An Odyssey of Beats
Get ready, because on this week's World Music Show (8/11), the thumps, bumps and rhythms of worldy beats are going to fill your speakers. That's right, whether you're listening to the show on a fine-tuned stereophonic gizmo, or you're dialed up via your clock or car radio, you're going to want to turn that volume up just a hair past where you normally may listen.
Why this proclamation? Well, I know how you're feeling. The heat. It's weighing you down, making you drag your feet and even feel a little loopy, right? So what's a better remedy than some beats from all over this fine, upstanding planet? Trust me, you'll see.
To start off, we'll begin on the Ivory Coast with the female trio known as Les Go. The girls, which is what "Les Go" means in local slang, was formed in 1991 by the director of the famed music/theater/dance company L'Ensemble Koteba d'Abidjan, which is one of Africa's premier cultural institutions. In their song "Sou (The Night)," you'll hear them blend both traditional and popular music. If you listen for the main riff of the song, you'll hear the four-stringed n'goni (which is a lute-like instrument) being played. Plus, they'll be some traditional Malian flutes mixed in with eletronic drum beats, too.
Also in that set will be a couple of tunes off the first Playing for Change CD, which are songs recorded live by musician from around the world. It's a great organization that not only captures a unique take on many a popular song, but they give back to the many communities in which they record in. Also, wedged in there too will be songs from the Dominican Republic, with the singer Luis Vargas, and a tune by female singer Toto la Momposina, who is from Columbia.
All of those songs only make up the first chunk of the first hour. In another chunk of music (or "sets" as the pros call them), the beats will change into a Brazilian tone. We'll hear from someone who has a nice, Brazilian, independent music pedigree that has given her some "street cred." Tita Lima grew up in a musical family. But the "street cred" comes from her bass-playing father who just happens to be in one of Brazilians most popular bands--Os Mutantes. Lima has left the beats of Brazil and moved to Los Angeles, where she's made her own blend of bossa nova, acoustic soul and electronica a staple of L.A. life. In fact her music has grown to be internationally known by DJ's around the globe.
Included in that Brazil beats set will be a nice acoustic song by a Brazilian who lives in France, and has been influenced by the likes of Gilberto Gil, Jorge Ben, Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley. Marcello works regularly in Paris with many Brazilian Ex-pats. Added to those two tracks will be songs from the band Banda Uniao Black as well as a couple of tracks off of the terrific compilation CD "Red Hot + Rio 2," done by Beck and Alice Smith.
To close out the hour, I'll make the world topsy-turvy by playing some acoustic music from France, followed by some sort-of-acoustic music from Scotland by the bands Capercaillie and Keltik Elektrik.
That first hour alone can stand on it's own merits. But, as many a late night infomercial decries "But wait! There's more!" That's right, hour two will be just as good as the first hour--in fact, it could even go head to head with hour one.
We'll start the set with Oakland, Ca-based singer Michael Franti and his band Spearhead. His last CD, "The Sound of Sunshine," has some really great tunes on it, including one called "Shake it," that features the singer Lady Saw. And in that same chunk o' music, you'll also hear tunes from Ziggy Marley, doing a song with both Jack Johnson and Paula Fuga, as well another song with him and Toots Hibbert. Plus, I'll play a nice break-up song by Malaysian Zee Avi (trust me, listen to the lyrics, it's a fun song).
In another set of music, we'll switch from the above mellower vibe to one of an electronic-beat nature. I'll includes tracks from Germany's Mo'Horizons as well from Pakistan's Badar Ali Kahn and DJ Baba G. Plus, I'll play a really up-tempo, beat-infused song by India's Karsh Kale, who is a master of technologically crafted songs.
If all that weren't enough, I'll also feature a great set that teams up David Byrne, Caetano Veloso (both playing solo and together in live concerts), as well as Bjork and Paul Simon. So, if you feel like taking an odssey of beats, then this week's World Music Show should be right up your alley.
The World Music Show aires Saturday Nights at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio, 88.9FM or online at this website. If you'd like to keep abreast of world beats, follow me on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.