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This is a Journey into Sound

Angelique Kidjo

It'll be a combination of African music on this week's World Music Show (1/23). From Afro-Latino to Afro-Portuguese to African Blues, we'll dip our toe into the pool of beautiful sounds that this continent has to offer. Plus, we'll also check out some strong female voices from around the globe as well as some Asian Groove music.

We've got a lot of ground to cover on this week's show, so let's get hopping. In the first first few chunks of music it'll be an exploration of African combinations. Starting it all will be these two tracks of Afro-Latino music. Off a Putumayo compilation called "Afro-Latino," we'll hear from Tam-Tam 2000, who are a Portuguese-African band from Cape Verde. The song called "Me Vuelvo Guarjro,"  is a Cuban Dance track telling the beauty of the countryside, women and the pleasures of dance. I'll follow that with the song "Yay Boy" by the Senegalese band Africando, which features the raspy voice of vocalist Papa Seck. Then off another Putumayo compilation--this one called "Afro-Portuguese," we'll hear a song by the Angolan musician Ruy Mingas that is an homage to his Uncle. Also in there too will be the song "Maldeyeni" by the multigenerational band Mabulu, who are from Mozambique.

Continuing the "African Odyssey"--and oddly enough, that's the title of yet another Putumayo compilation--we'll check out a song called "The Well" by the artist Seydu. Seydu, who is from Sierra Leone, grew up listening to the Fullah and Mandingo songs of his mother, which included drums played by his grandparents. He learned music and eventually moved to Spain, where he became a percussionist. In the song "The Well," you'll hear the sounds of the Sanza, a thumb piano with metal tines. Following him will be the song "Sou" by the trio of female singers from the Ivory Coast, known as Les Go. And mixed inside this chunk of tunes will be some African Blues music.

Now, I'm not trying to compete with John & Henry and their fabulous Time for the Blues show (heard at 11pm right after the Electric Croude), but I've managed to find a couple of African Blues tracks that could blend in nicely on their show. One song, called "Djamakoyo," is by Adama Yalomba. And another is the song "Ni Koh Bedy," by the band Mali Latino, who are from Mali and Great Britain. The Kora player in that track was the the younger brother of Toumani Diabate, whose name is Madou. And these tracks can be found on even another Putumayo CD, this aptly called "African Blues."

We're not quite done traveling around the African continent. I'll feature the legendary Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo. She is just a powerhouse of a singer. She's worked with everyone from Bono, to Diane Reeves and Branford Marsalis to Dr. John. Off her CD called "Eve," here are the songs "M'baamba" also known as the Kenyan Song, and the song "Hello," which features Trio Teriba.

You know, it's always nice to showcase some powerful female voices in one set. The kicker though, is not to dub it "ladies night," because you'll sound like an idiot and demean their talent--good thing I won't do that. Also in the set with Kidjo, we'll hear the song "Wa," by Kaissa, who is from Cameroon. And we'll hear the song "Sunnyroad," by Emilana Torrini, who is from Iceland & Italy--not bad places..I wonder where she spends her summers. And rounding out that trifecta was the song "Menvoyer Des Fleurs," by Sandrine Kiberlain, who is from France.

So, every couple dozen shows or so, I need to play a couple of songs off one of my favorite Paul Simon CDs...and let me tell you, his latest one, called "So Beautiful or So What," is just as strong as "Graceland" and "Rhythm of the Saints" in that he still uses many of the South African musicians he worked with way back then. Plus, he uses some great sounding African instruments such as the Kora. We'll close the show with his song "Dazzling Blue," which he wrote for his wife, singer Edie Brickell.

For the second hour, in which there was a slight theme, you can think of hour two has having a couple of mini-themes. However, any aforementioned themes will actually start after this first set. Kicking off this hour is a trio who begins every World Music Show. I'm talking about the Brazilian band BossaCucaNova. These guys are very adept at taking classic Brazilian tunes and reworking them using two turntables and a microphone--wait, that's Beck. They actually just make some classic songs their own. Off their Latest CD, which now came out 2 years ago, called "Our Kind of Bossa," we'll check out the songs "Adeus America," which features Os Cariocas and the song "Balanca," which features Cris Delano.

In an odd twist of tracks, you'll be able to hear that Bossa Nova music with some Irish music--however, it won't be your typical Irish music. We'll check out two tracks from the Chieftains off their Latin-infused CD called "San Patricio," which was produced and features Ry Cooder. It tells the story of the San Patricio battalion - a group of Irish immigrant volunteer soldiers who deserted the U.S. Army in 1846 to fight on the Mexican side in the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). The album features collaborations with Cooder and even with Linda Ronstadt (in what remains her most recent commercial recording). Off that we'll hear the songs "El Chivo" and "La Iquana," which features Lila Downs.

Now the mini-themes begin. From the Putumayo label (yes, I have a ton of them), off a CD called "Baila!," which features Latin Dance music, dance to the song "Mua Mua Mua" by Raul Paz, then boogie to the song "Bones Bugalu," by Gabriel Rios. These are both salsa-Cumbia infused tracks. And if you stick around for the whole set, your feet are going to start tapping. Because the whole chunk of music will be dance music from a few different regions of the globe. We'll hear some French-Caribbean music out of Martinique a song called "Change la mi Mwen," which means "I want to Change My Life--I'm in Love!" And we'll hear an Arabic electronic dance music from Aisha Kandisha's Jarring Effects--the song is called "A Muey Muey." Plus, also in here too will be the song "Escucha el Ritmo" by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

All right now it's time for our second mini-theme of the hour. This one is called Asian Groove/Asian Electronic music. Kicking this set off will be Badar Ali Kahn with the track called "Black Night." And it's the DJ Baba G & Dan the Automator Remix, in case you were wondering. I'll follow that with the multi-instrumentalist Karsh Kale doing the song "Free Fall," off his CD called "Broken English." Then off a CD called "Asian Massive," we'll hear the song "Raja Vedalu" by the late DJ Cheb I Sabbah, who was a master DJ and musician.

For the last mini-theme of the hour--well, wait, it's not a theme, but rather what's called a "two-fer," in radio jargon. These means it's two songs by one artist or band. We'll hear from The Police with the song "Masoko Tanga," which to me has hints of Worldly beats in it, and we'll hear the song "Hungry For You," which to me counts as World Music, since they sung it in French. My show, my rules, right? Anyway, The Police often infused their music with world beats like Ska or Reggae or African drums--that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The World Music Show appears over the airwaves every Saturday night at 8pm on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9FM and is streamed online in case you live somewhere else on the planet and get tune in locally. Plus, you can get show updates and banter via Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.