February 23, 2021

Charts February 16-22, 2021


WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ADMAS | Sons Of Ethiopia | Frederiksberg
2 DOM LA NENA | Tempo | Six Degrees
3 ELIDA ALMEIDA | Gerasonobu | Lusafrica
4 FREE RADICALS | White Power Outage, Vol. 1 | self-released
5 NKUMBA SYSTEM | Bailao Duro! | Prado
6 FLORENCE ADOONI | "Mam Pe'ela Su'ure" [Single] | Philophon
7 BUYEPONGO VS. QUITAPENAS | "Cantarito/Inspiracion" [Single] | Peace & Rhythm
8 FEMI KUTI | Stop The Hate | Partisan
9 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
10 ANANSY CISSE | Anoura | Riverboat

February 21, 2021

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 February 22, 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) the whole show focuses on Johnny Pacheco, Fania Records and the invention of salsa.

February 16, 2021

Charts February 9-15, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 FEMI KUTI | Stop The Hate | Partisan
2 BUYEPONGO VS. QUITAPENAS | "Cantarito/Inspiracion" [Single] | Peace & Rhythm
3 MADE KUTI | For(e)ward | Partisan
4 NKUMBA SYSTEM | Bailao Duro! | Prado
5 VOILAAA | Voiciii | Favorite
6 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
7 STELLA CHIWESHE | Ambuya! | Piranha
8 VENEZONIX | La Que Es [EP] | Nacional
9 GLOBAL RIDDIMS, VOL. 4 | various artists | NYP
10 CHRISTINE SALEM | Mersi | Blue Fanal

February 14, 2021

Kuti legacy

On February 5, Partisan Records released Stop The Hate, the tenth solo album by Femi Kuti, eldest son of Fela Kuti and in his own right one of the most important Afrobeat artists.  On the same day the label also issued For(e)ward, the debut album of Femi's son and Fela's grandson Made Kuti.  They're also marketing the two as a 2-disc package called Legacy +.
 
This week on Global A Go-Go, the whole second hour is devoted to the Kuti musical legacy with tracks from Fela, Femi, Made and Fela's other musician son Seun who now fronts his father's old band, Egypt 80.

Also this week (Monday February 15, 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): women of the mbira, the best new Latin material that's come across my desk this year, and the sounds of Trinidad's carnival -- you know, the one that's not happening this year.

February 9, 2021

Charts February 2-8, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 BOMBA ESTEREO | Deja [Advance Tracks] | Sony Latin
2 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
3 ANANSY CISSE | Anoura | Riverboat
4 BOSQ | Y Su Descarga Internacional | Bacalao
5 WARSAW AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | Antibody | Peace & Rhythm
6 BUDOS BAND, THE | Long In The Tooth | Daptone
7 GOOD ONES, THE | "Soccer (Summer 1988)" [Single] | Anti-
8 TP ORCHESTRE POLY RYTHMO DE COTONOU BENIN | Volume 4: Yehoussei Leopold Batteur | Acid Jazz
9 FAT FREDDY'S DROP | Lock-In | The Drop
10 BROOKLYN RAGA MASSIVE | In D | self-released

February 7, 2021

Poly Rythmo

T.P. Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou Benin is, in my opinion, one of the premier bands from the era of West African independence, right up there with the better-known Rail Band of Mali, Orchestra Baobab of Senegal and Bembeya Jazz of Guinee Conakry.
 
I've been a fan of Poly Rythmo since I heard the first reissues of their material back in 2003.  I own about 10 of those reissues and, to be honest, I assumed I had already heard the band's best.
 
I was wrong.  The British label Acid Jazz is now reissuing a slate of Poly Rythmo titles under an exclusive licensing arrangement with Albarika Store, the band's original label in Benin.  The first three of those titles are now available, and there's material on there that I think is even better than the best of what has previously been reissued.
 
I played two tracks from the new reissues in the last two weeks, and I'm playing another one this week.  If you're a fan of African music, do yourself a favor and check out this Poly Rythmo music that few listeners have had the opportunity to hear until now.
 
Also this week (Monday February 8, 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): women in Afrobeat, 50 years of samba-soul, reggae that veers off in an unexpected direction, and two sets of Latin electronica: one for the chill room and one for the dance floor.

February 3, 2021

Charts Jan 26 - Feb 1, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DUB PISTOLS V DUBMATIX | "Blue Monday" [Single] | Cyclone
2 EL DUSTY | "Sax Riddim (feat Chucho Ponce & Los Daddys and Mariano Herrera)" [Single] | Americano
3 LA CUMBIA MODERNA DE SOLEDAD/MACHUCA CUMBIA | "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy/Stayin' Alive" [Single] | Vampisoul
4 ABELARDO CARBOBO Y SU CONJUNTO | Guana Tangula | Vampisoul
5 ALFREDO LINARES | Lo Que Tengo | Vampisoul
6 TOMMY GUERRERO | Sunshine Radio | Too Good
7 KHRUANGBIN | Late Night Tales | Night Time Stories
8 SONGHOY BLUES | Optimisme | Fat Possum
9 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
10 NKUMBA SYSTEM | Bailao Duro | Prado

January 31, 2021

Westbound train

February 1st would have been Dennis Brown's 64th birthday, had he not passed away far too young in 1999.  They called Brown "The Crown Prince of Reggae" and he was Bob Marley's favorite singer -- hell, he's the favorite singer of a legion of reggae fans.  This week on Global A Go-Go I'll spin one of my favorite deep cuts from Brown's vast archive plus a killer version of one of his biggest hits.
 
Also this week  (Monday February 1, 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): the early days of champeta, spicy and annoying cumbia, the latest from La Mambanegra, makossa from Cameroon and Colombia, and another highlight of Orchestre Poly Rythmo's catalog.

January 26, 2021

Charts January 19-25, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ANANSY CISSE | Anoura | Riverboat
2 BUDOS BAND, THE | Long In The Tooth | Daptone
3 RICARDO LEMVO AND MAKINA LOCA | N'Dona Ponte | Mopiato
4 DAVID WALTERS | "Freedom" [Single] | Six Degrees
5 FREE RADICALS | White Power Outage, Vol. 1 | self-released
6 CONTENTO | Lo Bueno Esta Aqui | El Palmas
7 VUSI MAHLASELA | Shebeen Queen | ATO
8 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
9 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
10 NKUMBA SYSTEM | Bailalo Duro | Prado

January 24, 2021

Lelo toponi azda

Yes, I know WRIR is a non-commercial radio station, but this week on Global A Go-Go I'm going to play you a 7-1/2 minute long advertisement.  It's a beautiful song by Franco and T.P.O.K. Jazz from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of their most popular worldwide hits, entitled "Azda."
 
Many people throughout the years have assumed that Azda is a woman's name.  Actually, it's the acronym for a Congolese Volkswagen dealership -- the band wrote and recorded the song in exchange for new VWs for all 24 band members.  A much better deal than Spotify royalties, I'd say.  And a pretty awesome song, despite or maybe because of its back-story.

Also this week (Monday January 25, 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): Rokia Traore sings from the Manden songbook; Mali with strings; the deep blues, West African style; Budonian knights; a great new reissue of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou; and we'll finish with a Latin dance party so you can muevete.

January 19, 2021

Charts January 12-18, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LA CUMBIA MODERNA DE SOLEDAD/MACHUCA CUMBIA |  "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy/Stayin' Alive" [Single] | Vampisoul
2 STAR FEMININE BAND | Star Feminine Band | Born Bad
3 ZONKE FAMILY | At The Studio | Localophon
4 STELLA CHIWESHE | Ambuya! | Piranha
5 BALKAN TAKSIM | Balkan Taksim [EP] | Buda Musique
6 SYSTEMA SOLAR | "Mi Kolombia" [Single] | ONErpm
7 FONTANAS, THE | "Capoeira Mata Um" [Single] | Movimientos
8 RICARDO LEMVO AND MAKINA LOCA | N'Dona Ponte | Mopiato
9 MADE KUTI | For(e)ward [Advance Tracks] | Partisan
10 LEYLA MCCALLA | Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute To Langston Hughes | Smithsonian Folkways

January 17, 2021

Crees que soy sexy?

Let me go on record: "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart is right up at the top of my all-time-most-annoying-songs list.  First of all, it's imitation disco, not even the real thing.  Secondly, Stewart blatantly stole the chorus melody from Jorge Ben, figuring no one would know the difference since Ben is Brazilian.  Finally, he's Rod Stewart, nuff said.
 
But a funny thing happens when that chorus is played on the gaita, Colombia's end-blown flute, and it's set to a trotting cumbia rhythm -- all of a sudden "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" is acceptable, maybe even good, actually pretty awesome.  Hear for yourself this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday January 18, 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): some Balkan folktronica, soulful sounds from Brazil, thumb piano music of Zimbabwe, mbaqanga and soul jive, and the debut of Star Feminine Band: a band of seven young Beninoise women rockin' a vintage West African sound.

January 12, 2021

Charts Dec 15, 2020 - Jan 11, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten 
1 BAB L'BLUZ | Nayda! | Real World
2 LA LOCURA DE MACHUCA 1975-1980 | VARIOUS ARTISTS | Analog Africa
3 JUANA MOLINA | ANRMAL (Live In Mexico) | Crammed
4 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
5 SONGHOY BLUES | Optimisme | Fat Possum
6 LEVE LEVE: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE SOUNDS (70S - 80S) | VARIOUS ARTISTS | Bongo Joe
7 ALFREDO LINARES | Lo Que Tengo | Vampisoul
8 PETE RODRIGUEZ | I Like It Like That (A Mi Me Gusta Asi) | Fania/Craft/Concord
9 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
10 BAMBA WASSOULOU GROOVE | Dankele | Lusafrica

January 10, 2021

Boogaloo vs. the booga-losers

photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
 
Last Wednesday the world had the opportunity to observe what America's far right calls "the boogaloo," a violent uprising against the Federal government, their idea of what the second Civil War will be.  On this week's edition of Global A Go (Monday January 11, 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) I'm going to focus on that word "boogaloo."

Before it was co-opted by fascists, boogaloo was originally the name for a style of music that came out of New York City's Spanish-speaking barrios in the mid-1960s, where young Latinos were listening and dancing to mambo, guaracha and cha-cha-cha and at the same time were digging soul, doo-wop and rock 'n' roll.  In celebration of the ignominious failure of "the boogaloo," today on Global A Go-Go it's Boogaloo vs. The Booga-losers.  Beep beep, mofos!

January 3, 2021

Gateway to the blues

I spent the last three weeks of 2020 on Global A Go-Go reviewing my favorite new albums, singles, compilations and reissues of the just mercifully departed year.  But there are still a few items I want to bring forward, and I'll spread them throughout this week's program (Monday January 4, 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).

For example, I've only played a few tracks so far from my favorite new album of 2020, Nayda! by Bab L'Bluz; I'll remedy that situation by a spinning a whole set from that disc.  You'll also hear Anatolian rock both old and new, some Sudanese funk, and a whole hour of Afrobeat and Afro-funk including tracks from three of my favorite compilations and reissues of 2020.