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A Musical Travelogue

On this week’s World Music Show (10/1), we’ll create a travelogue of musical souvenirs, with highlights in alternative Portuguese tunes, as well as some Rock-n-Roll tracks out of Russia. Plus, we’ll hear a melding of African & Brazilian music, as well as some groovy Gypsy songs.

Let’s get the trip going with a couple of tracks off a wonderful CD of alternative Portuguese music, put on the Red Hot Label, as in the same label that puts out Red Hot + Rio, or Red Hot + Fela, etc. On this outing, it’s called Onda Sonora Red Hot + Lisbon. And when I say alternative, I mean, it’s not filled with classical Portuguese music but rather with bands and combinations that are just a tad risky or experimental. The Red Hot people, by the way, put these compilations together in order to raise awareness and money to fights the AIDS epidemic in third world countries. As for their combinations, we’ll kick it off with a good one, with Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso and American David Bryne doing their song “Dreamworld,” which also appears on the Red Hot + Rio 2 CD. This track also features Carlinhos Brown on percussion. I’ll follow that with a song that actually features Carlinhos Brown and Marisa Monte called “Mulemba Xangola.”

Then from New York by way of Brazil, we’ll hear the band Forro in the Dark. Apparently, they became a band because they were all expats of Brazil. Well, at one of their gigs at a bar in New York, one of their guests in the audience, was David Byrne, hence the track called “Asa Branca.” I see a little theme forming here with Byrne…stay tuned. 

So I’ve been searching through the lost and found box here in the studio and I came across this CD. It’s from the Buena Vista Social Club, and ironically it’s called Lost & Found—ok, not ironically, since we have no lost and found box. But either way, the disc is filled with leftover tracks and live performance recordings that were literally found years after their breakthrough CD. Off of this, we’ll check out are the songs “Tiene Sabor,” and “Black Chicken 37.” More souvenirs to add to your travelogue!

Added into the this juncture of tunes, which is of a Latin nature, we’ll hear some pumped up Chilean Cumbia music from the band Chico Trujillo, who were first known as a Punk/Ska group in Chile. They were known to cover old Chilean songs in that genre of music—which sounds cool to me. You can find these two tracks, “Playas Marinas,” and “Abajo deal Bote,” on their CD called Renia de Todas las Fiestas.

Time to stamp your passport or add another notch to your souvenir booklet—I’m not sure how travel really works—I’m more of a road trip kind of person. Let’s head to Russia now to hear some Rock n Roll from one of their most popular bands and singers. The band DDT were known for their outspoken lyrics and songs, which often criticized the government. These were written by Yuri Shevchuk, who also plays solo. Off their 1995 CD called That’s All, we’ll play the song “Life’s in Place.” I’ll follow that with an acoustic solo performance by Shevchuk with a live song called “Paris.” He’s been compared over the years to musicians such as Bob Dylan and John Lennon.

My my, what an interesting chunk of music this set will be! From Slovenia, we’ll also hear the band Magnifico & Turbolentza with the song that roughly translates to “I am not for you.” And before them, from Cyprus, we’ll hear the band Monsieur Doumani with the song “Out of Touch Guy,” off their CD called Grippy Grappa. These guys sound like they too much fun.

And speaking of fun, here’s someone who may have been a hoot—well, I’m just guessing. He may have been a little too pompous or a jerk to hang around with. But whatever he was, the French musician Serge Gainsbourg covered a lot of ground, both musically and artistically, writing music, books and for film. And as for that jerk comment, here’s his take on it. We’ll hear the song “Requiem for a Jerk,” followed by his endorsement of the “Ford Mustang.”

Then to add to bowl of French-ness, we’ll hear a couple of tracks off a great French compilation CD put out on the Luaka Bop label called Cuisine non-stop. We’ll check out the songs “Au Banquet de Chasseurs,” which is something about Banquet hunters, by the band Java. And we’ll hear the song “Un P’tit Air,” or a “Little Air” by the band Tetes Raides.

For the second hour, it’ll be more great music, you know, so we can complete our musical travelogue and fill up that souvenir booklet. Ah, metaphors..anyway, there’s some good stuff afoot, so let’s get rolling or spinning. First up, a couple of week’s ago, I picked up this CD at Plan 9 in Carytown, in the used section of course, and it’s a mixed CD filled with music that highlights African contributions to the Brazilian culture, since Africans have been a part of that culture for years because of slavery. In fact this CD is a big nod to the remnants of Slavery. Off the CD called Afros e Afoxes da Bahia here are the songs “Male Debale,” which translates to “Happy Blacks” by Lazzo and the track “Ile-Aiye,” which means “Land of Life.” by Paulinho Feijao.

And speaking of compilations, we’ll also listen to a couple of tracks off what is a really nice series of compilation CDs. The label known as Rough Guide puts out CDs (and books), called “Rough Guide to”…for instance Scotland, or European music, Asian music, etc. In this case, the last two songs in this set are a CD about Africa. We’ll hear the songs “Wa Mulendu” by the Kasai Allstars, which featured help from the band Congotronics, who plug in their Kalimbas or thumb pianos. And we’ll hear the song “Leroy,” by the famous drummer Tony Allen (who drummed for Fela Kuti and help invent Afrobeat) and the DJ Tweak.

Let’s wind down the tempo a bit with some beautiful guitar work by the late Ali Farka Toure. It’s been about 10 years since his passing, but his musical legacy lives on. Off his CD called Talking Timbuktu, I’ll play the song “Soukora,” followed by a collaboration he did with the Kora player Toumani Diabate. Their song is called “Doudou,” or “Sweet.”

Then, from Kinshasa—both literally and figuratively, we’ll hear from the multitalented ensemble band Mbongwana Star doing the songs “Masobele” and “Shegue,” Their CD is called From Kinshasa.” They recently played a show in CD, wish I could have gone.

After that, it’s time to go local. From RVA, we’ll hear from Mighty Joshua, who if you don’t know, just got back from a great trip to Kenya in which he walked about 100 miles or so, after raising money to help schools. And while he was there, he also got to play some live shows with a band he found by placing an ad on Craigslist. He’s working on a new CD and he just played a show in Charlottesville. I had him in the studio, before his trip to Kenya, for my segment called A Different Spin…I want to get him back in to talk to us about his trip. We’ll hear the song “Jah Calling.”

Rounding out the show will be some fun music from The English Beat’s CD I Just Can’t Stop It. They’re coming to RVA this month, to the National on the 20th. I’m trying to get Dave Wakling into the studio—you can help! Find them on Facebook and Twitter and talk me up. Paired with them (in this set, not on their tour—though that would be GREAT), will be two songs by the Specials, who, like the beat, are still touring. And we’ll close the show with how we started it, with some David Byrne.


Now that your musical souvenir booklet and travelogue is full, it’s time to say that The World Music Show airs every Saturday night from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Richmond Public Radio, 88.9 WCVE. Follow the show on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE and on Twitter @wcveworldmusic. Plus, stream the show live and get live track listings as they’re happening on this website.