This Week’s Secret Word: Longevity
There used to be a time when musicians, particularly some well known Rock n' Rollers, sang about wanting to die before they got old; or they captured youth and music in such a way as to think that they were center of the universe. Ah, youth. On this week's World Music Show (9/1), we'll take that theme and turn it on it's head. We'll feature at least six bands and musicians who have deftly defied this axiom and have been able to profit--both musically, and albeit, financially (I guess. I mean, I don't have access to such things) from being able to maintain longevity. And to hear these musicians, you wouldn't even bother to think of age or anything of that nature, because good music is just good music, no matter where it hails from, right?
You'll be able to tell some of these stalwarts when I begin name-dropping them (if not, I'll be sure to point it out nonetheless), but until then, let's get a breakdown of the first hour. Brazilian music is always a good way to start off any show, I think. So, the first chunk of tunes will include a couple of tracks written by Caetano Veloso, but done by the likes of bands called Beirut, Of Montereal and Os Mutantes. These are alll featrued on a two-disc CD of remade Brazilian tunes that benefited charities fighting the AIDS crisis in South America. These are on the "Red Hot + Rio 2" CD, and it's a CD worth getting if you like snappy, smooth and fun music. Plus, it's has a ton of great musicians that you may have heard of on it, like Beck, David Byrne, and John Legend, just to name a few. Also featured in this first set will be music by Monica da Sliva, who is actually from Michigan, but you wouldn't know it unless you read the liner notes. Plus we'll also hear from the Latin band Brownout, who are actually touring the U.S. right now (and even opening a few shows for Jimmy Cliff--but more on him later).
So, what about this Longevity? Well, in another set in the first hour, we'll hear a classic from the South African singer Miriam Makeba, whose voice and talent has had some longevity (she died in 2008). And we'll have a little juxtaposition with tonight's theme when I play a couple of songs by a French trio of twenty-somethings who go by the name We Are Enfant Terrible. They love to use technology in many of their songs, which are catchy and fun to hear. And sticking in that mini-French vein, we'll hear a couple of classics from the 1960s from the artists Eileen (who does a fantastic cover of "These Boots are Made for Walking"), and Jacqueline Taieb, who has a fun song called "7 Heures du Matin," which is about a teenage girls fascination with Paul McCartney.
But, one of the main reasons for this week's theme is this band: Los Lobos. Talk about longevity! (note: I don't use exclamation points lightly, so you know I mean it). Since 1973, this multiple Grammy Award–winning American Chicano rock band from East Los Angeles, California has been churning out some really great music. Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music such as cumbia, boleros and norteños. And, they've fallen under the musical genres of Chicano rock, roots rock, Latin rock, Tex-Mex, Americana, heartland rock, and cowpunk. They've also had a couple of outstanding side projects, namely Latin Playboys and Los Super Seven. You can see that they really encomass quite a bit of musical history. Their big break came when they did a cover of the Richie Valens tune "La Bamba," and had a cross-over hit called "Will the Wolf Survive."
I'll follow them with another long-running Latin band, but this one is from Mexico. The band Cafe Tacvba have been playing music--with the same line-up since 1989. The recently headlined a massive weekend music festival that lasted for three days and drew in thousands of people.
And to round out the first hour and to continue the theme of longevity , you'll hear a couple of songs from the latest CD by Paul Simon, who at age 70, is still putting out (and touring with) some stellar music.
However, if you think that's all there is for this week's theme, then think again my friend. We'll kick-start hour two with another musician who just released a new CD after being in the business since the late 1960s. Jimmy Cliff was once at the forefront of the Reggae scene, capturing the spotlight with his monumental film "The Harder They Come." Off his new CD "Rebirth," Cliff shows that he still has what it takes to put out a fine album. And to keep that theme still going, I'll add a song by a long-running band from Jamaica who play a stye of music called Mento, which is been around since before Reggae. The Jolly Boys are true legends, complete with gravely voices, who do a great cover of the Iggy Pop song "Nightclubbing."
Is that enough in terms of longevity? Well, mixed in with the rest of hour two, will be a couple of tracks from another long-running, ever-changing musician who has led quite the career. David Byrne has worn many musical hats in his career and we'll hear a track off his Latin-influenced CD called "Rei Momo," as well as off another CD "Look into the Eyeball." He also has a new album coming out this month (which I hope to get and play here.)
So, if you appreciate the longevity of musicians or like the freshness of some new voices, this week's World Music Show has something for eveyone. But, you can make up your own mind. Tune in this Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio, 88.9FM or online via this website. You can follow me on Twitter @wcveworldmusic.