I’m not sure about you but I could sure use a musical break after this week’s topsy-turvy news cycle. Added to this, was for many, back-to-school and the end of summer goings-on. Phew! So wouldn’t it be nice to unwind with a couple of hours of fantastic world music? I think so. That’s why on this week’s World Music Show (9/8), I’ll attempt to whisk you away with travels to places such as Cuba, Brazil, France and Uganda. Mixed within and without these, will be some new music from a variety of folks.
First, though, with that brief overview will be this brief addition. Because of the crazy week, I’m going to spare you of having to read any drawn-out text about the show. I’ll make it the Cliff Notes version.
Chapter One: New Music
It’s always good to layout just what freshness I’ve lined up for you right off the bat. Perhaps I’m thinking it’s the best way to peak your interest. If so, then here it is. Afro-Cuban All Stars will start off the show. This big band falls in the same vein as Buena Vista Social Club in that they harken back to the heyday of Cuban music--namely the 1940s and 50s. But, not to disparage the talented Social Club veterans, but Afro-Cuban All Stars bring a youthful vitality to their music. And it could be argued because they’ve studied the past master like Buena Vista.
Maya Jupiter may not be a name you’re familiar with--but that will change. She’s a feminist musician who has no issues with speaking up for the oppressed while punk beats linger below her voice. On her new CD “Never Said Yes,” however, she dives into the many facets of women. From mother, wife, niece, daughter and granddaughter, Jupiter speaks of the wonderment of birth and the joy and responsibility of what women capable of. Born in La Paz, Mexico to a Mexican Father and Turkish Mother, Maya grew up in Sydney, Australia. She had a solid career in music and entertainment within Australia before leaving to further her solo career in the United States. She’s also married to the singer/musician Aloe Blacc.
Transitions are what’s the mind of Natalia Clavier. Her new CD, TRANS, reflects this theme with her tackling a whole host of “trans” ideas. Says Clavier: “Trans” stands mainly for transition and transformation as these songs portray a period of my life of deep change - both emotional and spiritual. There are other words that inspired the album title such as transmission, transcend, transport, transgender, and transmutation. All of these words relate to this body of work in one way or another.” We’ll check out the lead single “This Feeling.”
It’s been about nine years since the Ugandan artist Kinobe put out some solo music. He collobarated with the artist JaJa a few years ago, but it's been awhile since he was solo. His style of tunes are uplifting and even danceable. Apparently many of his songs are popular on the dancefloors in Europe. Kinobe was my first interview for the show, too. We’ll hear his new song “Little Words.”
Chapter Two: Protest
In a chunk of tunes this week, I’ll highlight some songs that are speaking out against issues that are all over the news (Ok, I realize this now goes against my opening statement of taking a break from all the news, but I had put these together earlier in the week). We’ll start off with an instrumental cover of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” done by the very talented band Brownout (known for also doing a Black Sabbath cover album). And we’ll hear from Chicago Afrobeat Orchestra, who along with the legendary Afrobeat drummer and founder Tony Allen,” do a track called “Race Hustle.” I’ll end the protest trifecta with the song “Cop Show,” done by the D.C. band Chopteeth.
Chapter Three: All the Rest
Though I’m highlighting some brand new music, many of the other songs on the show this week can still be considered new. From the Brazilian artists who’ve worked together many times over the years, Domenico Lancellotti and Kassin, I’ll play two new-ish songs from their latest. I’ll play the beautiful song “Yesterday is a Tizita,” from Meklit, who told me via Twitter that “Tizita” is one of the most popular songs in Ethiopia and that she’s been wanting to do an English version for years, but couldn’t quite nail it. That changed the day Beatles producer George Martin died because it made her realize the McCartney song “Yesterday” (which Martin arranged) is a song of longing and nostalgia--which is what “Tizita” is.
Others not to miss include: Femi Kuti, Yo La Tengo, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Nina Miranda and Kiran Ailuwalia. Oh, and there’s Creole artist Sean Ardoin, the Swedish born musician Thornato and the Haitian band RAM 7 that will also help us decompress.
To start your 2-hours of respite, tune into the World Music Show Saturday starting at 8pm on 93.1 & 107.3 FM WCVE Music. Or stream the show via this website and get track listings fo rthis show and past ones too. Follow the fun on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook The World Music Show on WCVE.