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Weird, Wooley & Wild

What a weird, wooley and wild show I've got lined up for you on this week's World Music Show (4/4). Maybe it's the fact that we just passed one of my favorite non-holidays, April Fools Day. Or perhaps, the reasoning behind this week's line up is that perhaps Spring is finally showing it's springy head. In any event, the tunes, genres, cultures and styles are quite unique. 

Kicking off tonight's adventure will be a couple of interesting cover tunes. Off a newly released CD, called Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson, we'll hear more than 100 musicians, includig Latin superstars Tito Nieves, Jon Secada and Obie Bermudez, cover the tracks "I Want You Back," and "Sera Que No Me Amas," which also features Michael Stuart. The tracks mix in tropical rhythms along with salsa and other Latin beats. Producer, Tony Succar, says "The one thing that stood out in Michael's music was love. That reality was unity," he says. He goes on to say "I also wanted the title to stand for something: a real marriage between Latin roots and American pop culture, and to help keep Michael's legacy alive." I'll be playing more off of this new CD on future shows (since you may know love cover songs).

Paired with that track will be another Latin cover, done as a tribute to Joni Mitchell. We'll check out Brazilian Caetano Veloso's version of "Dreamland," done with some hefty percussion. Then, keeping that Brazilian vibe going, we'll hear from one of the sweetest voices happening in Brazil right now, Ceu. From her first, self-titled CD, which came out back in 2006, we'll hear the songs "Lenda," and "Roda." Riding piggyback, musically speaking, will be a couple of tuns from the unique perspective and sound that is Tom Ze.

Taking one of those wooley turns, we'll then head to Dakar to check out a hotel band. What does tha mean? Well, the band Orchestra Baobab, started out as band who, well, played in the hotel bar of hotel Baobab. This multi-enselmbled band, which resembles the sounds and make up of Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club, hosted a wealth of stellar musicians, including at one time, Senegalese Youssou N'Dour. In their two-song set, you'll hear smokey vocal harmonies, rhapsodic tenor sax and singing guitar lines. Their sound is a mix of Cuban and even surf guitar (ok, that's my own reference--the guitars remind me of something The Ventures or Dick Dale would play). Riding their coat tails, but only metaphorically speaking, will Zimbabwe legend, Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi.

Closing out the hou will be some West African music from Baaba Maal, who sings in the griot tradtion, which is a long tradition of story telling. Plus we'll check out some African Blues music, featuring the everchanging line-up of the Playing for Change group, which features a dozen musicians from all over the world, recorded separately then morphed together. They'll be paired with the Malian, dessert blues band Tinariwen.

For hour two, we'll run all over the map in terms of styles, places, sounds and fun. Ok, it's all fun, but the ride will be worth it. In fact, we'll be taking a sort of flashback trip to hear some of my favorite 80s and 90s type of music that happened to infuse songs with World Beats. But before I explain, let us start with a litle Byrne, as in David Byrne. We'll hear a few songs off his "Grown Backwards" CD. However, after that, the gates are open.

Byrne is followed by Dolby, as in Thomas Dolby, who as of late is actually a professor at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore (after leaving Great Britain). The man who blinded the world with science, was able to--once in awhile--sift a little World Music into his music. We'll hear a case in point on his song "Spice Train," off his last CD before he came to the States.

After that, we'll take a groovy trip back to the 90s to hear some World Clique music from the band Deee-Lite (yep, the picture above). Odd story here. A few weeks ago, I happened to pull her CD out to play in the car. My kids loved hearing it, as did all of us. Then, as a weird coincedence, I saw the new Target ads later that day, which featured Deee-Lite's song "Groove is in the Heart." It's fun to hear. Hope you think so too.

Mixed into this hour, will be some other groovy tunes by the bands Touch and Go and Si-Se. And, we'll hear some of my favorite Ska muic from the English Beat, the Specials and Fun Boy Three (helped also in part by Jane Weildan of The Go-Gos) doing their versions of "Our Lips are Sealed."

I hope you survive this week's Wild, Weird and Wooley show, which will aire this Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE or online via this website. Follow show banter via Twitter @wcveworldmusic.