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Deep Dives Perfect For Hiding

Underwater Helmet
We'll do some diving to hear from musicians who didn't sink after their first or second release. (Photo: Pixaby)

I don’t know why it always amazes me when I step back and look at the trajectory of musicians who have been able to keep going over the long haul, to keep reinventing themselves or to just keep doing what they do over decades of time. 

It’s not as is if it should be a strange thing. Musicians, like almost everybody, keep plugging away at what they love. No one asks the 80-year-old baker or shoe cobbler why they’re still working. We don’t look askance at grizzled old blues musicians who sit on stools and translate the heartache of years past through their fingers onto guitar strings. 

Maybe it’s because we’ve seen so many one-hit wonders or bands who had great promise flare out in the blink of an eye. 

The musicians on this week’s World Music Show (4/25), we’ll be checking out musicians who are still putting out music, who are still redefining their messages and who are still putting out great music. 

Tom Ze
Tom Ze

Just to save you (and me) time, here’s a quick rundown of who you’ll be hearing this week. And, to show the trajectory of their careers, I’ll kind of do a “then and now” comparison, or what I also like to call a “twofer.”

If I were to lump some genres into my fist and then open them up, you could say that some of the musicians you’ll hear fall under a Latin or even a Brazilian vibe. With the latter part of that, we’ll hear from Tropicalia founders Tom Ze and Caetano Veloso. Plus, the band of Ex-Pats out of Brazil, Forro in the Dark, will be on deck too. 

Cafe Tacvba
Cafe Tacvba

Under the Latin umbrella, which is just huge, we’ll hear from Los Lobos, Cafe Tacvba and Carlos Santana, who all, I’m sure you can agree, are still going strong. I mean, think about Santana. We’ll hear a live track from when he hit the stage at Woodstock--the original--back in 1969. Then, we’ll jump forward to just this year to hear a cut off his amazing “Africa Speaks” album. 

And if you look at the East L.A. Band Los Lobos, their longevity has been just incredible. They started out as a band who played backyard parties in Downey, playing hits of the day back in the 70s. But then they decided to dig into Latin musical history. 

However, instead of regurgitating songs from the past, they put their own spin on them and created their own sound. Plus, they drove from the safety of their neighborhoods into the Punk scene to share their music. Which, as you can imagine, wasn’t full of rainbows and kudos from the spiky haired fans of bands like T.S.O.L or the Circle Jerks. 

Los Lobos
Los Lobos

But thanks to bands like The Blasters (who are also from East L.A.) and X, Los Lobos kept plugging away and were able to eventually land a record deal (on Slash records--the home of both X and The Blasters) and eventually put out some “hits” that garnered them success. 

But I digress. Perhaps this is too much information for you. I mean, who’s reading what I put out for my weekly shows? If you’re reading this far down, perhaps you’re a fan of musical ramblings and the like. If so, here’s a bit more. 

In another fist of music, we’ll dip into the history of Afro-Cuban music with the long running band Orchestra Baobab, who took their name from the hotel in which they were the in-house band. Partnered with them will be Youssou N’Dour, who was once a member of that band. 

Other musicians who’ll be featured--and it’s sort of short, because, well, I’m playing a ton of “twofers,” are Michael Franti and Spearhead, Angelique Kidjo, Ziggy Marley and Paul Simon. Plus, for good measure and because he fits the bill of this weeks theme, David Byrne (so expect a few Talking Heads tunes, too).

David Byrne
David Byrne

If you’ve made this far, then congratulations. Thanks! The World Music Show airs on VPM Music 93.1 and 107.3. FM or can be streamed by clicking that button just above this blog, on the right. Follow me on social media--On Twitter, you’ll find me @VPM_IanStewart; and on Facebook, just type in The World Music Show on VPM.