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.

December 26, 2020

Top ten compilations & reissues of 2020

This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday December 28, 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 wrapping up my 3-week-long look at my favorite recordings of 2020.
 
The focus this time will be on my favorite compilations and reissues of the year.  These categories are important parts of my personal collection; I use them to backfill my musical knowledge.
 
I've been actively listening to non-American music since the early 80s and I've increased that focus since I started Global A Go-Go in 2004.  However there are still vast holes in my musical experience.  I rely on reissues to highlight music of the past that I should know more about, and on compilations to make the case for genres, countries, regions and time periods that I've overlooked.

Without further ado, here's a list of my ten favorite compilations and reissues of 2020, plus ten honorable mentions:

December 19, 2020

Top ten new singles & EPs of 2020

It's week 2 of Global A Go-Go's 3-week review of my favorite recordings of 2020; this week you'll hear my favorite singles and EPs of the year.  Singles are definitely overtaking albums in the playlist/YouTube/Spotify era as the unit of account for recorded music.
 
2020 was the first year in which, wearing my World Music Director hat at WRIR, I recommended more singles and EPs than albums to our DJs (by a 60-40 margin, by the way).  Very simply, if you're not following singles and EPs, you're missing a lot of the most significant music that's coming out today.

So this week on Global A Go-Go (Monday December 21, 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) it's my top ten singles and EPs of 2020, plus ten honorable mentions and a few more to round out the two hours.

And here they are in list form:

December 14, 2020

Charts December 8-14, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 RHEINGANS SISTERS, THE | Receiver | Bendigedig
2 FAT FREDDY'S DROP | Lock-In | The Drop
3 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
4 ABELARDO CARBOBO Y SU CONJUNTO | Guana Tangula | Vampisoul
5 ALFREDO LINARES | Lo Que Tengo | Vampisoul
6 BUDOS BAND, THE | Long In The Tooth | Daptone
7 CONTENTO | Lo Bueno Esta Aqui | El Palmas
8 NAHAWA DOUMBIA | Kanawa | Awesome Tapes From Africa
9 QWANQWA | Volume 3 | Wuzzawazzee Industries
10 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | Borek | Playground Musicd Finland

December 13, 2020

Top ten new albums of 2020

It's the most wonderful time of the year, the time to find out who's been naughty and nice.  No, I'm not talking about the holiday season; I'm talking about when everyone's Best Of The Year lists come out.
 
I'll be rolling my own lists out over the next three weeks on Global A Go-Go.  On this week's program (Monday December 14, 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'll present my top ten new albums of 2020 plus ten honorable mentions.
 
Next week you'll hear my favorite singles and EPs of the year gone by, and in two weeks it will be selections from my favorite compilations, reissues and historic recordings of 2020.  In general, the less said about 2020 the better I guess, but it was a good year for the kind of music I play on this program and you'll hear that for yourself over the rest of December.
 
Without further ado, here are my top new releases of 2020:

December 8, 2020

Charts December 1-7, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 FEMI KUTI | "Pà Pá Pà" [Single] | Partisan
2 MADE KUTI | For(e)ward [Advance Tracks] | Partisan
3 JUANA MOLINA | ANRMAL (Live In Mexico) | Crammed
4 CARAVELA | "A Macieira" [Single] | None More
5 WARSAW AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | Antibody | Peace & Rhythm/Scriptology
6 MODESTE HUGUES AND KILEMA | Ala Maintso - Green World | ARC
7 TOM ZE | Raridades | Warner Brazil
8 PAPA ROSKO | Papa Rosko | Voodoo Possum
9 ZEDASHE | Silver Sanctuary | Electric Cowbell
10 LEYLA MCCALLA | Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute To Langston Hughes | Smithsonian Folkways

December 6, 2020

Diaper story

Most of the artists who led Brazil's late 1960s Tropicalia movement went on to become national icons: Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes and Gal Costa for example.  And then there's Tom Ze.  As his peers' music won more and more commercial and critical acclaim, Ze's became more and more experimental and forgotten.
 
It took a non-Brazilian to bring Ze the attention he deserves: David Byrne made Ze the first solo artist (after Byrne himself) to be released on his then-new Luaka Bop label in 1990.  A new collection of Tom Ze's singles, special projects and other rarities; you'll hear an unforgettable track from it on this week's edition of Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday December 7, 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): reggae goes country & western, left-of-center Colombian big band cumbia, new father-and-son singles by Femi and Made Kuti, a quick trip to Madagascar; and vintage dance music from the French Antilles.

December 1, 2020

Charts November 24-30, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 RICARDO LEMVO AND MAKINA LOCA | N'Dona Ponte | Mopiato
2 DANDANA | Free The System | Rebel Up
3 LOS SAICOS 69 | "El Mercenario/Un Poquito De Pena" [Single] | Munster
4 SONGHOY BLUES | Optimisme | Fat Possum
5 ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS | Kampala Fire [EP] | Switchstance
6 GINA CHAVEZ | La Que Manda [EP] | self-released
7 PROTOJE | In Search Of Lost Time | In.Digg.Nation Collective/Six Course/RCA
8 SETENTA | Materia Negra | Latin Big Note
9 MARCOS VALLE, ADRIAN YOUNGE AND ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD | Marcos Valle JID 003 | Jazz Is Dead
10 LADAMA | Oye Mujer | Six Degrees

November 28, 2020

Un poquito de pena

It's time for another installment in Global A Go-Go's "Get in the Garage" series focusing on garage-rock from around the world.  This time the focus is on Peru, which had a massive rock 'n' roll scene kick-started by a band that anticipated punk-rock a decade ahead of the name, Los Saicos (pictured above) and pushed into overdrive by a military junta that declared war on rock music in 1968.  Sometimes you gotta have something to rebel against ....

Also this week (Monday November 30, 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 classic long jam from Senegal's Orchestra Baobab, the psychedelic sounds of West Africa, Fat Freddy's Drop meets Tony Allen, another installment in "Salsa African Style" and scorching desert blues from the Sahel.

November 24, 2020

Charts November 17-23, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MAWULI DECKER | "Lololi-Lomko" [Single] | Matasuna
2 KOKOROKO | "Baba Ayoola" [Single] | Brownswood
3 BOUNALY | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 10 [EP] | Sahel Sound
4 ABELARDO CARBOBO Y SU CONJUNTO | Guana Tangula | Vampisoul
5 BOSQ | Y Su Descarga Internacional | Bacalao
6 MODOU TOURE | Touki | ARC
7 MONKEY MARC | Vital Sound | Digikillaz/DubShot
8 LEYLA MCCALLA | Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute To Langston Hughes | Smithsonian Folkways
9 JUANA MOLINA | ANRMAL (Live In Mexico) | Crammed
10 SONGHOY BLUES | Optimisme | Fat Possum

November 22, 2020

Celestial blues

Kokoroko is a young octet from London fronted by three female horn players; their music bridges Afrobeat, highlife and modern jazz.  They've released an EP and a couple of singles so far, and I expect more good things from them in the future.

Kokoroko's brand new single "Baba Ayoola" is a tribute to saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi's grandfather.  It's an ideal introduction to their sound and you'll be hearing it on this week's episode of Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday November 23, 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): acoustic music of the Sahel, old-fashioned Afropop is sounding good to me right now, three 5-star albums of South African jazz, modern highlife from Ghana and the roots of Colombian champeta, where cumbia meets Afrobeat.

November 17, 2020

Charts November 10-16, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 BROOKLYN RAGA MASSIVE | In D | self-released
2 GYPTIAN | "Warm & Easy" [Single] | VP
3 ALFREDO LINARES | Lo Que Tengo | Vampisoul
4 BOSQ | Y Su Descarga Internacional | Bacalao
5 VUSI MAHLASELA | Shebeen Queen | ATO
6 LOS MOCOSOS | All Grown Up | Hip Spanic
7 MISTA SAVONA PRESENTS HAVANA MEETS KINGSTON | "Beat Con Flow (feat Cimafunk)" [Single] | Cumbancha-Baco
8 SONGHOY BLUES | Optimisme | Fat Possum
9 JUANA MOLINA | ANRMAL (Live In Mexico) | Crammed
10 LUCAS NWANANGA AND HIS BAND | Back To Soweto | Umsakazo