The Olympics of World Music
Ok, so the title of this week's World Music Show (7/28) could be considered a slight of hand or better yet, a ruse to get you to read my blog. I mean, what better public relations trick could that be, since the Olympic games are here? You may think, how will Ian relate his show to the Olympics? Or you may think that all the songs on this week's show will be like the parade of nations in which each song will represent one country. Or, you may think, nicely played Ian (I'm hoping for this thought).
But hear me out. I love the Olympics and I also love World Music. And thinking about how the two relate, I came up with this: The torch. I've seen the Olympic torch pass by three times in my life. And as you may know, the torch goes all over the world--sort of like we do on The World Music Show. Thus, this week's show is sort of like the Olympics or the Torch in that we'll touch on just a few places around the world, just like the torch or the coverage of the Olympics does. How's that for an explanation?
With that said, let's get on with some of the highlights you'll hear on Saturday. In terms of styles of music, you're going to hear a few African styles of music, including Tuku Music, Juju Music as well as Soweto Street Music, and even Nigerian protest music.
Let's start with Tuku Music. This is a shorthand description of the music of Oliver Mtukudzi. Mtukudzi, who began performing in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo. Mtukudzi is also a contributor to Mahube, Southern Africa's "supergroup". He's also known for his husky voice, and he's become the most recognized voice to emerge from Zimbabwe.
Then, let's talk about Juju Music. More specifically, Yoruba Nigerian jùjú music. One of the most popular international performers is King Sunny Ade. Ade, who was born to a Nigerian royal family in Ondo, is both a master guitarist and drummer. His music is characterised by, among other instruments, the talking drum - an instrument indigenous to his Yoruba roots. His music is in the age old tradition of singing poetic lyrics ("Ewi" in Yoruba).
Other highlights mixed into the first half of the first hour, include songs by Aurelio, Issa Bagayogo, and Ali Farka Toure. In fact, in looking over the first five songs by the above musicians, I notice that they're all performed by men. So, in another chucnk of music, I'll concentrate on some great female musicians. You'll hear the strong voice of Angelique Kidjo (doing a great cover of the James Brown song "Cold Sweat,"), followed by the smoother voice of Brazil's Bebel Gilberto. And, to impress your ears, you'll hear a master of the sitar who was trained by another master--who just happens to be her father. That's Anoushka Shankar. And, I'll cap off this set with a newer voice on the World Music scene, Miss Beatrice Kateme-Byakika (get more info and hear more of her songs by clicking her name!), whose sweet voice carries a rich tradition of East African sounds (though, she is based now in London).
And if all that weren't enough, you'll hear some Soweto Street music, in which the guitar has almost a surf sound to it. And, you'll hear David Byrne sing some great Mambo music.
All this is just in the first hour. Hour two, will be highlighted by some great remixes and cover tunes. We'll hear from Karsh Kale, who covers the song "Spirits in the Material World," by the Police; and we'll hear a cover of Led Zeppelin's song "Four Sticks," done by MIDIval PunditZ. You'll also want to be sure to listen for a nice, long song by the legendary Fela Kuti, too.
There's so much more that typing it all up has gotten to be an Olympic sport--you'll just have to tune in. The World Music Show aires Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. in WCVE Public Radio (88.9FM or online at this website). If you have the need for information, you can follow my random updates on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.