Not a Ghost Town
When pulling tracks together for this week’s World Music Show (10/27) I usually go and grab The Specials “Ghost Town.” I do this because it’s an easy, fun little tie in to Halloween. Sure, from the outside, it’s an obvious pick.
However, the song was written by them as a commentary about social decay and the violence plaguing the cities the band members were touring or living in around London back in the late 70s/early 80s.. So when I was thinking about the times they were living in and a few of the songs I’m playing this week, I noticed a correlation.
Kicking off the show will be a new song from the Ecuadorian/New Yorker musician and master guitarist Cecilia Villar Eljuri, who simply goes by Eljuri. She wrote a song to inspire people fighting injustice. The track is called “Keep it Up,“ and about it she says:
“The song just came to me, like a gift of encouragement, for all the hours and efforts I have
made towards speaking truth to power and fighting for social justice. Everything seems to
be flying at me fast and it’s hard to make sense of it all. But, I know that I’m up for it and am
not alone. In the face of corruption, abuse and injustice, social change can go viral.”
You’ll often find Eljuri attending many protests, either playing or rallying with others. In this way, it’s sort of like “Ghost Town,” in that it’s a song of the times. If you like it, she’s offering a free download right here.
Another song in this vein is “Bring Down the Wall,” by Piers Faccini. Written before the election of the current U.S. President, Faccini wrote it for a variety of reasons besides the now obvious one. Featured on his album I Dreamed an Island, the song was one many that he wrote in in “real time,” meaning he pretty much took a deep look around at things going on around the world and wrote out music, then recorded them in his home studio and released it as quickly as possible.
Those tracks led me to also feature some songs of reflection. In that category, we’ll hear “She Doesn’t Need to Fall,” by Senegalese legend Youssou N’Dour. From his album Joke (the Link), N’Dour sings “Take care of her, shelter her, feed her, protect her..” It’s a beautiful song about protecting women and not abusing them.
Paired with N’Dour and also in a similar realm is the song “Ghetto” by the Congolese musician Sam Mangwana. Songs about fighting injustice, about keeping a focus or about keeping the momentum going are good to have in the musical solar system.
But then as Monty Python used to say “And now for something completely different.” Other musicians you can look forward to this week include some classic Afrobeat/Highlife music from Nigeria circa 1970s from Godwin Omabuwa & His Casanova Dandies (LOVE this name) and the song “Zinabu” from Bunzo Sounds.
They’ll also be some great desert blues guitar work from both Bombino and from the band Tinariwen. Tinariwen get a double play because they’ll also be featured on the song “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone,” by Yusuf Islam. You may remember him when he was Cat Stevens. He has a new album out (with that same title) in which he revisits some of his roots when he lived and played in Great Britain. And while we’re in the United Kingdom, we’ll also hear from the band The Staves. This is a band of three sisters who play some beautiful acoustic inspired music.
In the world of Latin music, I’ll play tracks from Afrocubism, Los Lobos, Ceu, Chancha Via Circuito, the Columbian band Diamente Electrico and a band who mixes Appalachian music with Latin music called Appalatin.
Off the beaten path will be tunes from Angelique Kidjo (off her great cover of the Talking Heads cover Remain in Light) and Bebel Gilberto covering Radiohead’s “Creep.” Plus, I’ll feature songs from Jupiter & Okwess, the band Delgres, the German band Okta Logue and the Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan, all playing their own unique style of music.
The World Music Show airs Saturday nights at 8pm on WCVE Music 93.1 & 107.3FM or stream the show and get track listings vis this website. Follow me on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.