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Shouting Into The Void

Protest songs from around the world and new music is on the bill for this week’s World Music Show on 7/18. (Photo: Pixaby)

Doesn’t it seem like we’re all shouting into the void lately? Or that maybe all we hear is a constant level of shouting? Maybe, but there’s a lot going on around the world lately (*Yes, understatement of the decade). 

But, sometimes we need to fine-tune those shouts, so we can hear from the voices who perhaps have been drowned out for too long. 

This era of unrest got me thinking that for the past few years, there have been many musicians who’ve always been shouting, as it were, about things we should tune into. So, on this week’s World Music Show (7/18), we’ll try to block out the static and take a listen to them. 


On this poster board theme, we’ll hear from the likes of the Ecuadorian/New Yorker Eljuri--who, if you’re a frequent listener, you’ll for sure recognize. Ejuri has been on the front lines for years, singing out and playing her guitar against injustice. Whether it’s about gun violence or domestic abuse or government policy, Eljuri leads the charge at local protests and concert rallies. On her song “Keep it up,” she offers support to those fighting on the same lines.

The island of Reunion, which sits off the coast of Madagascar, is the home to another fighter--the musician Morgane Ji. With her amazing electric banjo and voice Ji, sings about being a woman soldier.

Up I-95 in Washington D.C. is the Afrobeat band Chopteeth. For years, Afrobeat has been the music of choice for those who find a baseline in protest music. Following in the footsteps of Afrobeat founders, drummer Tony Allen and Fela Kuti, the genre lends itself to high energy beats and protest. Chopteeth asks us what the “Questions of Our Day” are. 

Seun Kuti
Seun Kuti

In the same vein and in the same footsteps of Kuti, we’ll hear from one of the sons of Fela, Seun, whose song “Slave Master,” speaks volumes. 

There are many styles of protest music, though. And every decade has spawned songs vying for us to pay attention. From the 1980s, we’ll hear some 2-Tone/Ska music from The English Beat, who implored Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to step down.

Rounding out the mix of protest songs will be tracks from Steel Pulse, who sing about “Black and White Oppressors;” Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks who do a great cover of “The Immigrants;” Ziggy Marley singing about how he sees “Dem Fake Leaders;” and they’ll be a couple of tracks about walls (though, not about that “Wall”), by Piers Faccini and Zee Avi.


This week’s show isn’t all about protest music though. Since last week, we’ve been enjoying a bunch of new music--and that trend marches on. We’ll hear more from the new releases by Ladama and Ceu (we’re going through their respective albums track by track). For Ceu, we’ll hear the beautiful track “Coreto.” And we’ll check out a new debut from the Lebanese-American musician Naima Shalhoub and a reworking of an older song by Brazil’s Andre Abujamra

As for the rest of the two hours? Well, we’ll hear some great covers by the Icelandic musician Hafdis Huld and the Kansas City Latin band Making Movies

Naima Shalhoub
Naima Shalhoub

But wait--there’s more. We’ll have tracks from Michael Kiwanuka, Bomba Estereo, Peter Tosh, Bostitch & Fussible, Vieux Farka Toure and the great band from Kinshasa KoKoKo!

With all that, I implore you not to protest this week’s World Music Show, which you can hear at the new time of 6pm on VPM Music, 93.1 or 107.3FM locally in Richmond, Va. Or you can stream the show via this site. Plus, when the show airs, you can come check out live streaming track listings. 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @VPM_IanStewart and on Facebook (The World Music Show on VPM).