I’m always amazed when big companies do good things. I mean, it’s not like that have to. I’ve been mulling this over lately due to all the talk of about a certain company with a swoosh that started a new ad campaign. I won’t get into that discussion here--my sneakers aren’t fast enough to keep up. But when I was tinkering around with a theme for this week’s World Music Show (9/15) I merged this chatter with what I know about some record labels that are actually out in the world doing good things with sincerity.
There’s a trifecta of labels that came to mind that happen to fit perfectly within the parameters of the World Music Show. The labels Red Hot, Rhythms del Mundo and Playing for Change are the three that I’m going to highlight--I’m sure that they are more (and if you know of any, then please let me know).
This label is a non-profit that was created back in 1990 in order to fight HIV/AIDs through pop culture.
Over the past 25 years, more than 500 artists, producers and directors have contributed to 20 compilation albums of original music, videos, events and media to keep people thinking about the implications of the AIDS epidemic as well as donate millions to organizations around the world.
They’ve put out some really great Latin-inspired albums, among such titles as Red Hot & Blue (their first one), Red Hot & Riot and Red Hot & Fela. But kicking off the show will be a bunch of tracks from one of my favorites called Red Hot + Rio 2. Off of that, we’ll hear the bands Superhuman Happiness with another band called Cults doing a Caetano & Moreno Veloso song. I’ll follow that Brazilian Seu Jorge working with Beck on Beck’s song “Tropicalia.”
Also from this two-disc compilation, we’ll hear check out the song “Tropical Affair” done by Money Mark & Thalma de Freitas & Joao Parahyba. Before them we’ll hear the Caetano Veloso/Gilberto Gil song “Bat Macumba,” done here by Of Monreal & Os Mutantes.”
Less you think that’s all you’ll hear from that label, think again. Off one of theirs called Onda Sonora, or Red Hot & Lisbon, we’ll check out a David Byrne & Caetano Veloso--who seems to be dominating this hour already--tune called “Dreamworld.” I’ll follow that with a song by General D and Funk ‘n Lata.
Closing out this section from the label, we’ll hear a couple of songs from Red Hot & Latin, Silencio=Muerte or Silence equals Death, will be the song “Pepe & Irene” done by Money Mark (again) and the great band Los Lobos. And, also in here too will be PM Dawn with Flora Purim doing a track called “Non-Fiction Burning.” I love PM’s voice!
Rhythms del Mundo came together to fight climate change and natural disasters. This label, which also goes by APE or Artists Project Earth has put albums of Cuban & African music, just to name a few. Like the Red Hot label, they get popular musicians to work with World Artists or in some cases, their own kind of sessions band. We’ll hear Coco Freeman along with U2 doing U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for.” I’ll follow that with a track off their Africa CD of a cover of “She Said,” done by Plan B.
PFC has put out three CDs thus far, but they’re output keeps going and going in terms of live shows, videos and outreach efforts in communities all around the world. PFC takes a few of their own in-house musicians and puts them together with local musicians from all over the world and has them cover popular songs or they’ll play their own songs. Many times, these songs feature more than a dozen musicians from all over the planet. Their goal is to raise money for music education. Twenty percent of all profits from all PFC Memberships and the shop go towards the foundation to fund music education.
From their Playing for Change 3 CD, Songs Around The World, we’ll hear Bob Marley’s “Get Up/Stand Up” which features both Keb’ Mo’ and Keith Richards--(ya, cool) along with a dozen others from around the world. And we’ll check out a great version of “La Bamba” with Los Lobos and musicians such as La Marisoul and Argentinian musician Fefe Lee.
For hour two, we’ll dive into some brand new music from a band who’s taken 15 years to release another album. From the legendary Reggae band Black Uhuru, I’ll play two songs off their brand new CD called As the World Turns* (*I don’t think this is a reference to the old Soap Opera). Black Uhuru were one of the early adopters of incorporating Dub elements (turned up bass is one example) into their songs. On Turns they have politically charged songs such as “War Crimes” and a cover of The Clash’s “Police & Thief.” Besides the good news of a new album, Black Uhuru will also be going on tour.
We’ll also hear some new Marimba music from Rio Mira. This band is filled with both Ecuadorian and Colombian musicians. Their new CD is called Marimba Del Pacifico and it’s filled with some amazing Afro-Ecuadorian and South Pacific Colombian music.
Other great tunes to keep a listen for include: Gigi, Issa Bagayogo, Jupiter Okwess, Janka Nabay and Moira Smiley.
The World Music Show hits the airwaves or stream cycles every Saturday night beginning at 8pm on WCVE Music (93.1 & 107.3FM). You can stream it via this website and check out track listings too. Follow the show on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.