October 23, 2021

WRIR's Fall 2021 fund drive

WRIR's Fall 2021 Fund Drive is now underway -- we're working to raise $45,000 by Wednesday October 27 to power "the tower of low power" in Richmond for another six months. Thank you if you have previously donated to Richmond Independent Radio; I'm writing to encourage you to make a donation once again this fall, if you can. You can make that donation in two minutes by clicking this link: wrir.org/donating.
 
This time around, WRIR's Social Media folks asked all of our DJs to submit a photograph of ourselves and a response to the question "Why do you volunteer at WRIR?" My photograph is above, and my answer is the same today as it was when I started volunteering back in 2004, a year before we went on the FM airwaves: "Because the public airwaves belong to the public."

October 19, 2021

Charts October 11-17, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 JUCARA MARCAL |  Delta Estacio Blues | QTV Selo-Mais Um
2 LOS BITCHOS | "Las Panteras" [Single] | City Slang
3 QUANTIC AND NIDIA GONGORA | "Balada Borracha" [Single] | Tru Thoughts
4 HAILU MERGIA AND THE WALIAS BAND | Tezeta | Awesome Tapes From Africa
5 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
6 BOMBA ESTEREO | Deja | Sony Latin
7 JOSEPH SPENCE | Encore: Unheard Recordings Of Bahamian Guitar And Singing | Smithsonian Folkways
8 BACAO RHYTHM AND STEEL BAND | Expansions | Big Crown
9 TONY ALLEN | There Is No End | Decca France
10 ATONGO ZIMBA | From A To Z | Jinn

October 12, 2021

Charts Sep 27 - Oct 10, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 TAJ WEEKES | Pause | Jatta
2 JOSE GONZALEZ | Local Valley | Mute
3 BACAO RHYTHM AND STEEL BAND | Expansions | Big Crown
4 MONEY CHICHA | Chicha Summit | Vampisoul
5 PAHUA | "El Traketeo" [Single] | Nacional
6 LOS CHAPILLACS | Lo Bueno, Lo Malo, Lo Feo Y Los Alarcosos Chapillacs | Vampisoul
7 MERIDIAN BROTHERS AND CONJUNTO MEDIA LUNA | Paz En La Tierra | Bongo Joe
8 FRENTE CUMBIERO | Cera Perdida | La Roma
9 KEITH HUDSON | Flesh Of My Skin, Blood Of My Blood | VP
10 BOMBA ESTEREO | Deja | Sony Latin

October 8, 2021

Let your vibes be high & your message mighty

It's time for the Richmond Folk Festival, back in person after a pandemic year in the online format.  One of the artists I'm most excited to see at this year's festival is the St. Lucian reggae singer-songwriter Taj Weekes, who combines an ethereal voice like John Holt's with cutting lyrics reminiscent of Peter Tosh.
 
Taj will join me in WRIR's Studio A for an interview beginning a little after 1:00 PM, before he heads over to the Community Foundation Stage at 3:10 for the "Songs: Stories of Hope & Home" panel discussion and then to the Dance Pavilion at 5:15 to close out this year's festival.  We'll talk about his new album Pause, the pandemic days which he has called "the most important year of my life," his recent trip to Ghana and whatever else seems worth discussing.

Also this week (Sunday October 10, 1:00-3:00 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): Haitian mizik rasin (roots music) and an all-Latin second hour with electronica, cumbia and chicha.

September 28, 2021

Charts September 20-26, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SHAGGY AND RAYVON | "Drive Me Insane" [Single] | Mr. Doo
2 LA MAMBANEGRA | Los Ultimos Buses De Colores | Tambora
3 SUSANA BACA | "Sorongo" [Single] | Real World
4 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | At Pioneer Works | Sahel Sounds
5 HAILU MERGIA AND THE WALIAS BAND | Tezeta | Awesome Tapes From Africa
6 META AND THE CORNERSTONES | Dia | Metarize
7 BOMBA ESTEREO | Deja | Sony Latin
8 KUTIMAN | "Guruji" [Single] | Siyal
9 SUPER BITON DE SEGOU | Afro Jazz Folk Collection Vol. 1 | Mieruba
10 SONIDO GALLO NEGRO | "Planet Claire" [Single] | self-released

September 25, 2021

El callegüeso y su malamaña

Start with a base layer of heavy NYC salsa dura.  Mix in an equal amount of modern Cuban big band music: songo and timba.  Leaven with Colombia's Afro-Pacific sounds, add some Bronx hip-hop and Kingston dancehall, and the result is La Mambanegra from Cali, Colombia and a style they call "break salsa."
 
La Mambanegra is one of the most powerful dance bands in the world right now.  No one else sounds like them, and La Mambanegra sound like nothing but themselves on every single one of their songs.  Yet somehow this great combo is criminally underrecognized.  Global A Go-Go will do its part this week to change that situation, spinning four La Mambanegra tracks including two from their new album.

Also this week (Sunday September 26, 1:00-3:00 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): more of Zimbabwe's mbira and the Sahara's desert blues, the sound of digital dancehall circa 1992, new music from Cyprus by Monsieur Doumani and the latest from Afro-Peruvian icon Susana Baca.

September 22, 2021

Charts September 13-19, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CAMEROON GARAGE FUNK | various artists | Analog Africa
2 FANFARE CIOCARLIA | It Wasn't Hard To Love You | Asphalt Tango
3 SONIA AIMY | Reconnect | Slammin Media
4 ORQUESTA AKOKAN | "Mi Conga Es De Akokan" [Single] | Daptone
5 MINYO CRUSADERS | Live At Le Guess Who? | Mais Um
6 ZANZIBARA VOLUME 10 | various artists | Buda Musique
7 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
8 JOSEPH SPENCE | Encore: Unheard Recordings Of Bahamian Guitar And Singing | Smithsonian Folkways
9 FLORENCE ADOONI | "Mam Pe'ela Su'ure" [Single] | Philophon
10 4 MARS | Super Somali Sounds From The Gulf Of Tadjoura | Ostinato

September 17, 2021

Who invented Black & White?

Let me introduce you to my favorite band of this moment.  They're from London and they play Afrobeat the way Fela Kuti intended: as a weapon.  The name of this band is Eparapo ("Join Forces" in Yoruba), they've released three songs so far and you'll hear all three of them this week on Global A Go-Go.
 
Also this week (Sunday September 19, 1:00-3:00 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): women of Afrobeat; a continuation of last week's big ol' Balkan brass throwdown; East African sounds; a tribute to "the Ethiopian Elvis," Alemayehu Eshete, who passed away on September 2; and new Latin sounds from Japan (!).

September 14, 2021

Charts September 6-12, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SONIA AIMY | Reconnect | Slammin Media
2 LOS CHAPILLACS | Lo Bueno, Lo Malo, Lo Feo Y Los Alarcosos Chapillacs | Vampisoul
3 FANFARE CIOCARLIA | It Wasn't Hard To Love You | Asphalt Tango
4 MONEY CHICHA | "Maria Teresa b/w Cumbia Del Desierto" [Single] | Vampisoul
5 TAJ WEEKES | Pause | Jatta
6 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
7 MAMAKI BOYS | Patriote [EP] | Sahel Sounds
8 FLOR DE TOLOACHE | "La Tierra" [Single] | ADA Music
9 FRANK Y SUS INQUIETOS | "Resignate" [Single] | El Palmas
10 YORK | "The Days In Brazil (feat Guida De Palma)" [Single] | Upper Level

September 10, 2021

Rumput at Firehouse

With live music gradually returning to Richmond's stages, I'm joined in WRIR's Studio A this week by Andy McGraw and Hannah Standiford of the music and art collective (and long-time Global A Go-Go fave) Rumput, who are Richmond's first, only and therefore best Indonesian keroncong string band.
 
Andy and Hannah will tell us what Rumput has been up to during the pandemic, we'll play some of Rumput's new recordings, and he'll talk about the band's first performance in many moons, coming up Monday September 13 at the Firehouse Theatre.

Also this week (Sunday September 12, 1:00-3:00 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): another tribute to an African musical genius gone too soon, Barthelemy Attisso of Orchestra Baobab; more burners from the Islamic Funk Belt; new chicha by Los Chapillacs and Money Chicha; and a big ol' Balkan brass throwdown.

September 7, 2021

Charts Aug 30 - Sep 5, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ADRIAN QUESADA | Look At My Soul: The Latin Shade Of Texas Soul | Nacional
2 KADIALY KOUYATE | Aado | Naxos World
3 HAMDI BENANI, MEDHI HADDAB AND SPEED CARAVAN | Nuba Nova | Buda Musique
4 KANE MATHIS | Geminus | Nyaato
5 DANAKIL | Rien Ne Se Tait | Baco
6 NIL'S JAZZ ENSEMBLE | Nil's Jazz Ensemble | Vampisoul
7 FADHILEE ITULYA | Shindu Shi | Naxos World
8 ELIDA ALMEIDA | Gerasonobu | Lusafrica
9 FAT FREDDY'S DROP | Wairunga | The Drop
10 CAMEROON GARAGE FUNK | various artists | Analog Africa

September 3, 2021

Guitar boy and mami wata

(Sir Victor Uwaifo's sculpture self-portrait in his living room, photograph by Morgan Greenstreet)
 
Sir Victor Uwaifo, one of the great artists and characters of African music, passed away on August 28 at the age of 80.
 
Uwaifo's "Joromi" became Africa's first gold record in 1969; he went on to revolutionize highlife music, build a hotel and an entire music industry in his hometown of Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, and in his spare time earn his PhD in Architectural Sculpture and turn his home into the Revelation Tourist Palazzo.  We'll celebrate the amazing, colorful life of Sir Victor Uwaifo on this week's edition of Global A Go-Go with an assortment of his tracks and one very special Sir Victor sample.
 
Also this week (Sunday September 5, 1:00-3:00 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 music for the kora, hard rock from Algeria, reggae en francais, Congolese soukous to warm you up for the USA premiere of The Rumba Kings (Saturday September 11 at the Byrd Theater as part of the Richmond International Film Festival), and some Chicano soul from the American southwest.

August 31, 2021

Charts August 24-29, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MERIDIAN BROTHERS AND CONJUNTO MEDIA LUNA | Paz En La Tierra | Bongo Joe
2 A ESPECTACULAR CHARANGA DA FRANCA | "Nao Para (Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" [Single] | Mais Um
3 ORQUESTA AKOKAN | "Mi Congo Es De Akokan" [Single] | Daptone
4 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | At Pioneer Works | Sahel Sounds
5 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
6 SUSANA BACA | "La Herida Oscura" [Single] | Real World
7 LOS SIDERAL'S | "Virgines Del Sol/Dongoh" [Single] | Munster
8 COCHEMEA | Vol. II Baca Sewa | Daptone
9 RECORD KICKS AFRO SIDES, VOL. 2 | various artists | Record Kicks
10 ACHOLI MACHON | Sons Of South Sudan [EP] | Good Deeds

August 26, 2021

Sunday kind of love

(photograph by Tanja Softic)
 
Dobrodosli means "welcome" in Serbo-Croatian and many of the related South Slavic languages.  Every week, I start Global A Go-Go with this word and today I get to welcome some new listeners.
 
Because this (Sunday August 29, 1:00-3:00 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) is my first program in a new time slot: Sundays from 1 to 3 PM.  I'm looking forward to sharing Sunday afternoons with you.
 
If you're not familiar with Global A Go-Go, let me tell you a little bit about the show.  I describe it as "music from around the world in the universal language of groove."  I like to say that the program's purpose is to decolonize your ears: to get you out of the bad habit of behaving as though the music of your culture and time is the sun around which all other musics orbit.

While I do play some things that could be classified as "folk music," Global A Go-Go isn't particularly folkloric: mostly I play music that is or has been quite popular, just not popular in Richmond or Virginia or the USA.

A typical two-hour episode will include artists from 10 or more countries, and performances recorded over six or more decades.  This week's show is pretty typical, with 11 countries from five continents spanning eight decades.  Without any further ado, let's jump into the program; I hope you enjoy the journey with me today.

August 24, 2021

Charts August 17-23, 2021

 
WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 BEN HARPER AND ZIGGY MARLEY | "Spin It Faster" [Single] | Mad Bunny
2 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
3 JAGUAR | Madremonte | El Palmas
4 CARWYN ELLIS AND RIO 18 | "Ola" [Single] | Legere
5 KEVIN FLOREZ AND CAPTAIN PLANET | "Borracho Bailando Champeta" [Single] | Bastard Jazz
6 KENYA EUGENE | "Bun It" [Single] | SOA Group
7 FRENTE CUMBIERO | Cera Perdida | La Roma
8 MONOSWEZI | Shanu | Riverboat
9 TAJ WEEKES | Pause | Jatta
10 JOSEPH SPENCE | Encore: Unheard Recordings Of Bahamian Guitar And Singing | Smithsonian Folkways