September 30, 2010

Program October 1, 2010

Siemon Allen (pictured above, with one of the pieces in his Records series) is a South African artist, now living in Richmond, whose work deals with the images his home country presents when the rest of the world views it.  Siemon's current show, Imaging South Africa: Collection Projects By Siemon Allen, fills all three floors of Virginia Commonwealth University's Anderson Gallery and is on view until October 31.

Siemon has put together a remarkable, unique collection of South African recordings, everything from 78s to 8-track tapes to mp3 files, covering just about every style of music his homeland has to offer.  On this week's program, Siemon will be my in-studio guest and we'll play nothing but music from his collection.  Almost everything you hear is likely to be new to your ears, because hardly any of these recordings have ever been released in the USA or Europe.

I've been looking forward to doing this show for a long time; I think it will be a great experience for listeners, and I know it will be for Siemon and me.

BTW, Siemon has just launched an ambitious new South African discography project.  It's still in its earliest stages, but it's well worth a look:

Click "Read More" for today's tracklist; click here for a podcast of today's program:

The complete catalog of Global A Go-Go podcasts is here:

September 26, 2010

Panel discussion on September 29, 2010

I'm pleased to announce that I'll be participating in a discussion about collecting African music that's happening at Virginia Commonwealth University's Anderson Gallery on Wednesday September 29 at 6 PM.  See the poster above for more details, or visit the Anderson Gallery's website:

My fellow panelists will be Siemon Allen, whose show Imaging South Africa is up at the Anderson Gallery right now; and my WRIR colleague David Noyes, host of Ambiance Congo and co-host of The Motherland Influence.  With those two guys, you can be sure that the conversation is going to be lively and challenging.

Also, Siemon Allen will be my guest co-host on Global A Go-Go on Friday October 1 from 5 to 7 PM.  We'll talk about Imaging South Africa and we'll play selections from Siemon's vast archive of rare South African recordings.

By the way, if you're at all interested in African music and culture, make sure to see Siemon's show at the Anderson Gallery before it closes on October 31.  It's a truly mind-blowing experience.

WRIR's Julia McCauley recorded our conversation; if you weren't able to be there, you can download the recording here:

Reviews and charts September 26, 2010

Brand-New Reviews
ARTIST:  Balkanize!
TITLE:  Balkan Eyes
LABEL:  self-released

REVIEW:  Balkanize! describe themselves as “Richmond, Virginia’s only ensemble of old world Turko-Balkan folk music.”  This is their first recording, and it’s an excellent debut.  Performing other peoples’ folk music is fraught with issues, and this band navigates them quite effectively.  For starters, they’re quite facile on many of the exotic instruments that you typically hear in the region, like darbuka (the hand drum commonly used in this kind of music), saz and oud (two different styles of lutes, relatives of the guitar and mandolin).  Vocals can really be a challenge in this type of ensemble, especially when you’re singing in foreign languages.  But vocals turn out to be one of Balkanize!’s strengths: both Nancy Smith and Julie Bright are strong singers, and their harmonies (very much in the style of Hungarian bands like Muzikas) are truly superb.  Eight songs from eight different countries (perhaps in eight different languages?), all related but distinctly different, all performed with skill, energy and obvious pleasure and totally accessible to a general audience.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    1    2    7    8

Inside, there's a review of the new album by Argentina's Axel Krygier, and WRIR's world music charts for the last week.  Just click "Read More" ...

September 23, 2010

Program September 24, 2010

First of all, Siemon Allen's appearance as my guest co-host, where we'll be playing music from his remarkable South African collection, has been postponed until next week's program on October 1.  Before that happens, you'll be able to hear Siemon, WRIR's own David Noyes and yours truly discuss collecting African music on Wednesday at 6 PM at the Anderson Gallery here in Richmond:

Today's program starts with a new recording from Balkanize! (pictured above), who describe themselves as "Richmond, Virginia's only ensemble of old world Turko-Balkan folk music."  For now, anyway.  They're playing on Monday night at The Camel along with two other Richmond-based world music bands in what promises to be a major ear-opener of a show.

Also this week: son habanero, the Cuban root of today's salsa; cumbia from Mexico and Colombia (claro que si), Argentina and Germany (que?); a few of my favorite groovin' new releases.

Click "Read More" for today's tracklist; click here for a podcast of today's program:

The complete catalog of Global A Go-Go podcasts is here:

September 19, 2010

My brand-new website is under construction

Welcome to the brand-new Global A Go-Go website. Not all of the content from my old site is here yet; I'll be moving it over as soon as I can. In the meantime, if you're looking for an older post you can find it here:

Reviews and charts September 19, 2010

ARTIST:  Bostich + Fussible
TITLE:  Bulevar 2000
LABEL:  Nacional

REVIEW:  Bostich and Fussible are two of the four members of the Tijuana-based band Nortec Collective, whose mash-up of Mexican popular music (like norteno) with urban club beats (like techno, hence the band name) has virtually become its own musical genre.  Working as a duo, they’re more focused on songcraft and less on dancefloor impact, so what they have here is kind of a Mexican-American intelligent-dance-music project that could just as easily be filed in RPM or rock as in world.  Their club-oriented sound is in effect in places (track 3, for example), but the highlights here are their collaborations with other songwriters (2 features Kylie Swenson of the band Loquat, 10 features Bryce Kushnier aka Vitamins For You).  9 is a lovely atmospheric track that’s really quite different from both Nortec and B+F’s previous work; 10 is terrific all around, one of the best new Halloween (well, El Dia De Los Muertos, to be precise) songs I’ve heard.  Good stuff.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    2    3    9    10

Click "Read More" for a review of Debo Band's debut recording, and WRIR's world music charts for the week.

September 16, 2010

Program September 17, 2010

Debo Band (pictured above) may be headquartered in Boston, but they channel the sound of 1970's Addis Ababa as well as any band I've heard.  They're coming to Richmond to perform at Balliceaux on Saturday night in collaboration with Fendika, an Addis-based music and dance troupe (trust me, you haven't lived until you've seen Ethiopian traditional dance in action -- you'll get a backache just watching them).  I just received a copy of Debo Band's forthcoming EP -- you'll hear a track from it along with a bunch of songs from Ethiopia in the 70's on this week's program.

Also on tap: a set of bachata from the Dominican Republic including the USA debut release of Joan Soriano, Latin music from the psychedelic era and some current artists who are updating that sound; a quick sample of four African bands with direct USA connections.

Click "Read More" for today's tracklist; click here for a podcast of today's program:

The complete catalog of Global A Go-Go podcasts is here:

September 12, 2010

Reviews and charts September 12, 2010

ARTIST:  Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro
TITLE:  Sin Rumba No Hay Son!
LABEL:  World Village

REVIEW:  Continuity with the tradition is a prized value in Cuban music.  And few bands offer more continuity than Septeto Nacional, founded by namesake Ignacio Pineiro in 1927 and now on its fourth generation of members.  Pineiro is the guy who added trumpet to rural son music, infused folkloric rumba rhythms and produced the urbanized sound called son Habanero, the direct predecessor of today’s salsa explosion.  Although this group plays a number of Pineiro’s compositions (tracks 4, 9 and 13) and carries his name, it’s not merely a revival or tribute ensemble.  This is a living musical tradition with elements being added and changed all the time.  USA audiences got a taste of Septeto Nacional’s sound earlier this year on their first American tour since 1933 (!!), and now here’s a fine new recording that adds to their legend.  Check out the terrific guest vocal by Bertha Portuondo (Omara’s younger sister) on track 9.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    1   9   11   13

Click "Read More" for another review and lists of WRIR's new recommendations and most-played recordings from the world of world music.

September 9, 2010

Program September 10, 2010

There's a small group of very noisy Americans (like the guy pictured above, and a fleet of Republican demagogues) who all of a sudden, nine years after the World Trade Center attack, have decided that Islam is engaged in a holy war with the USA (and that the Burlington Coat Factory outlet in lower Manhattan is a sacred site, but I digress).

Well, about 1.5 billion Muslims call B.S. on that notion -- they loathe their fundamentalist extremists the same way that I loathe the guy pictured above.  You'll hear from a few of those Muslims on today's program, because it's time for the first-ever all-Islamic edition of Global A Go-Go.

You'll hear great contemporary music from Iran and Afghanistan, some hot North African rock, Sufi and Baul music from the Indian subcontinent, Bosnian sevdah, and much more.  Oh, and one song at the end of the program from a non-Islamic artist that speaks directly to "Rev." Terry Jones and his ilk.

Click "Read More" for today's tracklist; click here for a podcast of today's program:

The complete catalog of Global A Go-Go podcasts is here:

P.S.  That can't be a real mustache, can it?