Cáfe Con Música
One of the many goals I have for the rest of my life--and I guess the newer terminology is now called "bucket list," is to visit as many cáfes as I can. You know, the kind with small outdoor tables that over look parts of the city or the countryside in some faraway country. I have this image or goal in mind for a few reasons. One is for the different tastes of coffee and espresso. The other is for the culture, the people, the sounds, smells, etc. But another reason is for the music. In my mind, at least, I imagine these cáfes as meeting places of rich music.
On this week's World Music Show (8/3), I'll try to capture that feeling. Becuase one of the benefits of music is that it can transport you to faraway places. I guess you could call it a mental "staycation." Our first stop will be to an Italian Cáfe (which is actually the name of the Putumayo CD). And for this visit, we'll go back in time to the 1950s. We'll hear the song 'Juke Box" from one of Italy's screen icons, Fred Buscaglione. Buscaglione was known for his persona as a lovable hoodlum with a weakness for women and whisky. He took is inspirations from Hollywood icons, Clark Gable and Mickey Spillane. He personified the laid-back, devil-may-care spirit of postwar Italy.
Also in this set will be a track from the Italian vocal foursome Quartetto Cetra. They started their career performing humorous songs for radio and eventually, they moved on to work in theater, film and television. In fact, some of their work was doing the Italian musical overdubs for such movies as Dumbo and The Wizard of Oz. Rounding out this first chunk o' music will be songs from the now-defunct Brazilian/New York trio who were known as Mosquitos and a couple of tracks from the very popular Brazilian siren Ceu.
Continuing that Brazilian theme (becuase it's such a minefield of good music), will be some powerful percussion from the region called Bahia. That area, at least on the musical map, is known for street festivals and for the style of music called Timbalada. This style of music, heavy in the rhythms of Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean sounds, created an international phenomenon, thanks to the imagination of Carlinhos Brown. Brown, by the way, took his last name from Soul legend James Brown. We'll hear a track from him as well as from Xexeu and Ze Raimundo.
For a nice pairing of Timbalada music, we'll go back in Brazilian time to hear some Fuzz Bananas. Ok, let me expand on that. It's actually fuzzy guitar sounds from Brazil circa 1967 - 1976. We'll hear from The Youngsters, who cover The Beatles (or really Ringo's) song of "I Wanna Be Your Man." And we'll hear from the artist Fabio--and as I like to point out, no, not the one of romance book jacket covers.
To end the first hour, we'll hear some live music from Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo, when she visited Boston's Guest Street venue. She'll do a great cover of the song "Move on Up," with the help of Branford Marsalis. Also featured will be songs from Mali's Habib Koite & Bamada as well as some great "riddim" music from Ecudorian/New Yorker Eljuri (who has some help from the Jamaican masters Sly & Robbie). Capping off the hour will be two tracks from the CD Cáfe Con Músic, specifically from The Pinker Tones who do a fun song called "The Whistling Song."
For hour two, we'll head to more cáfes, starting with some found in Agadez, NIger, also known as part of the Sahara Desert. I imagine sipping some strong Turkish espresso in the shade of a dusty cáfe. With this image in mind, we'll hear some great guitar work from Omara "Bombino" Moctar, who is a young Tuareg guitarist and songrwriter. Through his playing, you can hear echoes of fellow Africans Tinariwen (who we'll also hear from), Ali Farka Toure, as well as rock and blues icons Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page. We'll end this Nigerian chunk with a trip in the way-back machine, to the 1970s, to hear some Highlife and Afrobeat music from Sir Shina Peters & His International Stars.
Other highlights, though, not necessarily cáfe-inspired images, will be songs from Mick Jagger and Peter Tosh (doing a "World Hit"), the Gipsy Kings (doing another "World Hit"), the French trio Nouvelle Vague (who are known for doing some stellar covers of 80s tunes), and from the band Domenico + 2.
To end the show, and to keep this cáfe theme going, we'll hear some live music featuring a duet between David Byrne and Caetano Veloso (and wouldn't that be cool to hear and see these two in a cáfe setting?); as well some music from Michael Franti and Spearhead (who I bet you could run into if you were in a cáfe in Oakland, Ca); and a surprise track from...Hmm, I'll keep it a surprise.
So, who's with me? Let's all book our travel plans and go around the world, sipping espresso while listening to local music. The World Music Show can be heard Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on 88.9FM WCVE or online via this site. You can follow the show via Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.