So Nice (Summer Samba)
I love the irony. When I picked the selections for this week's World Music Show (7/27), Richmond was in the midst of it's usual summer humidity hoe-down. You know, sweltering heat, possible chance of rain and thunderstorms every day. But as I write this week's World Music Blog, we're on the second day of really, incredible weather. We're talking no humidity, mid-to-upper 70-temperatures--the kind of weather that, say, if you were at a drive-in theater, you'd maybe need a sweatshirt! And it's the end of July.
So, what does this ironic twist of weather fate have to do with the World Music Show? Well, this week's pseudo-theme is about taking a musical vacation in order to escape the usual humidity-laden days we're accustomed to here in RVA. Now, I know this week's theme can still pass muster, since after all it is summer and we all know that these couple of beautiful days won't last long. And with that thought, let's dive into this week's summer-themed show.
To kick things off, we'll head over to Brazil to hear a couple of tunes from some Brazilian royalty. Ok, not royalty in that sense. I'm talking about the musical legacy of a powerful Brazilian family whose music has touched generations of not only Brazilians, but of all nationalities across the globe. The name Gilberto carries some heft in the language of Bossa Nova, Samba and Tropicalia music. Let's start with João Gilberto, who is a Brazilian singer and guitarist. His seminal recordings, including many songs by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, established the new musical genre of Bossa Nova (which means "new style") in the late 1950s. Gilberto's work became world famous when he partnered with Jazz pioneer Stan Getz.
Gilberto kept the music coming, even after his marriage to the singer Miúcha. While working in New York for a few years, they gave birth to a daughter, named Bebel. Besides that direct lineage, her uncle is singer/composer Chico Buarque, who is a famous singer, guitarist, composer, dramatist, writer and poet in Brazil. And, though you may think that she is related to the singer Astrud Gilberto, she is not (Astrud divorced João before Bebel was born). All this is just a long way of saying that you'll hear a couple of nice Samba songs from Bebel Gilberto off her award-winning CD "Tanto Tempo."
Also featured in this first chunk of music, will be a new song from a Florida-based Brazilian band called A Kiss for Rio. And, we'll keep it local by hearing some Fado music from the band Fado Nosso. And since this type of music really fits in well with a summer night, we'll hear a tad more Brazilian music, including tracks from Seu Jorge (doing two David Bowie cover songs) and a great cover of a Joni Mitchell song by Caetano Veloso.
Let me ask you this. In some small way, do you associate the ukulele with Summer? You may think of it as a strictly Hawaiian instrument, but it's actually played all around the globe. We'll hear it done Malaysian style by the lovely Zee Avi (see picture), who not only plays it well, but she has the sweetest voice, too. We'll end the first hour with new song by Malian blues guitarist Vieux Farka Toure, who has a new CD coming out and who is currently touring the US.
For hour two, this musical vacation will continue. But like all really unique vacations, it'll take a few left turns and hopefully allow you to explore some regions perhaps you haven't been to before, at least musically speaking.
We'll start off with some heavy Asian and Arabian and vibes in which you'll hear mixes of traditional music mixed with funk, electronica and a little bit of soul. First up will be a remix of a song by Badar Ali Khan called "Black Night," which was remixed by a popular Eastern DJ known as Baba G. From there, we'll glide over to hear some Arabic Breakbeats, which is both a band name and a theme. And to round out this first chunk o' music, we'll hear contemporary music from the North Africa and the Middle East by the singer Abdy and the singer Dania, who was once a very popular Video DJ in Lebanon.
And since this is a summer-themed, musical vacation type of show, I'd be remiss if I didn't feature a section of music that mixed a little bit of Reggae and Ska music. For this chunk, we'll go way back--well, sort of way back, to the mid 1980s. I'll start with some now classic Ziggy Marley when he fronted the Melody Makers, which are basically his siblings. We'll hear something off their early CD called "One Bright Day." Also mixed into this set will be tracks from Peter Tosh, UB40 and the English Beat.
To bring it all back home, we'll end this week's show with cuts from Seun Kuti (when partnered with producer Brian Eno), Michael Franti and Spearhead. And to cap it off, we'll end the show with some Brazil Hip Hop, which is a nice book-end to the more mellow start of the show.
So whether you've taken some vacation or not, I hope this two-hour musical vacation--despite whatever the weather is--will give you some respite during this end of July. 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.