Here Comes the Beat
That's right. Here comes the beat, along with Ska, harmonies and some desert guitar music. In fact, this week's World Music Show (2/20) could be titled or sub-titled: Beats, Ska & Harmonies (as a reference to the Rap band with a similar name).
But this is just the tip of the drumstick my friends.
Because coming up on this week's show will be some new electronic Tabla Beat music from Karsh Kale as well as some more fabulous harmonies from Trio Mandili, and we'll head to the desert region of Mali to hear some blues guitar music from Bombino and Tinariwen. Plus, thrown in to the rest of the show will be some not-so-classic Ska music as well as a foray in the world of movie soundtracks to pull out some worldly and not-so-worldly beats.
Well, from that intro, you can tell that I have quite a bit of music to unload into your ears, so let's buckle up. First up--literally and figuratively, will be some new music from the multi-instrumentalist Karsh Kale. He has a new CD out called "Up," which is his fifth studio release on the Six Degrees label. And on it, he goes back to his roots, to the music that inspired him to become a musician. His last release, 'Cinema' (2011) came out just as the indie scene in India picked up, which propelled Karsh into the centre of what became India’s indie revolution. As Karsh continued to divide his time between Brooklyn – where he was a father and an established musician, and Mumbai – where he was hosting TV shows and headlining festivals with the Karsh Kale Collective – the constant friction of the two worlds gave rise to the idea of "UP." The sounds are pure Kale, too, melodic, ethereal and at times moving. Off that, we'll hear two songs: "Thin Line of Blue," followed by the song "Wake."
Paired with Kale will be a really nice world music cover of a Joni Mitchell song. That's right, I said a Joni Mitchell song. It's the song "Dreamland," done Brazilian style by Caetano Veloso. That can be found on a nice Joni MItchell tribute CD, that features one of my favorite covers of "Edith and the Kingpin," done by Elvis Costello, though there's another great version of that song too, done by Tina Turner on a Herbie Hancock CD called "Rivers."
Before I start another chunk of music, did you happen to check out the show a couple of weeks ago? If you did, then you may have heard a couple of songs from this next trio. The all-women group Trio Mandili, who are from the country of Georgia, have recently captured the love of people all over the globe. Why? Well, they took YouTube by storm with a couple of songs they did in which they sang some of their country's national songs--not a big deal right? Well, those songs are usually done by men. Plus, they've embraced this digital age by producing some cute videos. From their YouTube success, they were able to create a CD, called "With Love." Off of that, we'll check out the songs "Qrizantemebi," and "Chito-Gvrito."
In fact, the who set of music led by Trio Mandili will be filled with some great female musicians. We'll end with the singer Somi, whose song "Four.one.nine," can be found on her CD called "The Lagos Music Salon." Before her, from Austin, Texas, we'll hear a couple of songs from a new LP by Carrie Rodriquez and the Sacred Hearts. The CD, called "Lola," features a nice mix of Spanish and alt-country type of songs. Off that, we'll check out the songs "Llano Estacado" and the song "Perfidia."
We'll next go from the wide openness of Texas and head the desert regions of Western Africa to hear some guitar driven blues music. Kicking off this chunk of music will be a Tuareg guitarist and songwriter from Agadez, Niger named Bombino. When he burst upon the scene some years ago, he was compared to the likes of Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Jonny Lee Hooker. In his music, you can hear echoes of fellow Africans Ali Farka Toure and Tinariwen. Bombino was raised during an era of armed struggles for independence in his country. You can hear traces of these struggles in these songs "The Desert My Home," and "My Brothers United." I'll follow him with more desert Blues music from the band Tinariwen, who are from Mali.
And just for kicks, I'll throw in a throwback to the legend that is Harry Belafonte. Off a greatest hits CD we'll hear one of my favorites called "Angelina." Sometimes I wish I grew up during the heyday of going to dinner clubs to hear people like him and Desi Arnaz. Everyone gets all dressed up and heads out--sounds pretty cool to me.
Speaking of cool, we'll take a dip back in time, but not too far, to hear some Ska music. Well, it's not your classic Ska, nor is it your Frat Ska, as I like to call it. Instead it's the revitalized Ska that started cropping up back in the late 70s and early 80s, when the Brits took the Jamaican style and added their own touches to it. Here's one of the most popular bands to come out during that time, The English Beat. And, depending on where you heard them, they actually went by a few different names. In Great Britain, they were just The Beat, while in Australia, they were the British Beat and here in the U.S., The English Beat. In any case, they mastered the Two-Tone Ska music that was all the rage. The band, led by Dave Wakeling, is still touring, with only Wakeling being one of the originals. Here is the song "Hands off...She's Mine" followed by the song "Rough Rider."
For the second hour of the show, I'm going to take a left turn or do a 180 and go in a wacky direction. I don't know just what the what I was thinking when I pulled together tracks for this hour. In fact, I may be stretching the bounds of what World Music is--if I do, just let me know either way--applaud me or send me a not so mean tweet.
All right, let's dive in. In my vast personal CD collection (which I'm actually saying tongue in cheek), I have a few choice soundtrack CDs from films I really liked or that I liked the soundtracks to even better. I've got the standard "Oh Brother Where Art Thou," and the standard "Pulp Fiction," but I also have the one to the movie "Clay Pigeons." Sadly, none of these work in this format. The ones I have for this first chunk of tunes sort of do. First, off the Wim Wenders film "Until the End of the World," which was a great film, here's T-Bone Burnett's song "Humans from Earth," which to me is as good a start as anything to this odd hour.
Also mixed into this odd set, will be a couple of songs from the soundtrack to the John Cusack film "Grosse Pointe Blank," we'll hear the songs "El Matador," by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs; the song "Armagideon Time," by the Clash and the song "Pressure Drop," done there by the Specials, though done originally done by Toots & the Maytels. Also thrown in here too will be the song "Rue St. Vincent" by Yves Montand, which was in the film "Rushmore." Good stuff, right?
As mentioned, this hour is a little wacky. And when I was staring at my rack of CDs, I wanted to do and hear some different things. And often, I like to pluck 80s alternative bands and look for tracks in which they dove into the pool of World Music. Case in point, we'll hear an early song from the Talking Heads. Off their CD "Fear of Music," which came out in 1979 and was produced by Brian Eno, we'll check out the song "I Zimbra." Now, when you hear this, I want you to put yourself back in that year and with the title of the CD mind, think of how bold this song could have been. Remember the music that was exploding all over the radios at the time, from Disco ending to Punk to the start of New Wave, the Heads threw in this world beat song.
Now, if you follow this show, you already know that I love cover songs done World Music style. But I also love remixes of songs done with World Beats too. In fact, I seem to remember a time when many bands put out a song, then months later, a remix would appear or an extended mix. So, mixed in with that Head's track will be some Talking Head remixes, namely of the songs "Blind," which was the Deaf Dub & Blind Mix; and the song "Ruby Dear," which was the Bush Mix.
Continuing this odd journey into sounds that you may not associate as World Music, we'll hear yet another 80s band that at least one time, dipped their guitars or drums into the World Music hot tub. This is the great 80s band XTC, who were often hailed as doing smart pop or something like that. Off their CD "English Settlement," we'll hear the song "It's Nearly Africa." Partnering with them will be a Peter Gabriel song. Now, before you get too technical, the Peter Gabriel song "Only Us," off the great CD "Us," does feature all "World" musicians on it, which brings an air of World Beats to the song. Also in this chunk of tunes, will be two by The Beatles, which do in fact have some World Music street cred to them. Off "Revolver," we'll groove to the song "Tomorrow Never Knows," which was a great exploration of sound and studio mayhem, preceded by the George Harrison song "Love to You," which shows off this then skilled sitar playing was well as the Tabla drum on it (nice how the Tabla shows up again).
To close out the show, I'll continue stretching the bounds of World Music, somewhat. But you'll have to tune in. The World Music Show airs every Saturday night from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE. You can get show updates via Twitter @wcveworldmusic and via Facebook by looking for The World Music Show on WCVE.