Juke Boxes of the World Unite!
One of the good things about this week's The World Music Show (3/2) is that not only do we get to bounce around the planet like we're playing musical hopscotch but they'll be times that we can also jump back and forth through the decades. And that's just what we're going to be doing on this week's show. It'll almost be like we're plugging numbers and letters in from an old style Juke Box that has songs from around the world.
We'll start on square one with a song from Senegal's Minister of Tourism and Culture, Youssou N'Dour. Though he's much more than that. He's a singer, percussionist, songwriter, composer, occasional actor, businessman and a politician. In 2004, Rolling Stone described him as, "perhaps the most famous singer alive" in Senegal and much of Africa. He's been in his current position since April 2012.
N'Dour helped to develop a style of popular Senegalese music known in the Serer language as mbalax, which derives from the conservative Serer music tradition of "Njuup." Also, he was the subject of the award-winning films "Return to Goree" and the film "Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love." N'Dour has also worked with a ton of other artists, including Peter Gabriel and Nenah Cherry. Off his CD called "Joko (the link)," which came out in 2000, we'll hear the song "Yama."
Other highlights to look for in the first hour include a track from Telek, who is from Papua New Guinea, and two cuts from a U2 tribute CD called "In the Name of Love/Africa Celebrates U2." We'll hear Vieux Farka Toure cover "Bullet the Blue Sky," and the Soweto Gospel Choir do a great, moving cover of "Pride in the Name of Love."
Now, about that "Juke Box" reference. I'll fess up. it comes from a song called "Juke Box," by the Italian singer Fred Buscaglione, who happens to be one of the most popular stars from the late 1950s. He was known for his persona, which was a lovable hoodlum with a weakness for women and whisky. In fact, he personified the laid-back, devil-may-care spirit of postwar Italy. His inspiration came from Clark Gable and Mickey Spillane. Besides being a screen star, Buscaglione was a devotee of American Jazz and Swing. Sadly and perhaps because of his fast-living lifestyle, Buscaglione died at the age of 40 when his crashed his pink Thunderbird into an oncoming truck early one morning back in 1960. In his song, "Juke Box," which was recorded in 1958, Buscaglione tells the story of a man who brings his love to a cafe, where they spend time along listening to the songs coming out of the new-fangled juke box.
In that same chunk of music, we'll stay in that same era, but instead, we'll head to France to hear from the singers Charlotte Leslie and France Gall. Then, after magically hitting another button, we'll move forward in time, but stay in France to hear from the former First Lady of France, Carla Bruni (I wonder is she'll agree to come on the show? Should I seek her out and ask?).
To close out the first hour, we'll head to East Los Angeles to hear a couple of songs from one of the longest running L.A. bands, Los Lobos, as well as from their side-project known as Latin Playboys. And in keeping in that same vein, we'll hear some hyped-up guitar music from the duo known as Rodrigo y Gabriella, who once fronted a Metal band, before changing up their style to genuflect the flamenco music. The end song will be fuzzy. What I mean to say is that it'll be a fuzz banana. Ok, really, it'll be some Brazilian guitar work, circa 1967-76, off a CD called "Fuzz Banana." We'll hear the song Lindo Sonho Delirante by Fabio (sadly, not the romance novel cover boy, though that would be funny).
I'm about done with the whole Juke Box analogy, but that doesn't meant that we won't keep the music lively or that we'll stop bouncing around. We'll begin hour two with some great cover songs--which to me are a great way to hear a different take on music I may have heard and/or memorized over decades. In this case, we'll hear a cover the Hall and Oates song song "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) done by female African trio known as Les Go. Then, from Benin, we'll hear the legendary Angelique Kidjo do her cover to the even more legendary Jimi Hendrix--the song she'll cover is Voodoo Child (Slight Return).
To keep this little theme going, we'll hear a mento-music take on a couple of songs by one of the longest running Mento bands, The Jolly Boys. Mento music, from Jamacia, has bee around longer than Reggae or Ska music and is primarily dancehall music. We'll hear their takes on the songs "The Passenger," orginally done by Iggy Pop, and the song "Nightclubbing," done first by Grace Jones. These guys have some great, gravely voices that add a nice texture to these songs. I'll end this set with a Joni Mitchell cover of her song "Dreamland," done by Brazilian Caetano Veloso.
Midway through the hour, we'll take a foray into some Asian music and hear some Asian rock by the band He Sheng, then some electronic beat music by Ja Sha Taan and Dj Cheb I Sabbah. Then to round out the show, we'll hear tracks from the multi-talented Beck (who if you get the chance, you need to search his cover of David Bowie's song "Sound & Vision," it's amazing!) as well as from the French trio We Are Enfant Terrible.
I may have missed a few tracks on this week's World Music Show Juke Box, but that's ok--you'll like everything you hear. The World Music Show aires Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio, 88.9FM or online via this website. You can follow the show on Twitter @wcveworldmusic