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A to Z is Not So Easy

Alphabet keyboard
Who will show up on the World Music Show, alphabetically speaking? Tune in to find out. (Photo: Pixaby)

Like many of us under the “stay at home” orders, I’m inventing ways to keep myself occupied and entertained. But instead of creating elaborate domino structures or unique mouse trap games, I think about how I’m going to devise a fun theme for each World Music Show. 

Over the history of the show, the alphabet theme has been used. It’s a fun way to play a variety of different musicians and styles of world beats all in one set. I mean, you could hear Afrobeat next to Samba or Reggae based on the musician or a bands name. But, I usually run through the alphabet quickly, so as to complete the theme successfully. 

Desi Arnaz

However, on this week’s show (5/2) once I started pulling from both my physical and digital musical collection, I quickly realized that it’s very hard to pick someone without leaving someone else out. I mean, how could I choose the Garifuna sounds of Aurelio over the legacy of Desi Arnaz?  

You can see my dilemma. So, because we’ve all got time on our hands and because I like the challenge, I decided to see just how long it would take to go through practically every artist/band I have using the alphabet as my guide. 

To understand just how long this process might take, on the show this week---a two-hour show, I’ll remind you, we only get through the letters A and B! I’m sure in the next few weeks, some letters may go quicker than others, but we’re off to a good start. 

Tony Allen

Before I begin laying out who you’ll be hearing, I do want to honor the legacy of Afrobeat co-founder and drummer Tony Allen, who passed away this week. Allen, along with Fela Kuti, were the musicians behind the Afrobeat sound that is still going strong today. The fusion of Jazz, Funk, R & B and West African rhythms were an electric shock to the music world. And Allen carried that torch throughout his long career, playing solo or in bands such as Chicago Afrobeat Orchestra or in collaborations with Hugh Masekela

I got the news of Allen’s passing midway through working on the show, so we’ll hear a quick tribute in hour two. The dumb thing about that snafu is that, you’d think that he’d have come up in “A’s.” But, in my digital collection, his name comes up under “T” for Tony Allen, so I mistakenly passed him by. So even though I’m getting in a small tribute this week, I’ll do another more fitting one next week (before we continue on with the letter “C”).

With all that out of the way, here’s who you have to look forward to on this week’s show. And as you’ll be able to see, the style of music is mostly a mash-up of genres, thanks to the bands or musicians names. 

Altin Gun

Under the letter “A,” we’ll hear from the Turkish/Psychedelic folk band Altin Gün, sitting right next the Cuban singer Dayme Arocena and the Cuban legend Desi Arnaz, who you may remember was also known as Ricky Ricardo on the “I Love Lucy” show. 

Continuing in hour one and with the letter “A” will be tracks from Aurelio, King Sunny Ade, Zee Avi, Afro Cuban All Stars, Alex Anwandtwer, while Alsarah & the Nubatones will round out our first letter. 

For the letter “B,” the legendary Harry Belafonte will lead us to Buena Vista Social Club, to Issa Bagayogo and on to Bossacucanova and finally the Argentinean tango band Bajofondo will close out the first hour. 

Issa Bagayogo
Issa Bagayogo

Kicking off hour two, we’ll be that quick tribute to Tony Allen, then it’s onward to the rest of the letter “B” with songs by Bombino, Carla Bruni and the Cuban/Canadian band Battle of Santiago

Sticking around in Canada, we’ll hear from the Mexican/Canadian artist Boogat, then transition to Reggae with Black Uhuru, then slide over to some Brazilian sounds from Babu, Barro and Beboluz. Plus, the New York-based multi-cultural band Banda Magda will be hidden somewhere in there too. 

The fun Columbian band Bomba Estereo is featured too, along with Bostich & Fussible, Branko and Brazilian Girls. Closing out the letter “B” and the show will be a cover of the Public Enemy song “Fight the Power,” by the amazing band Brownout, followed by local band Bio Ritmo. 

Be sure to stop by for all the fun on this week’s World Music Show. Also, give me a follow on Twitter @VPM_IanStewart and on Facebook at The World Music Show on VPM. The show airs every Saturday night from 8-10pm on VPM Music, 93.1 & 107.3FM locally in the Richmond region, or you also stream it via this website. Also, come back to see live, streaming track listings of what I’m playing.