July 13, 2020

Charts Jun 30 - Jul 13, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
2 SAHRA HALGAN TRIO | Waa Dardaaran | Buda
3 MULATU ASTATKE AND BLACK JESUS EXPERIENCE | To Know Without Knowing | Agogo
4 LIDO PIMIENTA | Miss Colombia | Anti-
5 CALIBRO 35 | Momentum | Record Kicks
6 CADENCE REVOLUTION: DISQUES DEBS INTERNATIONAL VOL. 2 | various artists | Strut
7 GILBER T | "Sinnerman" [Single] | Tomba
8 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | Borek | Playground
9 SUPERFONICOS | "El Adios" [Single] | Public Hi-Fi
10 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti | Ostinato

July 11, 2020

Consistent fantasy is reality

Gaye Su Akyol (pictured above)'s most recent album is entitled Consistent Fantasy Is Reality (or Istkrarli Hayal Hakikattir in the original Turkish).  She's saying that we have to dream into action the reality we want to live.  Or you could flip the notion over and use it as a slogan for, let's say, Fox News.

Either way, it's a hell of a good title.  You'll hear Akyol this week in a set of Turkish psychedelic-tinged music from the past and present, all with a kind of science-fiction feel to it.

Also this week (Monday July 13, 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): birdsong of Latin America, cadence-lypso from the French Caribbean, blues and spirituals with a Global A Go-Go twist, West African highlife from 1958 to today, and Arabic pop and electronic dabke from Palestine and Syria.

July 4, 2020

At the front I was finally free

Sahra Halgan first got serious about singing when she was a 16 year old nurse serving at the front line of Somalia's civil war.  She says, "At the front I was finally free.  The soldiers had other things to do than forbid me to sing."

In 1988, her country's air force dropped bombs on her hometown, Hargeisa, driving Sahra and many others into exile.  She stayed in France for 24 years, working as a janitor in a public school (among other jobs) and developing her music.

Sahra moved back to Hargeisa after the civil war ended in 2012 and opened the first post-war music venue in Somalailand (Somalia's northwest province which seceded from the failed state in 1991).  Her second album was released in March and it's remarkable, although no more remarkable than her life story.  You'll hear the Sahra Halgan Trio's new music this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday July 6, 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 short survey of nyabinghi drumming in Jamaican popular music, the best Balkan brass album of the year is from Finland of all places, 35 years of South African dance music in three songs, the marvelous guitar music of Angola called semba, and a brand-new single from Austin's Superfonicos.

June 30, 2020

Charts June 23-29, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LUKA PRODUCTIONS AND KANDIAFA | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 06 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
2 AMARIA HAMADALHER | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 05 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
3 NICO GOMEZ AND HIS AFRO-PERCUSSION INC | "Baila Chibiquiban" [Single] | Matasuna
4 ALKIBAR JUNIOR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 04 | Sahel Sounds
5 HAILU MERGIA | Yene Mircha | Awesome Tapes From Africa
6 SILVERY BOYS, THE | The Silvery Boys | Vampisoul
7 JEICH OULD BALDU | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 03 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
8 ETRAN DE L'AIR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 01 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
9 SUPERFONICOS | "El Adios" [Single] | Public Hi-Fi
10 BAHAMA SOUL CLUB | "Never Roam No More (feat John Lee Hooker)" [Single] | Buyu

June 27, 2020

Put your cellphone down, in the place of me

We'll start this week's program with four selections from Sahel Sound's new Music From Saharan WhatsApp series.  Throughout 2020, the label is releasing one EP a month that's been recorded by the artists on a cellphone in the southern Sahara, transmitted over WhatsApp, and uploaded to Bandcamp where it's available for a month before it disappears, just like a WhatsApp message does.

This subversive distribution model gives 100 percent of the proceeds to the musicians and reflects how most music is acquired in the region: by file sharing (with no payment to the artists, of course) over WhatsApp.  It's also resulted in an immediacy that you just won't hear in other recordings -- it's the next best thing to the live performances we're all missing right now.  You can read more about the series here.

Also this week (Monday June 29, 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): kora shredding; a taste of Afro-Japanese music; the latest from Ukraine's DakhaBrakha; Latin psych-funk from the 60s and 70s; and a Hailu Mergia sampler.

June 22, 2020

Charts June 16-22, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti | Ostinato
2 POIRIER | Soft Power | Wonderwheel
3 MICHAEL MENDEZ | "Love TKO" [Single] | Purple Lion
4 CHALO CORREIA | "Kudihohola / Chercher Crioula" [Single] | Matasuna
5 BELLA BLAIR | "Gimmie A Light" [Single] | Frankie
6 ALBOROSIE | "Unprecedented Time" [Single] | VP
7 INNA DE YARD | "Skylarking (feat Horace Andy)" [Single] | Chapter Two / Wagram
8 SANTROFI | Alewa | Out Here
9 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
10 JONAZ | "Cangrejita" [Single] | self-released

June 18, 2020

Shoulder dance

You might know it as the Harlem shake.  But like a lot of American dance crazes, it actually started in Africa.  The characteristic shoulder popping of the Harlem shake looks a whole lot like the traditional Ethiopian dance called esketsa (literally "dancing shoulders").  On this episode of Global A Go-Go, you'll hear the "chic-chic-ka" rhythm, the one you do the esketsa to, as performed by artists from Ethiopia, Djibouti and the USA.

Also this week (Monday June 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): British electric folk with a psychedelic haze; modern highlife from 1980 and 2020; four new reggae singles; a set of vintage Brazilian samba-soul; and the rhythms of Cote D'Ivoire's coupe decale.

June 15, 2020

Charts June 9-15, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ORKESTA MENDOZA | Curandero | Glitterbeat
2 FALLE NIOKE AND GHOST CULTURE | "Barke" [Single] | PRAH
3 K FRIMPONG AND SUPER COMPLEX SOUNDS | Ahyewa Special | Hot Casa
4 KEVIN FLOREZ AND THE BUSY TWIST | "Champetizate" [Single] | Palenque / Farra Rap
5 WU FEI AND ABIGAIL WASHBURN | Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn | Smithsonian Folkways
6 ORCHESTRA GOLD | "Lemuru" [Single] | self-released
7 AKSAK MABOUL | Figures | Crammed
8 CALIBRO 35 | Momentum | Record Kicks
9 BELLA BLAIR | "Gimmie A Light" [Single] | Frankie
10 EL BUHO | "Black Catbird (feat The Garifuna Collective)" [Single] | Shika Shika

June 12, 2020

Super complex sounds

Alhaji Kwame Frimpong is one of African music's all-time greats, a Ghanaian bandleader whose work is equal parts vintage palm-wine highlife and modern Afrofunk-Afrobeat.  His second album Ahyewa Special (pictured above) was out of print forever, changing hands for as much as $1,000.

Paris' Hot Casa Records has licensed it from Frimpong's family and reissued it, so now we can all enjoy the glory and the family can earn some royalties.  I'll play you a side-long jam from Ahyewa Special this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday June 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): a sampler of Tucson AZ's Orkesta Mendoza; African tradi-mod (traditional meets electronic) music; Malian garage rock; when American and Asian folk traditions collide; and ndombolo straight outta Cartagena.

June 8, 2020

Charts June 2-8, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 FRANCK BIYONG FEAT CRISTINA VIOLLE | Trouble [EP] | Hot Casa
2 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti [Advance Tracks] | Ostinato
3 NOHE AND SUS SANTOS | Tempestad | Avokado Artists
4 GREGORY ISAACS | "Babylon Too Tough" [Single] | 17 North Parade
5 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
6 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | Brasses For The Masses | Asphalt Tango
7 OLAMINA AND AWARENESS | Back To The Mission | Love City
8 AKSAK MABOUL | Figures | Crammed
9 KELEKETLA! | "Future Toyi Toyi" [Single] | Ahead Of Our Time
10 BARRINGTON LEVY | "Praise His Name" [Single] | 17 North Parade

June 4, 2020

Uplifter or downpressor?

Photograph by Michael Lease
I'm going to start this week's program with a tribute to George Floyd in honor of his family -- that is, all of us.

Rastafarians have a theory of language called Wordsound: a word should sound like what it means.  So 'oppressor' doesn't make sense -- you can't start a negative term with the "up" sound.  Rasta says 'downpressor' instead, giving you the image of a man with his knee on your neck, pressing down.

In these times, it's incumbent on all of us to choose: Am I an uplifter or a downpressor?  I don't think there's an in-between.

Also this week (Monday June 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), Global A Go-Go uplifts you with a song by Idir, who brought Algerian Kabyle music to the world; women of cumbia; Igbo Afrobeat from Nigeria; the first ever international release from Djibouti; and a Balkan beats dance party.

June 1, 2020

Charts May 23 - Jun 1, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SAHEL SOUNDS LABEL SAMPLER 2 | various artists | Sahel Sounds
2 OLAMINA AND AWARENESS | Back To The Mission | Love City
3 PRINCE FATTY AND SHNIECE MCMENAMIN | "Take Me As I Am (feat Horseman)" [Single] | Evergreen
4 PRINCE ALLA | "Nah Go A Them Burial" [Single] | 17 North Parade
5 KOKOROKO |  "Carry Me Home" [Single] | Brownswood
6 AMARIA HAMADALHER | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 05 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
7 ALBOROSIE | "Unprecedented Time" [Single] | VP
8 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
9 INNA DE YARD | "Skylarking (feat Horace Andy)" [Single] | Chapter Two / Wagram
10 ALKIBAR JUNIOR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 04 [EP] | Sahel Sounds

May 27, 2020

Tony Allen, 1940-2020

First of all, it's great to be back on Global A Go-Go after hiding out from Covid-19 for 2-1/2 months.  Thank you to Eric Godsey for filling in for me during that time -- you can now check Eric out every other Tuesday morning between 6 and 8 AM on WRIR's Tuesday Morning Breakfast Blend, where he shares the time slot with Georgie Isaacs.

For my return, I'd like to start with a program in tribute to the great Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who passed away on April 30.  He's one of my favorite musicians of all time in any genre: a drummer whose effortlessly cool style both defined and transcended Afrobeat, the genre of music he essentially co-invented alongside Fela Kuti.

On this week's program (Monday June 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) you'll hear two hours of Tony Allen's drumming from all seven decades of his career.   We'll range from his early days with Fela in the Koola Lobitos and the legendary Afrika 70, to his solo career, his electronica experiments, his many collaborations and the new album he just released in March with Hugh Masakela.

May 25, 2020

Charts May 16-22, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | Brasses For The Masses | Asphalt Tango
2 GUASA, CUNUNO Y MARIMBA: AFRO-COLOMBIAN MUSIC FROM THE PACIFIC COAST | various artists | Vampisoul
3 MDOU MOCTAR | "Ibitlan" b/w "Tiknass (Sunbone)" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
4 WUTA MAYI | La Face Cachee | Sterns
5 BEBEL GILBERTO | Agora [Advance Tracks] | PIAS
6 OLAMINA AND AWARENESS | Back To The Mission | Love City
7 SILVERY BOYS, THE | The Silvery Boys | Vampisoul
8 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti [Advance Tracks] | Ostinato
9 NICO GOMEZ AND HIS AFRO-PERCUSSION INC | "Baila Chibiquiban" [Single] | Matasuna
10 GREGORY ISAACS | "Babylon Too Rough" [Single] | 17 North Parade

May 17, 2020

Charts May 9-15, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 FALLE NIOKE AND GHOST CULTURE | "Barke" [Single] | PRAH
2 SANTROFI | Alewa | Out Here
3 FADHILEE ITULYA | Kwetu | Naxos World
4 LADAMA | "Nobreza" [Single] | Six Degrees
5 FRANCK BIYONG FEAT CRISTINA VIOLLE | Trouble [EP] | Hot Casa
6 K FRIMPONG AND SUPER COMPLEX SOUNDS | Ahyewa Special | Hot Casa
7 TIDIANE THIAM | Siftorde | Sahel Sounds
8 KENYATTA HILL AND CULTURE | "Free Africa" [Single] | Rockers Artist Agency
9 BUSCABULLA | Regresa | Ribbon
10 ARCHIVES, THE | Carry Me Home [Advance Tracks] | Montserrat House