July 21, 2021

Charts July 13-19, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten 
1 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
2 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | At Pioneer Works | Sahel Sounds
3 DAG TENERE | Iswat [EP] | Nomada
4 MINYO CRUSADERS | Live At Le Guess Who? | Mais Um
5 URUTAU | "Oracao (feat Iuri Resende)" [Single] | Cena Cerrado
6 LOGA | "C'est La Vie (feat Valeria Sattamini)" [Single] | self-released
7 GANKINO CIRCUS | "Schock" [Single] | Beste! Unterhaltung
8 HAILU MERGIA AND THE WALIAS BAND | Tezeta | Awesome Tapes From Africa
9 META AND THE CORNERSTONES | "Breeze" [Single] | self-released
10 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa

July 17, 2021

Sayonara tomodachi

I don't play a lot of music from Japan on this program.  Fortunately for WRIR listeners, you have Banji Kaicho to more than cover for me: two hours of Japanese music of any genre, hosted by Freddie J, right before Global A Go-Go every week, Mondays at 1 PM.
 
But somehow this week I went down a Japanese cumbia rabbit hole.  I was chasing Minyo Crusaders, whose album Live At Le Guess Who? was released earlier this month, and I was wondering about other Japanese bands playing cumbia.  Turns out there's a lot of them!  I've chosen a few of my favorites to share with you on this episode.

Also this week (Monday July 19, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): new Brazilian rock, the return of Balkan brass bangers, and an all-African second hour featuring desert blues, juju, highlife and Afro-funk.

July 13, 2021

Charts Jun 29 - Jul 12, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 OKUTE | Okuté | Chulo
2 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
3 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
4 LAS CAFETERAS | "La Sirena" [Single] | ONErpm
5 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | Dost 1 | Light In The Attic
6 CONKARAH | "Papaya (Sick Wit It Crew mix)" [Single] | BMG
7 SOFI TUKKER X AMADOU AND MARIAM | "Mon Cheri" [Single] | Red Hot
8 MOH ALILECHE | Humanity Is Falling Apart | Flag Of Freedom Productions
9 PHIRPO Y SUS CARIBES | "Comencemos (Let's Start)/Mi Moooto" | Matasuna
10 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists | El Palmas

July 9, 2021

Happy 40th, Plan 9!

(photo by Tom Campagnoli)

On July 11, 1981, Plan 9 Records opened for business at 2901 W. Cary Street in Richmond's Carytown neighborhood, backed by $1,200 in tax refund money and stocked with the consigned records of the owners and their friends.

It's rare for an independent record store to stay in business for 40 years.  And a few things have changed in their industry since then: the death and rebirth of the LP; the birth and death of the CD; the birth, death and rebirth of the cassette; competition from national and international mega-retailers; the rise and fall of Napster and file-sharing; the digital music revolution and the rise of streaming services.

Somehow Plan 9 has survived it all, not to mention a few recessions including a doozy in 2008, more store moves than you can count, expansion and contraction, even a bankruptcy filing.  40 years later, Plan 9 is still Richmond's premier indie record store and in many ways it's just like the store it was when it first opened.

I speak from experience on this last point, since I was one of Plan 9's early customers.  I stumbled across the store in about September of 1981, and if I hadn't found it I probably would have moved out of Richmond and never returned.  Plan 9 introduced me to Richmond's independent music community, which back then was pretty far underground but nowadays has moved from the basement to the penthouse of Richmond's cultural scene, thanks in no small part to the persistence of Plan 9.

This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday July 12, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site), I'm going to play some of the international recordings I bought at Plan 9 in their first three years of business.  These were the albums that set me on the path I'm on today; these are the records that invented the idea of Global A Go-Go.

And I'll be joined in Studio A by Plan 9's co-founder and owner Jim Bland (on the left in the photo above; on the right is co-founder Pedie Kurzman).  In between musical selections, Jim and I will talk about Plan 9 and the Richmond music community then and now, why Plan 9 was selling African, Caribbean and Latin records way back then, and why the directive "Bathe" used to be posted over the front door, among other things.  We're going to have a great time and I think you will too if you tune in.
 
For more about Plan 9's 40th anniversary, here's a Facebook group for the milestone filled with photos, video and stories from staffers and customers: facebook.com/groups/1402410666792334.  Harry Kollatz Jr. has a terrific feature in this month's Richmond Magazine: richmondmagazine.com/news/features/a-matter-of-records.  And Brent Baldwin put Plan 9's 40th on the cover of Style Weekly's annual Music Issue back in April: styleweekly.com/richmond/look-whos-40/Content?oid=17316524.

July 3, 2021

Everybody on the floor

This time on Global A Go-Go it's nuthin' but a global dance party: two continuous hours of music, spanning 30 countries and six decades, that will put your hands up in the air.  To paraphrase my WRIR colleague Mr. Jazz, it's all platter and less chatter.  And as my WRIR colleague DJ Graybeard always says: Crank it up and share with your neighbors.  Are you with me?

This week's program (Monday July 5, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site) was inspired by my sister-in-law, who recently became the first woman to serve as president of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration.
 
To kick off her term as president, and to introduce herself to the arbitrators, attorneys and staffers from over 100 countries that make up the Court, she asked me to create a two-hour mixtape that would get a wide variety of people up and dancing.  Everybody on the floor!

June 30, 2021

Charts June 22-28, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten 
1 HAMDI BENANI, MEDHI HADDAB AND SPEED CARAVAN | Nuba Nova | Buda Musique
2 LAS CAFETERAS | "La Sirena" [Single] | ONErpm
3 ZANZIBARA VOLUME 10 | various artists | Buda Musique
4 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
5 MOH ALILECHE | Humanity Is Falling Apart | Flag Of Freedom Productions
6 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
7 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists | El Palmas
8 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
9 INNOV GNAWA | Lila | Daptone
10 JUPITER AND OKWESS | Na Kozonga | Everloving

June 27, 2021

L'ange blanc du malouf

Hamdi Benani was dubbed "l'ange blanc du malouf" (the white angel of malouf) for his white violin and matching suit, and for bringing Arab-Andalusian malouf music around the world.  Supposedly he was given the nickname in 1972 by Kim Il Sung; we all know how North Korean maximal leaders feel about nicknames (see "Dotard").
 
Benani died from COVID in September.  One of his last sessions was a decidedly untraditional approach to the malouf tradition alongside electric oud player Mehdi Haddab and his band Speed Caravan.  That session, under the title Nuba Nova, will be released on July 2 and it is just fabulous: soulful, radical, stirring, just the kind of album Rachid Taha would be making if he were still with us.
 
This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday June 28, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site) you'll hear two tracks from Nuba Nova and a whole lot more from North Africa: Moroccan gnawa, Egyptian and Sudanese thinking (and dancing) person's pop, music of North Africa's indigenous Amazigh people (you might know them as Berbers), even Swahili taarab bearing unmistakable North African influence.  And we'll finish with some Chicano rock and soul from 1949 to today, just because.

June 23, 2021

Charts June 15-21, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
2 NGOMA ZETHU | 7 Chapters Of Mystery | Bantu Entertainment Network
3 ANTHONY JOSEPH | The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running For Their Lives | Heavenly Sweetness
4 KHALAB AND M’BERRA ENSEMBLE | M'berra | Real World
5 HAILU MERGIA AND THE WALIAS BAND | Tezeta | Awesome Tapes From Africa
6 OKUTE | Okuté | Chulo
7 MITCHUM YACOUB | "Cumbia Divina" [Single] | All-Town Sound
8 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | Dost 1 | Bongo Joe/Catapulte
9 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
10 SOFI TUKKER + AMADOU AND MARIAM | "Mon Cheri" [Single] | Red Hot

June 20, 2021

Hailu & Moges

The Walias Band was one of Ethiopian music's pioneers: they were the first independent band not financially tied to a hotel, club or theater; they released the country's first fully instrumental albums on their own label; they owned their own equipment, recording studio and record store.  And Walias music was so ubiquitous on Ethiopian media in the late 1970s that some people just knew them as "that music from TV."
 
The band broke up after they toured the USA in 1981, as four of their members including leader Hailu Mergia and saxophonist Moges Habte went into exile in the large Washington DC Ethiopian diaspora community.  Hailu and Moges both still live in suburban Maryland, and they remain active in music.  This week on Global A Go-Go, you'll hear the Walias Band from back in the day, including a new reissue of one of those early instrumental albums, and you'll also hear what Hailu and Moges are up to these days.
 
Also this week (Monday June 21, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): new Anatolian rock from Derya Yildirim & Grup Simsek, new cumbia from Frente Cumbiero and Mitchum Yacoub, new rumba from Okute and not-at-all new South African township soul and bump jive circa 1975.

June 16, 2021

Charts June 1-14, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
2 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
3 OKUTE | Okuté | Chulo
4 EDO FUNK EXPLOSION VOL 1 | various artists | Analog Africa
5 CONKARAH | "Papaya (Sick Wit It Crew mix)" [Single] | BMG
6 META AND THE CORNERSTONES | "Breeze" [Single] | self-released
7 DOBET GNAHORE | Couleur | Cumbancha
8 KASAI ALLSTARS | Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound | Crammed
9 AYUNNE SULE | Putoo Katare Yire | Rebel Up/Makkum/Red Wig
10 STAR LOVERS | Boafo Ne Nyame | Hot Casa

June 13, 2021

The minister of creaminess

Astronomical summer doesn't start for another week, but it's definitely meteorological summer here in the RVA, and that's got me thinking about summer jams -- you know, those catchy, danceable songs that sound so much better when temperatures are rising.
 
This week on Global A Go-Go you'll hear a whole hour of them.  Your favorite 2021 summer jam might be a new one from Vaudou Game (updated disco from Togo via France) or Conkarah (Jamaican island pop) or Sofi Tukker x Amadou & Mariam (uh, Amadou & Mariam with cheesy EDM sauce on top, actually sounds better than the description).  Or maybe it will be one of the oldies I spin from South Africa, Ecuador, Spain or parts in between.

Also this week (Monday June 14, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): a preview of the first post-COVID live music event I'll be attending, some sly electro-cumbia, and zouk filtered through Colombia.

June 1, 2021

Charts May 25-31, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
2 MOH ALILECHE | Humanity Is Falling Apart | Flag Of Freedom Productions
3 DOBET GNAHORE | Couleur | Cumbancha
4 MACKA B | "My Father's People" [Single] | Before Zero
5 PHIRPO Y SUS CARIBES | "Comencemos (Let's Start)/Mi Moooto" [Single] | Matasuna
6 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists | El Palmas
7 FLOR DE TOLOACHE | "Florecita Rockera" [Single] | ADA Music
8 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
9 INNOV GNAWA | Lila | Daptone
10 KHALAB AND M’BERRA ENSEMBLE | M'berra | Real World

May 30, 2021

Let's start

It's not often here at WRIR that we have two different covers of the same song on our world music recommended list at the same time; in fact, I don't think it's ever happened until now.  So this week you'll hear Fela Kuti's "Let's Start" as played by two Venezuelan bands: Phirpo Y Sus Caribes (pictured above) and Los Kings.  Plus two covers of another Fela song by two Colombian bands, just because I can.
 
Also this week (Monday May 31, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): conscious dancehall, new North African sounds by Moh Alileche and Natik Awayez, some rock en Espanol, Mdou Moctar's new album and more desert blues, and coupe decale straight outta Abidjan.

May 25, 2021

Charts May 18-24, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
2 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists | El Palmas
3 U-ROY | "Man Next Door (feat Santigold)" [Single] | Trojan Jamaica/BMG
4 BAIUCA | Embruxo | Raso Estudio
5 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
6 INNOV GNAWA | Lila | Daptone
7 MARIA RAQUEL Y SUS MARAVILLAS | "El Tiempo Se Acabo" [Single] | Chulo
8 AYUUNE SULE | Putoo Katare Tire | Rebel Up/Makkum/Red Wig
9 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
10 DOBET GNAHORE | Couleur | Cumbancha

May 23, 2021

A man of experience and wisdom

Everyone in the music business thinks they're a rebel.  And then there's Amha Eshete: in 1969 he defied Haile Selassie's Imperial edict by recording, pressing and selling Ethiopia's first pop music 45 rpm disc.
 
This simple act of rebellion or commerce opened the floodgates of what we now know as the golden age of Ethiopian music.  It never would have happened without Amha Eshete, who passed away on April 30 at age 74 (and spent 19 years in exile in Washington DC, by the way, where he ran the Blue Nile and Ibex nightclubs).

This week on Global A Go-Go we pay tribute to Amha Eshete by playing four of the 103 singles his label released between 1969 and 1975.  If you'd like to know more about Eshete, Pan African Music published a terrific two-part interview with him last year: pan-african-music.com/en/amha-eshete-the-dreamer, pan-african-music.com/en/amha-eshete-the-exile-and-the-return-to-native-land
 
Also this week (Monday May 24, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards at wrir.org/listen, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): a posthumous tribute as well to Nick (Count Dubulah) Page of Transglobal Underground and Dub Colossus, a set of merengue from the Dominican Republic and beyond, and an hour of global electronica that will get your head, toe and whole body into motion.