So, don’t think that I’m slipping you a mickey on this week’s World Music Show (12/9) since last week’s ran in a similar vein—meaning that it’s another “Best Of” show! That’s right, 2017 had so much to offer that we’re stretching out the fun all month long (save for the annual World Music Holiday Show).
With that, let’s dive right into some of the best releases that appeared on my radar this past year.
Meklit: When the People Move, the Music Moves too (Six Degrees) This Ethiopian born singer, who now lives in San Francisco put out a very fine album, one in which she partnered with the Preservation Horns on for many tracks. Though this is not her first album, it’s one of her strongest. She rules the songs like a boss, commanding our respect and admiration by swooping in an out of the of New Orleans-inspired songs. You’ll leave this CD with a bounce in your step and ear worms of the good kind.
Dayme Arocena: Cubafonia (Brownswood Recordings) Like Meklit, this Cuban singer has a very strong and powerful voice. Hers is a soulful blend of Cuban rhythms and melodies which wrap you up like a warm Cuban sunset. Arocena is not one to lead you astray by just showing you her vocal range, but instead she takes you along with her, and makes you a part of her entourage.
Monoplasma: 1 (Criteria) This duo out of Los Angeles is taking alternative Latin music to a new level. They take their tracks and expand them out from where you think they should go, but then do left swerves or somersaults of sound by experimenting with the normal guitar/drums combinations.
Cafe Tacvba: Jei Beibi! (Cafe Tacvba) This alternative Latin Rock band has been dominating the scene all over the globe for sometime—a far cry from their days in Mexico when they hung out in the cafe they took their name from. The combination between their lead singer, NRU’s voice and the work of the rest of the band, is a seamless blend of craftsmanship. After all these years, they still create unique sounds and experimentations that don’t leave you feeling empty. This could be because they take their time between records so that they can soak up what’s going on in the world. You’ll see them reappear on a later “Best Of” show.
Chicago Afrobeat Project: What Goes Up! (Chicago Afrobeat Project) On this release this big outfit got to work with one of the legends and co-founders of the Afrobeat Movement—drummer Tony Allen. So on this work, you can tell they’re not only paying some respect, but having a ton of fun. The sounds are big, danceable and full of beats.
Some other really great releases this year include: Paris Combo, Banda Magda, Los Macuanas, Shonen Knife and Skye & Ross. Also, CDs by Juana Molina, who’s Halo CD reflects this Argentinians unique voice and style; and the beautiful partnering up of the long running classical Kronos Quartet with Trio Da Kali’s are also not to be missed.
Mixed in throughout the sho will be past greatness from the year 2016—remember that year? What a beaut! The World Music Show airs Saturday nights from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on 88.9WCVE Richmond Public Radio. Get streaming track listings (and past ones, too) via my main page. Be sure to follow the fun on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.