May 8, 2021

Global A Go-Go Classico: 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 May 10, 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) we'll rebroadcast my February 22, 2021 program focusing on Johnny Pacheco, Fania Records and the invention of salsa.

May 4, 2021

Charts Apr 20 - May 3, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CANZONIERE GRECANICO SALENTINO | Meridiana | Ponderosa
2 ALTIN GUN | Yol | ATO
3 GRESHKA | Inebriation | 4000
4 JUPITER AND OKWESS | Na Kozonga | Everloving
5 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | Suomi Disco | Playground
6 JAGUAR | "Siguele El Paso" [Single] | El Palmas
7 AYUNNE SULE | Putoo Katare Yire | Rebel Up
8 LOS MUTABLES | "Pasos En La Luna/Suspenso En El Espacio" [Single] | Munster
9 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
10 DIANA BURCO | "Negra Del Sur" [Single] | Somos

May 2, 2021

Time is what happens when nothing else happens

Thank you to the almost 500 donors who contributed $49,000 during WRIR's Spring 2021 fund drive, which ended last week.  That's an all-time record for both donors and dollars, and it tops our dollar goal by almost 25%.  All of WRIR's volunteers are in awe of your generosity -- the tower of low power is standing strong thanks to you!

This week on Global A Go-Go we're premiering the forthcoming new album by Italy's Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, the band that's renewing tarantella for the 2st century.  If you saw them at the 2016 Richmond Folk Festival you're already aware of how compelling and dynamic this band is, and that comes through on Meridiana, which will be released on May 21.
 
Also this week (Monday May 3, 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): three from Timbuktu, Colombia meets Cameroon, the latest by Jupiter & Okwess, gypsy music from outside the Balkans and some Brazilian samba-soul chestnuts.

April 25, 2021

WRIR's Spring 2021 fund drive

One of the things I've missed the most during the COVID-19 pandemic has been live music.  There's a good chance you're feeling the same way as me.
 
So my program for what will hopefully be the last WRIR fund drive under pandemic conditions (Monday April 26, 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) is going to focus on some of the most memorable concerts I've attended over the last 40 years.
 
I have some unique stories to tell about shows I've been to: The night Fela Kuti got all the taxicabs off the road; unexpected pleasures in Paris, Barcelona and Vienna; driving 2-1/2 hours in a tropical storm to see an outdoor gig; hanging with Ethiopian attorneys in New York; and more.
 
And I'll be encouraging you to donate to WRIR before our Spring 2021 fund drive ends on Wednesday April 28 at 11 PM.  Like, how about doing it right now?  Just click on this link: wrir.org/donating
 
Oh, about that photograph above.  That's me and some of my WRIR colleagues enjoying live music at the Richmond Folk Festival in 2012.  Clockwise from top left, you're seeing Mike (Mr. Jazz) Gourrier of Bebop And Beyond, yours truly, Alyssa (P. Swann) Salomon of Can't Stop The Music, Charles (DJ Graybeard) Williams of The Other Black Music and The Motherland Influence and Carl (DJ Carlito) Hamm of If Music Could Talk.

April 21, 2021

Charts April 13-19, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 JOSE CARLOS SCHWARZ AND LE COBIANA DJAZZ | Lua Ki Di Nos | Hot Mule
2 AYUUNA SULE | "Don't Be Lazy" [Single] | Rebel Up
3 DELGRES | 4:00 AM | PIAS
4 LOS MUTABLES | "Pasos En La Luna/Suspenso En El Espacio" [Single] | Munster
5 LOS MASTER PLUS | "Buena Vida" (feat Pato Machete) [Single] | Nacional
6 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
7 AFROSOUND | La Danza De Los Mirlos | Vampisoul
8 NATION BEAT | The Royal Chase | NBM
9 THE BOYS FROM NAIROBI: BENGA AND RUMBA FROM 1980S KENYA | various artists | No Wahala Sounds
10 ALOSTMEN | Kologo | Strut

April 18, 2021

Ban mwen on chanson

 
4:00 AM by Delgres, released earlier this month, is one of my favorite new albums so far this year.  They're a power trio from France with leader Pascal Danae on dobro, the bass line is provided by tuba, and drum kit finishes the combo.
 
Danae's parents are from Guadeloupe and his songs, mostly written in Creole, have echoes of both delta blues and the French Caribbean.  It's a new urban folk music for the 21st century, or the sound of an imaginary alternative New Orleans.  You'll hear a track from 4:00 AM on this week's program, along with a healthy dose of Caribbean sounds from Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic.
 
Also this week (Monday April 19, 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): Cobiana Djazz of Guine-Bissau, more kologo music from Ghana, another cumbia sampler, and guitar music of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

April 13, 2021

Charts April 6-12, 2021

 
WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | "Surbajo" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
2 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
3 KANE MATHIS | Geminus | Nyaato
4 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists [Advance Tracks] | El Palmas
5 LEE FRY MUSIC | "Wianek (feat Alia Fay)" [Single] | self-released
6 ELIDA ALMEIDA | Gerasonobu | Lusafrica
7 NATION BEAT | The Royal Chase | NBM
8 YAADCORE, JAH9 AND SUBATOMIC SOUND SYSTEM | "Police In Helicopter" [Single] | Yard Birdz-Subatomic Sound
9 ALTIN GUN | Yol | ATO
10 TOMMY GUERRERO | Sunshine Radio | Too Good

April 10, 2021

You are flawless

The swinging 60s happened all over the planet, even in Ethiopia, one of the world's most tradition-loving and inward-focused countries.  We'll visit the Swinging Addis of the 60s and 70s on this week's edition of Global A Go-Go with five Ethio-oldies from that wonderful era.
 
Also this week (Monday April 12, 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): progressive folk music from Eastern Europe, new desert blues by Les Filles De Illighadad, the Senegambian kora, West Africa's funky Afropop and funana from the island nation of Cabo Verde.

April 7, 2021

Charts Mar 30 - Apr 5, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DELGRES | 4:00 AM | PIAS
2 EDO FUNK EXPLOSION VOL 1 | various artists | Analog Africa
3 LOS MUTABLES | "Pasos En La Luna/Suspenso En El Espacio" [Single] | Munster
4 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
5 MUITO KABALLA POWER ENSEMBLE | "Mamari" [Single] | Rebel Up
6 AMPEX, THE | The Ampex | Munster
7 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
8 LOS TEDDY'S | Doce Psicoexitos | Munster
9 JUPITER AND OKWESS | Na Kozonga [Advance Tracks] | Everloving
10 CHRISTINE SALEM | Mersi | Blue Fanal

April 4, 2021

We'll do it live

In the immortal words of Bill O'Reilly (youtube.com/watch?v=Qy-Y3HJNU_s): "we'll do it live!"  Yes, Global A Go-Go is back in WRIR's Studio A for the first time in 56 weeks, thanks to the good work of Drs. Johnson & Johnson.  I'm looking forward to doing live radio again, and I can't wait to find out which mistakes I'm going to make in my rusty first week back.

Here's what you'll hear this week (Monday April 5, 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): new music from a German one-man band that's now a 9-piece powerhouse ensemble, some urbane MPB from Brazil, Afro-boogie circa 1978, hard-hitting island blues from France, and a double shot of Get In The Garage, a recurring feature on this show spotlighting garage rock from around the world.

March 31, 2021

Charts March 23-29, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CARAVELA | Orla | None More
2 BAIUCA | "Luar" (feat Lilaina) [Single] | Raso Estudio
3 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists [Advance Tracks] | El Palmas
4 KASAI ALLSTARS | "Olooh, A War Dance For Peace" [Single] | Crammed
5 PUPA CURLY | "Wake Up Mama (feat Aziatic & SupaG)" [Single] | Tuff Kruffy Entertainment
6 LITO BARRIENTOS Y SU ORQUESTA/LOS ROBBINS | "Cumbia En Do Menor/Patricia" [Single] | Vampisoul
7 LA PESADA | Tomate Y Alandette | Vampisoul
8 TENO AFRIKA | Amapiano Selections | Awesome Tapes From Africa
9 OMAR SOSA | An East African Journey | Ota
10 WAU WAU COLLECTIF | Yaral Sa Doom | Sahel Sounds-Sing A Song Fighter

March 28, 2021

La cumbia del cuervo

I've recently received a bunch of cool cumbia reissues from the 60s and 70s and I just bought another great cumbia compilation too, so that gave me the impetus to dig into my collection and pull out a bunch of tracks that I haven't played on the show in years.  The result is today's second hour -- all cumbia, baby!
 
Also this week (Monday March 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): the kologo of Ghana's Frafra people, music from Galicia, and Manu Chao and more musica mestiza.

March 23, 2021

Charts March 16-22, 2021


WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 STAR LOVERS | Boafo Ne Nyame | Hot Casa
2 KASAI ALLSTARS | "Olooh, A War Dance For Peace" [Single] | Crammed
3 EDO FUNK EXPLOSION VOL. 1 | various artists | Analog Africa
4 AMJ COLLECTIVE FEAT NAI-JAH | "Let Go Of Fear" [Single] | Astar Artes
5 ALTIN GUN | Yol | ATO
6 BEATERS, THE | Harari | Matsuli
7 URBAN VILLAGE | Udondolo | No Format
8 ROGER FAKHR | Fine Anyway | Habibi Funk
9 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
10 AMPEX, THE | The Ampex | Munster

March 21, 2021

Ponta de lanca africano

Jorge Ben, my all-time favorite Brazilian musician, is 76 years old on March 22.  He's the father of the genre called samba-soul, but really his music crosses all the boundaries between Brazilian popular music styles of the late 20th century.  He's samba and jovem guarda and bossa nova and tropicalia and MPB all at the same time.
 
This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday March 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) you'll hear five of my favorite Jorge Ben songs.  And it was hard work winnowing it down to just five!
 
Also this week: new music from Congotronics band Kasai Allstars, rock music of southern Africa, four bands that are reviving Turkey's 1970s Anatolian rock sound, some top-shelf reggae singing, and highlife meets post-disco boogie.

March 16, 2021

Charts March 9-15, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ANANSY CISSE | Anoura | Riverboat
2 AFROSOUND | La Danza De Los Mirlos | Vampisoul
3 BOMBA ESTEREO | Deja [Advance Tracks] | Sony Latin
4 FRANCOIS AND THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS | Banane Bleue | Domino
5 SUE MASKALERIS | Love Is The Key | Jazilian
6 JUANA MOLINA | ANRMAL (Live In Mexico) | Crammed
7 LIDO PIMIENTA | Miss Colombia | Anti-
8 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime [Advance Tracks] | Matador
9 ALSARAH | "Your Love Is Home" [Single] | self-released
10 LA MAMBANEGRA | "Oilo" [Single] | Tambora