May 25, 2024

Afro-hayashi

What happens when you take Japanese traditional ohayashi festival music, add African grooves to it and play it on homemade bamboo instruments?  You get the band Ajate, whose superb new album Dala Toni is the latest in global music made in Japan.  Hear it for yourself this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Sunday May 26, 1:00-3:00 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): Olivier Conan's new Combo Daguerre project, great new music from Sahra Halgan and Delgrès, Orquesta Akokán's modern mambo, Tidiane Thiam says "Africa, it's time" and the latest from female gnawa pioneers Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou.

May 22, 2024

Charts May 13-19, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 MERIDIAN BROTHERS | Mi Latinoamerica Sufre | Ansonia/Bongo Joe
2 OKWY OSADEBE AND HIGHLIFE SOUNDMAKERS INTERNATIONAL | Ifunanya | Odogwu Entertainment/Palenque
3 QWANQWA | Live | self-released
4 ASMAA HAMZAOUI AND BNAT TIMBOUKTOU | L'bnat | Ajabu
5 GHANA SPECIAL 2: ELECTRONIC HIGHLIFE AND AFRO SOUNDS IN THE DIASPORA, 1980-93 | various artists | Soundway
6 MYRIAM GENDRON | Mayday | Thrill Jockey
7 BAB L'BLUZ | Swaken | Real World
8 MIGHTY JOSHUA | Dreaducation | Mighty
9 LES BELGICAINS: NA TANGO YA COVADIA 1964-1970 | various artists | Covadia
10 FRANCK BIYONG | "Lipanda (feat. Mary May)" [Single] | Tangential

May 17, 2024

Beyond Bogotá

I've been playing a lot of Colombian music lately.  La Perla played live in WRIR's Studio C on May 4 before their performance at Get Tight Lounge; when they were here I spun another 40 minutes of music by other current Bogotá bands.  Then Meridian Brothers, also from Bogotá, played Get Tight on May 13 and you heard their music on Global A Go-Go as well.
 
But the Colombian musical scene extends way beyond Bogotá.  This week on Global A Go-Go you'll hear four more current Colombian bands from across that big country, including Rancho Aparte from Cali who will be headlining the Richmond Folk Festival this fall.
 
Also this week (Sunday May 19, 1:00-3:00 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 unique Ethio-jazz of Qwanqwa; the latest from Dutch-Indonesian hipsters Nusantara Beat; probably the two best American Congolese bands right now: Occidental Brothers Dance Band and Loboko; a great new juju single from Franck Biyong; and burger highlife, the sound of the Ghanaian diaspora.

May 14, 2024

Charts May 6-12, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 MIGHTY JOSHUA | Dreaducation | Mighty Music
2 MDOU MOCTAR | Funeral For Justice | Matador
3 MYRIAM GENDRON | Mayday | Thrill Jockey
4 MERIDIAN BROTHERS | "En El Caribe Estoy Triste" [Single] | Ansonia/Bongo Joe
5 IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE | Pull The Rope | Merge
6 AMADOU AND MARIAM | "Mogolu" [Single] | Because
7 YELLOWMAN | Zungguzungguguzungguzeng | Greensleeves
8 LOS BITCHOS | "La Bomba" [Single] | City Slang
9 BONGO HOP, THE | Satingarona Pt. 1 | Underdog
10 RAIL BAND | Rail Band | Mississippi

May 10, 2024

Those confusing nooks & crannies of self-improvement

It was great to meet so many Global A Go-Go listeners at the La Perla show at Get Tight Lounge last Saturday night!  And the Colombian takeover of Richmond continues on Monday May 13, once again at Get Tight (Richmond's Colombian embassy, I guess?), with a performance by another one of Bogotá's hottest bands, Meridian Brothers.
 
I've seen them before and they're not to be missed.  Meridian Brothers' forthcoming album Mi Latinoamérica Sufre takes a characteristically off-center approach to champeta, the uniquely Colombian mixture of traditional rhythms with African highlife, soukous and Afrobeat.  If you want to get an idea of what they sound like, I'll play Meridian Brothers' brand new single this week on Global A Go-Go alongside other Colombian artists past and present working in the champeta groove.

Also this week (Sunday May 12, 1:00-3:00 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 new album from Richmond's own Mighty Joshua; new Afro sounds by Amadou & Mariam, Aboubacar Traoré and Afla Sackey; Eastern European roots music including the latest from Russia's Otava Yo; Get in the Garage presents current garage rock from Yiddishland, Turkey via Israel, London and Brooklyn; and the latest guitar heroics of Mdou Moctar, who will be playing Richmond's Friday Cheers on June 7.

May 8, 2024

Charts Apr 29 - May 5, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 LOS BITCHOS | "La Bomba" [Single] | City Slang
2 LES BELGICAINS: NA TANGO YA COVADIA 1964-70 | various artists | Covadia
3 MDOU MOCTAR | Funeral For Justice | Matador
4 CEU | Novela | Urban Jungle
5 LINDIGO | Oye Maloya | Helico
6 YEMAYA LA BANDA | Asimetricas | Cultur'el
7 MEKLIT | Ethio Blue [EP] | self-released
8 BROOKLYN SOUNDS | Brooklyn Sounds! | Vampisoul
9 BLACK ROOTS | Roots | Nubian
10 LUCIANA DEMINGONGO | Une Plume Une Voix Une Guitare | Une Plume Une Voix Une Guitare

May 3, 2024

Las tres brujas del tambor

La Perla, las tres brujas del tambor (the three witches of the drums) from Bogotá Colombia, are coming to Richmond this week.  They will be performing at the Get Tight Lounge, 1104 W. Main Street, on Saturday May 4.  Doors open at 7:30 PM; La Perla goes on stage at 9:00.

They will also be performing live on WRIR this Saturday afternoon between 1 and 3 PM.  I'll be hosting a special edition of the WRIR program "Cause & Effect," featuring the music of La Perla, their influences, and some of the many bands in the very hip current Bogotá scene.  And La Perla will join me in WRIR's Studio C for a live performance and conversation.

La Perla is a band of three young Bogotanas whose 21st century feminist global perspective on traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms is adding a new dimension to contemporary Latin music.  Using just voices and drums, and maybe a little bit of electronics, their music encompasses Afro-Colombia (genres like cumbia, chalupa and mapalé), the broader Latin world (samba, guaguancó, chicha) and the ever-present North (rap, punk rock).  They are the folk process in action, in real time.

May 1, 2024

Charts April 15-28, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 CONGO FUNK! SOUND MADNESS FROM THE SHORES OF THE MIGHTY CONGO RIVER |various artists | Analog Africa
2 MULATU ASTATKE | Mulatu Of Ethiopia | Strut
3 LASS | Passeport | Chapter Two
4 SAM MANGWANA AND ORCHESTRE VOX AFRICA | 1967 Kinshasa [EP] | SAM Productions
5 TETE MBAMBISA | African Day | As Shams/The Sun
6 SABRI BROTHERS | Jami | Piranha
7 FLORENCE ADOONI | "Uh-Ah Song" [Single] | Philophon
8 FRANCO LUAMBI MAKIADI | Presents Les Editions Populaires | Planet Ilunga
9 WAGADU GROOVES: THE HYPNOTIC SOUND OF CAMARA 1987-2016 | various artists | Hot Mule
10 ALPHEUS | Unify | Liquidator

April 29, 2024

La Perla from Bogotá, live in Richmond Saturday May 4

La Perla, las tres brujas del tambor (the three witches of the drums) from Bogotá Colombia, are coming to Richmond this week.
 
They will be performing at the Get Tight Lounge, 1104 W. Main Street, on Saturday May 4.  Doors open at 7:30 PM; La Perla goes on stage at 9:00.  You can get your tickets here: https://dice.fm/event/g8rpb-la-perla-at-gtl-4th-may-get-tight-lounge-richmond-tickets

They will also be performing live on WRIR this Saturday afternoon between 1 and 3 PM.  I'll be hosting a special edition of the WRIR program "Cause & Effect," featuring the music of La Perla, their influences, and some of the many bands in the very hip current Bogotá scene.  And La Perla will join me in WRIR's Studio C for a live performance and conversation.  You can listen on 97.3 FM in Richmond or at wrir.org anywhere.

April 26, 2024

African day

Pianist Tete Mbambisa is one of the South African jazz greats who stayed in his home country in the 1970s, when many of his peers like Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba were beating apartheid by going into exile.  It was hard to get international recognition (not to mention make a living) as a South African jazzman in the 70s, but there's some fabulous music from that period that we're only started to hear.
 
The As Shams label has just issued previously unreleased recordings from 1976 featuring Mbambisa, his stellar quartet and guest soloists Basil Coetzee, Barney Rachabane and Dennis Mpale.  These sessions are right up there with Ibrahim's best work of that period.  Hear it for yourself this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Sunday April 28, 1:00-3:00 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): Mali's Soninke sound of the 1990s; Afrofunk from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Togo and Ghana; more from Colombia's La Perla, who will be at the Get Tight Lounge on Saturday May 4 (and live on WRIR that afternoon); what's new in the world of reggae; and the reissue of a qawwali classic by the Sabri Brothers.

April 19, 2024

Ritmo realidad

WRIR's Spring 2024 Fund Drive is now underway -- we're hard at work toward raising $45,000 by Saturday April 27th to power Richmond's community radio station for another six months.   Thank you for your previous donations to Richmond Independent Radio and for your continuing support if you're a monthly donor!  I'm writing to encourage you to make a contribution once again this spring, if you can.  Become a monthly donor by clicking this link: https://bit.ly/3QnrP5H.  Or make a one-time donation to WRIR here: https://bit.ly/3FnagN1.

April 15, 2024

Charts April 8-14, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 JEMBAA GROOVE | Ye Ankasa/We Ourselves | Agogo
2 CONGO FUNK! SOUND MADNESS FROM THE SHORES OF THE MIGHTY CONGO RIVER | various artists | Analog Africa
3 SINKANE | We Belong | City Slang
4 DELE SOSIMI AND THE ESTUARY 21 | The Confluence | Wah Wah 45s
5 PROJECT GEMINI | Colours & Light | Mr Bongo
6 FLORENCE ADOONI | "Uh-Ah Song" [Single] | Philophon
7 LIRAZ | "Haarf" [Single] | Batov
8 AUSECUMA BEATS | Dakar Bamako | Music In Exile
9 EMAHOY TSEGE MARIAM GEBRU | Souvenirs | Mississippi
10 AZIZA BRAHIM | Mawja (Wave) | Glitterbeat

April 11, 2024

O Lord, increase my bewilderment

If you saw the late, great Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band last fall at the Richmond Folk Festival or last spring at Get Tight Lounge -- Hisham Mayet made that happen.
 
Hisham produced all three of Baba's albums for Sublime Frequencies, the record label Hisham co-founded, and he was Baba's road manager for that epic American tour.  Hisham also produced the first recording of Omara Moctar aka Bombino, the Tamasheq desert blues guitarist who's now an international star.
 
Along with his audio work, Hisham Mayet is also a film maker and photographer who describes his ouevre as "folk cinema."  This year the James River Film Festival is screening two of Hisham's movies: The Divine River, a record of music, ritual, life and landscape along the Niger River in Mali and the Republic of Niger, and Oulaya's Wedding, which takes you inside the week-long wedding of the daughter of Western Sahara's most famous family band, Group Doueh.

The films will be shown at the Byrd Theatre on Saturday April 20 at 11:30 AM.  This week, one lucky Global A Go-Go listener will win a pair of tickets to the screening, and all Global A Go-Go listeners will get to hear a set of music from the two documentaries.

Also this week (Sunday April 14, 1:00-3:00 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 Ghanaian music from Jembaa Groove and Florence Adooni, the South Bronx's fabulous Ghetto Brothers, brand new singles by Altın Gün and Liraz, more sounds of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Senegal and Mali meet Australia in Ausecuma Beats.

April 9, 2024

Charts April 1-7, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 SAHRA HALGAN | Hiddo Dhawr | Danaya
2 MERCI YAYA BONGO: LES GROUPES D'ANIMATION FEMININS DU GABON, 1982-1989 | various artists | Secousse
3 NEWEN AFROBEAT | Grietas [EP] | Lichens Family
4 CONGO FUNK! SOUND MADNESS FROM THE SHORES OF THE MIGHTY CONGO RIVER | various artists | Analog Africa
5 LA YEGROS | Haz | X-Ray
6 TOGO SOUL 2 | various artists | Hot Casa
7 DYNAMQ | "Khamsa Degiga" [Single] | River Nile
8 JOY, THE | "You Complete Me" [Single] | Transgressive
9 ORQUESTA AKOKAN | "Con Altura" b/w "TKN" [Single] | Daptone
10 OLUKO IMO | Glory Of Om | Soundway

April 5, 2024

Keep the culture

Sahra Halgan's back story is so compelling that it can be a distraction from her brilliant music.  She was a nurse on the front lines of Somalia's civil war when her own country's air force dropped bombs on her home town of Hargeisa in Somaliland, driving her and thousands of others into exile.
 
Then she was a faceless refugee in France for 24 years, working as a cleaner and a cafeteria worker, raising five children, and playing music as a side hustle.  In Lyon, Halgan connected with a couple of open-eared local musicians and this trio (now a quartet) has honed a remarkably organic sound that you could call East African post-rock: They're muscular, angular and soulful, recognizably Somalian yet unlike anything else from there or anywhere else.

Halgan's new album Hiddo Dhawr (Keep The Culture) is named for the music venue she opened in Hargeisa in 2013.  You'll hear three songs from the album, my favorite album so far in 2024, this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Sunday April 7, 1:00-3:00 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): South African a cappella, Gabonese singing in praise of maximum leader Omar Bongo, a ticket giveaway to see the twangy soul-cumbia band LA LOM at Richmond Music Hall on Tuesday night, Oluko Imo's Trini Afrobeat and new dancehall South Sudanese style from Dynamq.