October 25, 2020

WRIR's fall 2020 fund drive

WRIR's Fall 2020 Fund Drive is currently underway -- we're working to raise $40,000 by Wednesday October 28 to make sure Richmond's  "sound of surprise" continues to inform, inspire, delight and surprise you for a second 16 years (our first broadcast day was January 1, 2005 so we'll be turning 16 soon) and more beyond that.
 
Thank you for your previous donations to Richmond Independent Radio; I'm writing to encourage you to contribute once again this fall, if you can.  You can make that donation in less than two minutes by clicking this link: wrir.org/donating.

October 17, 2020

Global A Go-Go Classic: Tony Allen

I'm on vacation this week, so I'm presenting a rebroadcast of the program that was originally aired on WRIR on June 1, 2020.  It's a 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 October 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) 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 released in March with Hugh Masakela.

October 12, 2020

Charts October 6-12, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MUKAMBO PRESENTS GLOBAL AFROBEAT MOVEMENT | various artists | NYP
2 RICARDO LEMVO AND MAKINA LOCA | N'Dona Ponte | Mopiato
3 LEYLA MCCALLA | "Mesi Bondye" [Single] | Smithsonian Folkways
4 HIP HOP HOODIOS | "Mexican Miller (The Stephen Miller Song)" [Single] | self-released
5 CLINT EASTWOOD AND GENERAL SAINT | "Stop That Train/Talk About Run" [Single] | Greensleeves
6 LOS MOCOSOS | All Grown Up | Hip Spanic
7 ANDAL SUKABE | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 07 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
8 NOBLEZZA | "Coletera" [Single] | Codiscos
9 JUAN PINA CON LA REVELACION | Juan Pina Con La Revelacion | Vampisoul
10 BUDOS BAND, THE | Long In The Tooth | Daptone

October 11, 2020

Paging Dr. Freude ... Dr. Schaden Freude

Merriam-Webster reports that on October 2, "schadenfreude" was the most looked-up word on their dictionary's website.  So a set of related music seems timely, including a brand-new single from Hip Hop Hoodios about one of the many COVID-positive White House staffers, Stephen Miller.
 
Also this week (Monday October 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): Haitian twobadou and Jamaican mento, salsa made for Africa, soulful dub and Afrobeat, the amazing dance music of South Africa's Tsonga people, and remixers who've moved to Colombia for inspiration and great cratedigging.

October 6, 2020

Charts Sep 29 - Oct 5, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 RICARDO LEMVO AND MAKINA LOCA | N'Dona Ponte | Mopiato
2 CLINT EASTWOOD AND GENERAL SAINT | "Stop That Train/Talk About Run" [Single] | Greensleeves
3 CONTENTO | "Paso Palante" [Single] | El Palmas
4 GOOD ONES, THE | "Soccer (Summer 1988)" [Single] | Anti-
5 CAMPOS | Shake Up The World: Live In The Studio, Volume 1 | Peace & Rhythm
6 JUANA MOLINA | "Eras (ANRMAL)" [Single] | Crammed
7 ROUGH GUIDE TO URBAN MALI, THE | various artists | World Music Network
8 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
9 BLACK MARKET BRASS | Undying Thirst | Colemine
10 OK JAZZ | Pas Un Pas Sans ... The Boleros Of OK Jazz | Planet Ilunga

October 4, 2020

Non-Violence, Peace & Rhythm

Ex-Richmonder Joshua Camp kept himself busy in his Brooklyn home studio during the lockdown: he recorded a one-man live-in-the-studio album and made videos to accompany each song for when he finally gets to perform them for an audience.  You'll hear one of those songs, plus three more from the Peace & Rhythm record label, on this week's program.
 
Also this week (Monday October 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): a new single from Rwanda's The Good Ones for the U.N.'s International Day of Non-Violence; sounds of the lamellaphone (thumb piano); the wide influence of Congolese soukous; calypso, dancehall and roots reggae from the Caribbean; and the music of Bamako's balani shows.

September 29, 2020

Charts September 22-28, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LA DAME BLANCHE | Ella | Nacional
2 COLOR DE TROPICO | various artists | El Palmas
3 DANDANA | Free The System | Rebel Up
4 NATION BEAT | The Royal Chase | NBM
5 LOS SAICOS 69 | "El Mercenario/Un Poquito De Pena" [Single] | Munster
6 NAHAWA DOUMBIA | Kanawa | Awesome Tapes From Africa
7 GRESHKA | "To Prune A Triffid" [Single] | 4000
8 BEBEL GILBERTO | Agora | PIAS
9 LA MISA NEGRA | "Pistola" feat. Shae Fiol & Mireya Ramos [Single] | NAM
10 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time

September 27, 2020

Punk rock, invented in Peru

Los Saicos released six furious, incendiary singles in 1965 and 1966.  When they broke up, garage rock was just gaining steam in the USA and around the world, notably throughout Latin America.
 
Decades later, listeners realized that this obscure band from Lima, Peru had anticipated the punk rock movement.  Now we're getting the first proper release of the seventh Los Saicos single, from their brief 1969 reunion.  I'll spin the A side this week on Global A Go-Go, along with a whole set of garage rock en Espanol chestnuts.

Also this week (Monday September 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): Mali's veterans still in action, Cuban oddities, hair-raising Balkan sounds, the boss brass of Brazil's north, and psychedelic Senegambia and a new band inspired by it.

September 22, 2020

Charts September 15-21, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 NAHAWA DOUMBIA | Kanawa | Awesome Tapes From Africa
2 BUDOS BAND, THE | Long In The Tooth [Advance Tracks] | Daptone
3 PETE RODRIGUEZ | I Like It Like That (A Mi Me Gusta Asi) | Fania/Craft/Concord
4 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | "Old Bazaar Groove (DJ Branski remix)" [Single] | Asphalt Tango
5 ALHOUSSEINI ANIVOLLA AND GIRUM MEZMUR | Afropentatonism | Piranha
6 SUPERFONICOS | "El Adios" [Single] | Public Hi-Fi
7 MESTIZO BEAT | Canoga Madness | California Soul
8 RAICES JAZZ ORCHESTRA | Raices Jazz Orchestra | Unity
9 MAFALDA MINNOZZI |  Sensorial: Portraits In Bossa & Jazz | Mama Producoes Artisticas
10 A GUIDE TO THE BIRDSONG OF MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN | various artists | Shika Shika

September 19, 2020

Toots Hibbert, 1942-2020

Toots Hibbert, lead singer of the Jamaican vocal group Toots & The Maytals, passed away on September 11 from complications of COVID-19.

Jamaica is a country of 3 million people living on an island roughly the size of Delaware.  The musicians who have made their little country so internationally prominent are Jamaica's version of the Founding Fathers.  And if there was a Mount Rushmore of reggae, the second person chiseled onto it would be Toots Hibbert, with only Bob Marley preceding him.

So Toots' death is a major event, and I wanted to commemorate it this week (Monday September 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) on Global A Go-Go.
 
I've gone to the vaults for a show I hosted on WRIR on May 16, 2013.  It was for the program Cause & Effect, which highlights the music of an individual artist or a genre or a time and place, putting it into context with the music of its influences, peers, those who were influenced, and so on.

On that day, I focused on Toots & The Maytals, who would be performing on Brown's Island here in Richmond two days later.  That turned out to be an ill-fated visit to say the least: someone in the audience hurled a liquor bottle at the stage and it hit Toots in the head.  The concert ended, Toots was rushed to MCV Hospital with a concussion, and he didn't perform in public for another three years.

So Richmond owes Toots big time.  The least we can do is give him a 2-hour tribute.  I hope you enjoy it.

September 14, 2020

Charts September 8-14, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 NAHAWA DOUMBIA | Kanawa | Awesome Tapes From Africa
2 TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS | Got To Be Tough | Trojan Jamaica
3 MODOU TOURE | Touki | ARC
4 PETE RODRIGUEZ | I Like It Like That (A Mi Me Gusta Asi) | Fania/Craft/Concord
5 ALHOUSSEINI ANIVOLLA AND GIRUM MEZMUR | Afropentatonism | Piranha
6 JUAN PINA CON LA REVELACION | Juan Pina Con La Revelacion | Vampisoul
7 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | Borek | Playground
8 SUPERFONICOS | "El Adios" [Single] | Public Hi-Fi
9 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
10 MATEUS ALELUIA | Olorum | Selo Sesc

September 13, 2020

OK boomer, where's the beef?

Cumbia and hip hop are like peanut butter and chocolate: two great tastes that taste great together.  Each lends the other something that's lacking: hip hop gives cumbia some of the edge that's been rounded off by two centuries of popular use, and cumbia gives hip hop back some of the musicality that's been lost to economics or copyright law or just plain slackness.

Ana Tijoux has a great new cumbia rap song about COVID-19, police brutality and corruption in Chile; it will be on her forthcoming album Antifa Dance.  You'll hear it and a few more cumbia raps on this week's edition of Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday September 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): some melancholy Balkan music, salsa classics, more desert blues, the new album from Wassoulou songbird Nahawa Doumbia and rock 'n' roll gnawa style.

September 8, 2020

Charts September 1-7, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 VUSI MAHLASELA | Shebeen Queen | ATO
2 KEITH HUDSON | "Nuh Skin Up" [Single] | Greensleeves
3 MINYO CRUSADERS AND FRENTE CUMBIERO | From Tokyo To Bogota [EP] | Mais Um
4 ALHOUSSEINI ANIVOLLA AND GIRUM MEZMUR | Afropentatonism | Piranha
5 CHEZIDEK | "Inna Dem Eye" [Single] | Tad's
6 CHALO CORREIA | "Kudihohola" [Single] | Matasuna
7 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
8 MESTIZO BEAT | Canoga Madness | California Soul
9 A GUIDE TO THE BIRDSONG OF MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN | various artists | Shika Shika
10 MULATU ASTATKE AND BLACK JESUS EXPERIENCE | To Know Without Knowing | Agogo

September 5, 2020

Shebeen queen

Vusi Mahlasela's grandmother Ida ran a shebeen (an illegal tavern or what Americans might call a speakeasy) in South Africa's Mamelodi township, outside of Pretoria.  She home-brewed beer and made a place for the township's residents to gather after another day's hard labor.

Ida's grandson went on to become an internationally successful musician, albeit one who still lives in Mamelodi.  As a tribute to the woman who "was and still is my greatest hero," Vusi threw a big party on the street where Ida's shebeen used to be and performed a night of the music he used to hear there.

That's the story behind Vusi's new live album Shebeen Queen.  You'll hear a track from it this week on Global A Go-Go, along with some of the township sounds of that era: mbaqanga and soul jive.

Also this week (Labor Day Monday September 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): Jamaica's rockers-steppers sound, a healthy dose of Turkish psychedelia featuring the electric baglama saz, quick visits to three Lusophone countries, a set of Ethio-jazz and dance music therapy from Colombia.

September 1, 2020

Charts August 25-31, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 QWANQWA | Volume 3 | Wuzzawazzee Industries
2 FALLE NIOKE AND GHOST CULTURE | Youkounkoun [EP] | PRAH
3 LOS MOCOSOS | All Grown Up | Hip Spanic
4 ACID COCO | "El Amor De Mis Amores" [Single] | El Palmas
5 NOHE AND SUS SANTOS | Tempestad | Avokado Artists
6 COLAH COLAH AND PEACE DEVELOPMENT CREW | "Steady Meddi!" [Single] | Boomrush Productions
7 KABAKA PYRAMID | "Nice Up The Dance" [Single] | VP
8 SONE | "Overcome" [Single] | Sone Ministries
9 FORSHPIL | Tsvey | self-released
10 MATEUS ALELUIA | Olorum | Selo Sesc