January 16, 2017

Charts January 15, 2017

WRIR's CMJ New World Top Ten
1 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Bobo Yeye: Belle Epoque In Upper Volta | Numero Group
2 AFRO-ZEN ALLSTARS | Greatest Hits | self-released
3 VAUDOU GAME | Kidayu | Hot Casa
4 JUNGLE FIRE | Jambu | Nacional
5 SYSTEMA SOLAR | Rumbo A Tierra | Nacional
6 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Macondo Revisitado: The Roots Of Subtropical Music, Uruguay 1975-1979 | Vampisoul
7 SEUN KUTI AND EGYPT 80 | Struggle Sounds | Sony Masterworks
8 ORKESTA MENDOZA | Vamos A Guarachar! | Glitterbeat
9 BROOKZILL | Throwback To The Future | Tommy Boy
10 BONGO HOP | Satingarona Pt. 1 | Underdog

January 10, 2017

Program January 11, 2017

I'm still working my way through the bounty of new releases that 2017 has offered so far.  This week, you'll hear a track from the soon-coming sophomore effort from LA-based Afro-Latin-funk party-starters Jungle Fire (pictured above), and one from a new compilation of "subtropical" music from Uruguay in the 1970s.

Also this week: old and new music from Fouta Toro (Senegal) and Niafunke (Mali), cumbia four ways, two Afrobeat ballads, and makossa meets disco.

January 9, 2017

Charts January 8, 2017

WRIR's CMJ New World Top Ten
1 SYSTEMA SOLAR | Rumbo A Tierra | Nacional
2 AFRO-ZEN ALLSTARS | Greatest Hits | self-released
3 BONGO HOP | Satingarona Pt. 1 | Underdog
4 JUNGLE FIRE | Jambu | Nacional
5 NILE PROJECT | Jinja | self-released
6 SLAVIC SOUL PARTY! | Plays Duke Ellington's Far East Suite | Ropeadope
7 ANDRES LANDERO | Yo Amaneci | Vampisoul
8 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Macondo Revisitado: The Roots Of Subtropical Music, Uruguay 1975-1979 | Vampisoul
9 C.A.M.P.O.S. | Miracles And Criminals | Peace And Rhythm
10 ORKESTA MENDOZA | Vamos A Guarachar! | Glitterbeat

January 3, 2017

Program January 4, 2017

Hey, didn't someone tell me most of the music industry is on vacation in December?  Apparently not, because I logged in 42 new releases between Thanksgiving and New Years' Eve.  So I had an enjoyable holiday season digging into a full plate of new music.

A bunch of the stuff I heard is really good, and now you'll hear a few of those first-of-2017 winners on this week's edition of Global A Go-Go.  Prominent on the list is Richmond's Afro-Zen Allstars (pictured above), whose cheekily titled studio debut Greatest Hits comes out January 13.

Also making their debuts on this week's show will be new albums from Colombia's Systema Solar (one of my favorite bands in the world right now), The Nile Project (who'll be in Richmond in March) and The Bongo Hop (Afro-Latin-Caribbean funk from a French trumpeter).

January 2, 2017

Afro-Zen Allstars | Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Afro-Zen Allstars
TITLE: Greatest Hits
LABEL: self-released
Joking title aside, this is the debut studio album from Afro-Zen Allstars, a Richmond-based little big band playing the arrangements and compositions of bandleader George Lowe and featuring some of the finest musicians on the Richmond scene today, members of Bio Ritmo, No BS! Brass and many more.

The Bongo Hop | Satingarona Pt. 1

ARTIST: The Bongo Hop
TITLE: Satingarona Pt. 1
LABEL: Underdog
Etienne Sevet is a man of many talents – an urban planner by day in Lyon France, he’s also been a journalist and a teacher; in the music world he’s a DJ, cratedigger, compiler (responsible for Vampisoul’s fabulous Aberlardo Carbono set a couple of years ago), trumpeter and now producer and bandleader with this debut recording.

Jungle Fire | Jambu

ARTIST: Jungle Fire
TITLE: Jambu
LABEL: Nacional
The second album from this Los Angeles-based Afro-Latin-funk instrumental aggregation picks up right where the first one left off – on the dance floor, sweating up a storm.

Andres Landero | Yo Amaneci

ARTIST: Andres Landero
TITLE: Yo Amaneci
LABEL: Vampisoul
Accordionist, singer and songwriter Andres Landero is the soul of cumbia, one of Colombia’s greatest musical gifts to the world.

Macondo Revisitado: The Roots Of Subtropical Music, Uruguay 1975-1979

ARTIST: various artists
TITLE: Macondo Revisitado: The Roots Of Subtropical Music, Uruguay 1975-1979
LABEL: Vampisoul
Did you know there was a craze for Puerto Rican plena in Uruguay in the late 70s? I certainly didn’t until I heard this fascinating compilation album.

The Nile Project | Jinja

ARTIST: The Nile Project
TITLE: Jinja
LABEL: self-released
The Nile Project is much more than a band – it uses music to build dialogue, empathy and engagement between the citizens of Africa’s Nile River region so they can address the root causes of their conflicts.

Slavic Soul Party! | Plays Duke Ellington's Far East Suite

ARTIST: Slavic Soul Party!
TITLE: Plays Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite
LABEL: Ropeadope
The seventh album by this outstanding 15-year-old NYC-based band, recorded live at Barbes in 2014, has an ingenious conceit: re-imagine the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn as if performed by “an Eastern European brass band discovering an exotic American sound.”

Systema Solar | Rumbo A Tierra

ARTIST: Systema Solar
TITLE: Rumbo A Tierra
LABEL: Nacional
2016 saw the first proper USA release from Systema Solar, a selection of tracks off their first two Colombian-released albums. Now 2017 kicks off with their superb third record – that’s the way to ring in the new year!

Charts January 1, 2017

WRIR's CMJ New World Top Ten
1 C.A.M.P.O.S. | Miracles And Criminals | Peace And Rhythm
2 ATERCIOPELADOS | Reluciente, Rechinante Y Aterciopelado | Sony Colombia
3 YENI NOSTALJI | 2016 EP demo (final mix) | unreleased
4 ALKIBAR JR. | Jamal | Studio Mali
5 VAUDOU GAME | Kidayu | Hot Casa
6 NOURA MINT SEYMALI | Arbina | Glitterbeat
7 FRIGHTNRS | Nothing More To Say | Daptone
8 ME AND MY FRIENDS | Hide Your Way | Soundway
9 SEUN KUTI AND EGYPT 80 | Struggle Sounds | Sony Masterworks
10 KUTIMANGOES | Made In Africa | Tramp

December 26, 2016

Program December 28, 2016: The Rest of the Best of 2016

A music fan doesn't live on albums alone.  Indeed, in the streaming music era playlists have overtaken albums as the preeminent way to organize and sequence songs.  And radio whether terrestrial or internet has always been a singles medium: there are actually laws that prohibit WRIR from playing albums from beginning to end.

So I always devote my final best-of-the-year program to my favorite album-independent songs of the year.  I'm talking here about stuff released as singles or on short-form EPs, great tracks from albums that were good or indifferent to my ears, and the best songs from albums that didn't quite crack my top 20.

Holiday leftovers they aren't: this is some of the best music of 2016, just as compelling as the stuff I played in the last two weeks if not more so.  Tune in and hear for yourself.  Oh, and bonne annee, bonne sante to all in 2017!

December 20, 2016

Program December 21, 2016: Top Ten Compilations Of 2016

It's time for show #2 in the Global A Go-Go recap of 2016.  This week: my ten favorite compilations, reissues and historic recordings of 2016, plus ten more honorable mentions.

The crate-diggers who are responsible for bringing so much great African music of the 60s, 70s and 80s to our attention continue to branch out.  This year, the theme seemed to be islands of the African diaspora -- we're the recipients of superb compilations from Cabo Verde, Haiti and Mauritius, and of crucial re-appreciations of Puerto Rico's Cortijo and Jamaica's Augustus Pablo.

You'll hear all of these and more on this week's program.  Click "Read More" to see Global A Go-Go's Top Ten 2016 compilations and reissues list (with links to my reviews):