this Spinning Songbook and where it lands, the band will play the song. So, basically my point in using this reference is that the songs featured in hour two will jump all around. Phew.
We'll start off of with the band Kokolo, who are from Ghana, and move right into some Japanese Pop music, circa late 1960s, by Eiko Shuri, who was part of the Ye-Ye movement, which highlight all-girl pop songs (in fact, her song is called "Ye-Ye"). From there, the mood will turn groovy, as in World Groove beats from all over the planet. Songs from Jasmon (Germany), Arling & Cameron (the Netherlands), Alice Russell (UK), K-Os (Canada) and Mo' Horizons (Germany) will get your mood mellow and get your head bopping.
To close out the show will be tracks from David Byrne and the Police, who seem to infuse many of their tracks will World Music Beats. After looking over this week's show--and more importantly--listening to it, you'll see that it's not such a Bizzaro World type of show. I mean, it's just music--there's nothing to be scared of. Music unites us all, we just need to step out of our comfort zones sometimes.
The World Music Show is heard Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio, 88.9FM or online via this website. You can also join me on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.