February 19, 2020

Charts February 1-14, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
2 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
3 LOS SHAINS | El Ritmo De Los Shains | Munster
4 LEVE LEVE: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE SOUNDS (70S - 80S) | various artists | Bongo Joe
5 ALEFA MADAGASCAR: SALEGY, SOUKOUS AND SOUL FROM THE RED ISLAND 1974-1984 | various artists | Strut
6 MARCOS VALLE | Cinzento | Deck
7 DALLAS | "Love From A Distance" [Single] | Rain Tree
8 ETRAN DE L'AIR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 01 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
9 NIKANOR | Bajo El Sol | Rebel Up
10 EL WALI | Tiris | Sahel Sounds

February 16, 2020

Nicotiana

Rumput is quite possibly the most unique band in Richmond: they specialize in keroncong, Indonesian string band music.  Last time I checked, they were the only band in the USA playing this popular and very cool style.  They're also unusual in that they're a true multimedia endeavor, with original visual art in the form of wayang (Indonesian shadow puppets) and crankies (Appalachian scrolling panoramas) integrated into their performances.

Their next performance is on Tuesday February 18 at the Firehouse Theatre (more info here), where they'll be rolling out (pun intended) a new crankie on the subject of the ongoing deadly colonial history of tobacco.  Two Rumput members, musician John Priestley and visual artist Beth Reid, will join me in the studio Monday to talk about the band, their upcoming gig and the surprising parallels between Virginia and Indonesia.

Also this week: a tribute to Joseph Shabalaba, cadence from the French Caribbean, classic 1970s salsa dura, the marimba music of Colombia's Pacific coast, and more funana from Cabo Verde.

February 4, 2020

Charts January 25-31, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 KALETA AND SUPER YAMBA BAND | Medaho | Ubiquity
2 GEOFF BERNER | Grand Hotel Cosmopolis | Coax
3 DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV | #fakenews | Menart
4 WUTA MAYI | La Face Cachee | Sterns
5 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
6 LOCOBEACH |  Psychedelic Disco Cumbia | Dorsal Fin/Peace & Rhythm
7 LONDON AFROBEAT COLLECTIVE | Humans | self-released
8 LOS AFROINS | A Gozar Salsomanos | Vampisoul
9 OTAVA YO | Do You Love | ARC
10 YORKSTON/THORNE/KHAN | Navarasa : Nine Emotions | Domino

February 2, 2020

Maximum enjoyment

Producer and anthologist Lucas Silva likes to call his home country of Colombia "the Soukous Republic of America."  Indeed, Congolese soukous is perhaps the most central element of champeta, the syncretic music of urban Afro-Caribbean Colombia (especially the cities of Cartagena and Baranquilla) that Silva has been championing for more than 20 years.

This week on Global A Go-Go, you'll hear a set of guarapo, the sub-genre that features DJs remixing specifically Congolese discs.  As with everything in the world of champeta, the goal is vacile efectivo: that's slang for "maximum enjoyment."

Also this week: the first edition of Sahel Sounds' Music From Saharan WhatsApp, some vintage early 80s Afro-pop, a set of lovers rock for Dennis Brown's birthday, new Peruvian chicha via Belgium, and the superb new album by Antibalas.

January 28, 2020

Charts January 11-24, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 AFRICA EXPRESS | Egoli | self-released
2 NIGERIA SOUL POWER 70: AFRO-FUNK, AFRO-ROCK, AFRO-DISCO | various artists | Soul Jazz
3 PUT ON YOUR BEST DRESS: SONIA POTTINGER, SKA AND ROCK STEADY, 1966-1967 | various artists | Doctor Bird
4 BATUNGA AND THE SUBPRIMES | "Gates Of Ouantou" [Single] | Matasuna
5 DAVID WALTERS | "Krye Mwen" [Single] | Heavenly Sweetness
6 EL WALI | Tiris | Sahel Sounds
7 MAMADOU KELLY | Les Bateaux | Clermont Music
8 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
9 FARAFI | Calico Soul | Piranha
10 ADNAN OTHMAN | Bershukor: A Retrospective Of Hits By A Malaysian Pop Yeh Yeh Legend | Sublime Frequencies

January 26, 2020

Please, machine, make my day

Bosnia's Dubioza Kolektiv is back with #fakenews, their ninth album of Balkan-flavored ska, punk, reggae, electronica, hip hop and rock.  And they're here to puncture some of that fake news, telling us that refugees aren't part of a grand conspiracy and marijuana isn't a gateway drug.

They're also not too concerned about robots taking over our jobs: "Go ahead, make my day" is their take, as you'll hear on the January 27 edition of Global A Go-Go.

Also this week: Cuba from son to salsa; the dulcet tones of Congolese singer Wuta Mayi; what's new in Afrobeat; psychedelic cumbia; and Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah's Moroccan funk.

January 17, 2020

The real boogaloo

This week's show happens on January 20: Martin Luther King Day and the Virginia legislature's annual Lobby Day, when citizens from across the commonwealth are encouraged to visit Richmond's Capitol Square and meet with their elected representatives.

It's also the day on which out-of-state militia groups, white nationalists and other "very fine people" (as our president has described them) are threatening to crash a gun-rights rally here in Richmond, part of their master plan to start a second civil war, which they refer to as The Boogaloo.

I usually defer to my colleagues on WRIR's News & Public Affairs team when it comes to covering gun nuts and other assorted limp-membered attention seekers.  But this co-opting of the term "boogaloo" will not stand, man!  Today on Global A Go-Go, you'll hear the real boogaloo: Spanish Harlem 1967, not Charlottesville 2017.

Also this week: new desert blues from Mamadou Kelly; klezmer meets funk; the music of Blitz The Ambassador, who's performing Tuesday at the ICA; folk music from eastern Europe; and a great new creole/coupe decale track from David Walters.

January 12, 2020

Charts January 4-10, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SAIGON SOUL REVIVAL | Hoa Am Xura | INFRACom!
2 EL WALI | Tiris | Sahel Sounds
3 JOUWALA COLLECTIVE | Bazaar | self-released
4 LOS SHAINS | El Ritmo De Los Shains | Munster
5 ALEFA MADAGASCAR: SALEGY, SOUKOUS AND SOUL FROM THE RED ISLAND 1974-1984 | various artists | Strut
6 JAMBU E OS MITICOS SONS DA AMAZONIA | various artists | Analog Africa
7 LOCOBEACH | Psychedelic Disco Cumbia | Dorsal Fin/Peace & Rhythm
8 POUR ME A GROG: THE FUNANA REVOLT IN 1990S CABO VERDE | various artists | Ostinato
9 SONORA CASINO | Trompeteros | Vampisoul
10 DOWN IN JAMAICA: 40 YEARS OF VP RECORDS | various artists | VP

January 10, 2020

Introducing Eric Godsey

On the January 13th edition of Global A Go-Go, I'll be joined in the studio by Eric Godsey, a recent WRIR volunteer who, like yours truly, digs music from around the world.

Eric is a musician (drummer for Richmond band The Wimps among many other things) and a music teacher whose taste runs to the percussive side of things.  You'll get the idea when he spins sets of current progressive music out of Africa, Colombian electronica, and cumbia from in the tradition to out of left field.

As for me, I'll give you the sounds of Brazilians Seu Jorge and Roge, who have a gig coming up in DC on Friday night; Ghanaian highlife from the 80s and today; and more.

January 7, 2020

Charts Dec 7, 2019 - Jan 3, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ALEFA MADAGASCAR: SALEGY, SOUKOUS AND SOUL FROM THE RED ISLAND | 1974-1984 | various artists | Strut
2 WUTA MAYI | La Face Cachee | Sterns
3 JUANA MOLINA | Forfun [EP] | Crammed
4 JAMBU E OS MITICOS SONS DA AMAZONIA | various artists | Analog Africa
5 ZAIKO LANGA LANGA AND JOSSART NYOKA LONGO | Seve | Prozal
6 POUR ME A GROG: THE FUNANA REVOLT IN 1990S CABO VERDE | various artists | Ostinato
7 JULIAN Y SU COMBO | Noche De Fiesta | Vampisoul
8 GARIFUNA COLLECTIVE, THE | Aban | Stonetree
9 RACHID TAHA | Je Suis Africain | Believe
10 AGGROLITES, THE | Reggae Now! | Pirates Press

January 3, 2020

Top ten compilations, reissues and historic recordings of 2019

On the January 6 edition of Global A Go-Go, we welcome in the new year with a look at my favorite new/old recordings of the last year: the best compilations, reissues and historic recordings released in 2019.

This is always a fun category for me -- I learn so much from reissued recordings I wasn't even aware of when they first were released, and I truly enjoy the curatorial ear and eye that labels like Analog Africa, Strut and Ostinato bring to their compilations.

There's two more labels I'd like to shout out here for their great work in 2019: Vampisoul, in acknowledgement of the reissue series they're doing in collaboration with Colombian labels Discos Fuentes, Codiscos and INS; and BBE (short for "Barely Breaking Even," which is so apt for everyone working in this niche of the music business) who started a fabulous reissue partnership with Nigeria's Tabansi Music Publishers.

With that as prologue, simply click "Read more" for my top ten compilations, reissues and historic recordings of 2019, plus ten honorable mentions:

December 27, 2019

Top ten singles & EPs of 2019

This week on the December 30th edition of Global A Go-Go, I'll unwrap my favorite singles and EPs of 2019.

I've been doing top ten album lists since WRIR went on the air in 2005, but this is the first time I've ever done a singles chart.  It's an acknowledgement of changing times.  I became an adult in the album era: we listened to LPs front to back and valued them for their sequencing and artwork as much as for the individual songs.  Today we're living in a world of streaming and Spotify; the individual song is king again, much as it was when I bought my first 45 way back in 1969.

Everything I'm playing this week was initially released as a single or EP.  Some would be on albums later in the year, but none of the tracks are merely album cuts that I think would make good singles.  They're all the actual item.

Without further ado, simply click "Read more" for my top ten singles and EPs of 2019, plus ten honorable mentions:

December 20, 2019

Top ten new releases of 2019

It's the most wonderful time of the year ....  That's right, it's the time of the year when Global A Go-Go unwraps its favorite albums of the last 12 months.

On the December 23rd edition of Global A Go-Go, it's my top ten new releases of 2019, plus ten honorable mentions.  On December 30th, you'll hear my favorite singles and EPs of the year.  And on January 6th it's my favorite compilations, reissues and historic recordings of the prior 12 months.

Without further ado, simply click "Read more" for my top ten new releases of 2019:

December 14, 2019

Tougher than tough

"Rougher than rough / Tougher than tough / Strong like lion / We are iron."  Rude boys take over Global A Go-Go on December 16: classic tracks from the 1960's and a new one inna rudee stylee by The Aggrolites.

Also this week: Afro sounds from coastal Colombia and northeast Brazil, West Africa's neo-garage bands, more Peruvian chicha, three from southern Africa, and Fat Freddy's Drop's new album.

December 8, 2019

Charts Nov 30 - Dec 6, 2019

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 STRICTLY THE BEST, VOL. 60 | various artists | VP
2 ONIPA | "Onipa / Makoma" [Single] | Strut
3 CHRIS DE WISE SHEPHERD | "Nera Wo'o Soke" [Single] | Lokalophon
4 KEITH AND TEX | Greatest Hits 1966-1970 | Rebel Sound
5 ADNAN OTHMAN | Bershukor: A Retrospective Of Hits By A Malaysian Pop Yeh Yeh Legend | Sublime Frequencies
6 KALETA AND SUPER YAMBA BAND | Medaho | Ubiquity
7 TINARIWEN | Amadjar | Anti-
8 ALTIN GUN | Gece | ATO
9 ANTOINETTE KONAN | Antoinette Konan | Awesome Tapes From Africa
10 DOWN IN JAMAICA: 40 YEARS OF VP RECORDS | various artists | VP