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Salutes & Yellow Jerseys

One of the founders of the Bossa Nova style of music, Joao Gilberto, passed away this week. Gettyimages (free)

The problem with things right in front of us is that we often look past them. Or we sometimes take them for granted and act as they’ll always be there for us. Such is my thinking for this week’s World Music Show (7/13).

This past week, the Brazilian musician Joao Gilberto passed away. If you’re unfamiliar with him, you may be familiar with his sound. It’s called Bossa Nova. That’s right, Gilberto was THE man behind introducing the world to it. He had help, of course. But his fingerprints, or should I say guitar structure and deft touch on the strings, were all over this still continuing genre of music. Bossa Nova, which translates as “New Wave” was just that--a new style of Brazilian music. At the time Brazilian music relied heavily on the more percussion side of the Afro-Latin spectrum. Big drums and the beats that go along with it.

But Gilberto and his counterparts like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Sergio Mendes, Caetano Veloso, Tom Ze and more, tuned down the drums and in many cases, took them out of the mix. And instead, they turned up the guitar and threw in notes of Samba and Jazz.

Bossa Nova has been around now for more than 50 years. It’s because of this that many of us take the style for granted. Or rather, take those who created the style for granted. To salute him, we’ll hear a few songs that have his deft touch, including a song recorded by his daughter Bebel Gilberto (and featuring Daniel Jobim, son of Antonio) and we’ll hear the famous “Girl from Ipanema,” sung by his then-wife Astrud Gilberto.

Continuing with another salute, I’ve decided to salute the 21-day cycle race known as the Tour de France. Why? Well, I love it (though, after a few years of following it, still have a hard time trying to understand all of it). And because it gives me a good excuse to play some French music. We’ll hear a couple of tracks from the trio We Are Enfant Terrible, including a cover they did of the Beck song “I Think I’m In Love.”

That cover leads to a slew of a whole bunch of other covers. World music cover tunes are pretty much a staple of the show because well, I just think they’re a great way to hear some songs you may have heard dozens of times done in a completely different way.

Case in point. We’ll hear a wonderful cover of the very covered Bill Withers song “Ain’t No Sunshine,” done here by the South African vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the singer Des’ree. Other unique covers will include tracks from Seal (doing Echo & the Bunnyman’s “Lips Like Sugar”); Angelique Kidjo (doing Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child”); Monica da Silva (doing Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wildside”); and Gaby Moreno covering two songs: “Looking out my Back Window” (by Creedence Clearwater) and Blondie’s “Call Me.”

Blondie gets three covers on this show. The one with Gaby Moreno and another with The Jolly Boys covering “Hanging on the Telephone.” Plus, don’t miss a great cover by the Icelandic singer Hafdis Huld. She kills on “Here Comes the Rain Again,” originally done by The Eurhythmics. And I’ll cap off the show with the original version of “The Tide is High,” done by The Paragons, but a song that Blondie made famous. So it’s not a “cover” of her song, but rather the original--but it’s related, right?

Lastly but a song that comes at the top of the show and that is also a cover, we’ll hear a really interesting take on the Bee Gees song “Women in Love.” This song was recorded by Barbara Striesand and Kris Kristoferson. It’s covered here by the L.A. Latin folk band Cuňao.

Also thrown into the show will be some new music from Rogério Baraquet. He specializes (apparently) in resurrecting lost sounds from the start of the decade and putting a Brazilian/Electronic twist on them.

Rounding out the two hours will be a chunk of Ska and Reggae tunes done by K-Man & the 45s, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Peter Tosh and Richmond’s own Mighty Joshua. I’ll play his song “Know” that was recorded in our WCVE studios when he stopped by the show earlier this year.

Be sure to join all the salutes and covers for this week’s World Music Show, Saturday night from 8-10pm on WCVE Music: 93.1 & 107.3FM. The show can also be streamed via this website. You can also see live, streaming track listings for the show when it’s on the air too. Follow me on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.