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.

May 18, 2021

Charts May 4-17, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
2 INNOV GNAWA | Lila | Daptone
3 KASAI ALLSTARS | Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound | Crammed
4 ELIDA ALMEIDA | Gerasonobu | Lusafrica
5 JOSE CARLOS SCHWARZ AND LE COBIANA DJAZZ | Lua Ki Di Nos | Hot Mule
6 ROGER FAKHR | Fine Anyway | Habibi Funk
7 FRENTE CUMBIERO | Cera Perdida | La Roma
8 MARIA RAQUEL Y SUS MARAVILLAS | "El Tiempo Se Acabo" [Single] | Chulo
9 AYUUNE SULE | Putoo Katare Tire | Rebel Up-Makkum-Red Wig
10 YAT-KHA "We Will Never Die" [Single] The Lollipoppe Shoppe

May 16, 2021

The lost-wax process

In the world of recorded music, spring is a peak time for new releases, so I have a bunch of excellent new music to share with you this week.  One of the highlights is Cera Perdida, the second album from Colombia's Frente Cumbiero, a quartet whose influences are too broad to list: there's Colombian indigenous music, jazz, dub reggae and electronica, and that's just a start.
 
Also this week (Monday May 17, 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): new music from Yat-Kha (Russia's Tuva Republic), Natik Awayez (Iraq and Egypt via Yemen), Innov Gnawa (Morocco and NYC), Ayuune Sule (northern Ghana), Kasai Allstars (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and much more.

May 8, 2021

Global A Go-Go Classico: El Gran Pacheco


The musician, bandleader and entrepreneur Johnny Pacheco died on February 15 at age 85.  In my opinion, Pacheco is one of the seminal figures in American popular music, in the same category with people like Sam Phillips and Berry Gordy.
 
Fania, the record label he founded and artistically directed, is responsible for a style of music that has spread around the world: salsa.  This music reflects the point of view of young Spanish-speaking Caribbeans (Latinos) in New York City in the 1960s and 70s who grew up in an all-new urban multicultural environment.  Such an environment was unusual then -- today it's mainstream culture.

Pacheco did it all at Fania: he co-started and co-owned the label; he produced many of the recordings; he was the A&R man signing and developing artists like Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Ruben Blades and Celia Cruz; he sold the albums out of the trunk of his car; he wrote songs; led and conducted bands; played flute and congas and even sang coros (background vocals).

This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday May 10, 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) we'll rebroadcast my February 22, 2021 program focusing on Johnny Pacheco, Fania Records and the invention of salsa.

May 4, 2021

Charts Apr 20 - May 3, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CANZONIERE GRECANICO SALENTINO | Meridiana | Ponderosa
2 ALTIN GUN | Yol | ATO
3 GRESHKA | Inebriation | 4000
4 JUPITER AND OKWESS | Na Kozonga | Everloving
5 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | Suomi Disco | Playground
6 JAGUAR | "Siguele El Paso" [Single] | El Palmas
7 AYUNNE SULE | Putoo Katare Yire | Rebel Up
8 LOS MUTABLES | "Pasos En La Luna/Suspenso En El Espacio" [Single] | Munster
9 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
10 DIANA BURCO | "Negra Del Sur" [Single] | Somos

May 2, 2021

Time is what happens when nothing else happens

Thank you to the almost 500 donors who contributed $49,000 during WRIR's Spring 2021 fund drive, which ended last week.  That's an all-time record for both donors and dollars, and it tops our dollar goal by almost 25%.  All of WRIR's volunteers are in awe of your generosity -- the tower of low power is standing strong thanks to you!

This week on Global A Go-Go we're premiering the forthcoming new album by Italy's Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, the band that's renewing tarantella for the 2st century.  If you saw them at the 2016 Richmond Folk Festival you're already aware of how compelling and dynamic this band is, and that comes through on Meridiana, which will be released on May 21.
 
Also this week (Monday May 3, 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): three from Timbuktu, Colombia meets Cameroon, the latest by Jupiter & Okwess, gypsy music from outside the Balkans and some Brazilian samba-soul chestnuts.

April 25, 2021

WRIR's Spring 2021 fund drive

One of the things I've missed the most during the COVID-19 pandemic has been live music.  There's a good chance you're feeling the same way as me.
 
So my program for what will hopefully be the last WRIR fund drive under pandemic conditions (Monday April 26, 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) is going to focus on some of the most memorable concerts I've attended over the last 40 years.
 
I have some unique stories to tell about shows I've been to: The night Fela Kuti got all the taxicabs off the road; unexpected pleasures in Paris, Barcelona and Vienna; driving 2-1/2 hours in a tropical storm to see an outdoor gig; hanging with Ethiopian attorneys in New York; and more.
 
And I'll be encouraging you to donate to WRIR before our Spring 2021 fund drive ends on Wednesday April 28 at 11 PM.  Like, how about doing it right now?  Just click on this link: wrir.org/donating
 
Oh, about that photograph above.  That's me and some of my WRIR colleagues enjoying live music at the Richmond Folk Festival in 2012.  Clockwise from top left, you're seeing Mike (Mr. Jazz) Gourrier of Bebop And Beyond, yours truly, Alyssa (P. Swann) Salomon of Can't Stop The Music, Charles (DJ Graybeard) Williams of The Other Black Music and The Motherland Influence and Carl (DJ Carlito) Hamm of If Music Could Talk.

April 21, 2021

Charts April 13-19, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 JOSE CARLOS SCHWARZ AND LE COBIANA DJAZZ | Lua Ki Di Nos | Hot Mule
2 AYUUNA SULE | "Don't Be Lazy" [Single] | Rebel Up
3 DELGRES | 4:00 AM | PIAS
4 LOS MUTABLES | "Pasos En La Luna/Suspenso En El Espacio" [Single] | Munster
5 LOS MASTER PLUS | "Buena Vida" (feat Pato Machete) [Single] | Nacional
6 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
7 AFROSOUND | La Danza De Los Mirlos | Vampisoul
8 NATION BEAT | The Royal Chase | NBM
9 THE BOYS FROM NAIROBI: BENGA AND RUMBA FROM 1980S KENYA | various artists | No Wahala Sounds
10 ALOSTMEN | Kologo | Strut

April 18, 2021

Ban mwen on chanson

 
4:00 AM by Delgres, released earlier this month, is one of my favorite new albums so far this year.  They're a power trio from France with leader Pascal Danae on dobro, the bass line is provided by tuba, and drum kit finishes the combo.
 
Danae's parents are from Guadeloupe and his songs, mostly written in Creole, have echoes of both delta blues and the French Caribbean.  It's a new urban folk music for the 21st century, or the sound of an imaginary alternative New Orleans.  You'll hear a track from 4:00 AM on this week's program, along with a healthy dose of Caribbean sounds from Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic.
 
Also this week (Monday April 19, 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): Cobiana Djazz of Guine-Bissau, more kologo music from Ghana, another cumbia sampler, and guitar music of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

April 13, 2021

Charts April 6-12, 2021

 
WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | "Surbajo" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
2 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
3 KANE MATHIS | Geminus | Nyaato
4 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists [Advance Tracks] | El Palmas
5 LEE FRY MUSIC | "Wianek (feat Alia Fay)" [Single] | self-released
6 ELIDA ALMEIDA | Gerasonobu | Lusafrica
7 NATION BEAT | The Royal Chase | NBM
8 YAADCORE, JAH9 AND SUBATOMIC SOUND SYSTEM | "Police In Helicopter" [Single] | Yard Birdz-Subatomic Sound
9 ALTIN GUN | Yol | ATO
10 TOMMY GUERRERO | Sunshine Radio | Too Good