September 29, 2013

Charts September 29, 2013

WRIR's CMJ New World Top Ten
1 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Red Hot + Fela | Knitting Factory
2 ROKIA TRAORE | Beautiful Africa | Nonesuch
3 AFRICANDO | Viva Africando | Sterns
5 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Afrobeat Airways 2: Return Flight To Ghana | Analog Africa
6 ANDREA ECHEVERRI | Ruisenora | Nacional
7 TAMIKREST | Chatma | Glitterbeat
8 GOGOL BORDELLO | Pura Vida Conspiracy | ATO
9 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Saoco! Vol. 2: Bomba, Plena And The Roots Of Salsa In Puerto Rico 1955-1967 | Vampisoul
10 BOOGARINS | As Plantas Que Curam | Other Music

September 26, 2013

Africando | Viva Africando

ARTIST: Africando
TITLE: Viva Africando
LABEL: Sterns
If you’re an African of a certain age (about my age, in fact) and you’re a music fan, then you’re probably a salsa fan. Africando has been making best-of-breed salsa Africana for 20 years now; this is their eighth album and it’s more of the same, which is to say a great source of pleasure.

Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra | Gipsy Manifesto

ARTIST: Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra
TITLE: Gipsy Manifesto
LABEL: Piranha
The orchestra of Serbia’s Boban Markovic is one of the bands that put the exhilarating, improvisational, funky sound of Balkan brass on the world’s musical map. And much of the popularity of Balkan brass comes from the DJs and remixers who add four-on-the-floor dance beats and mash it up with every sound under the sun – especially in Europe, nothing gets the dance floor percolating better than “Balkan beats.”

Red Hot + Fela

ARTIST: various artists
TITLE: Red Hot + Fela
LABEL: Knitting Factory
This is the Red Hot Organization’s second Fela-themed AIDS benefit album – Red Hot + Riot came out in 2002, and as Fela’s notoriety has grown exponentially since then, it’s only natural that all kinds of musicians are clamoring to take on his songs. Like all tribute albums, the results are hit-and-miss: the news item here is that the hits are truly remarkable re-imaginings.

Rokia Traore | Beautiful Africa

ARTIST: Rokia Traore
TITLE: Beautiful Africa
LABEL: Nonesuch
This is the fifth album by Rokia Traore, the restlessly experimental, shape-shifting Malian singer, songwriter and guitarist. This time out it’s Rokia the rocker – the project was recorded in Bristol, England, produced by John Parish (P.J. Harvey), and it positively throbs with electric energy.

Program September 27, 2013

Balkan brass band music continues to evolve -- the latest step along the long road comes from the orchestra led by the father-son team of Boban & Marko Markovic (pictured above).  Boban brings deep gypsy soul and jazz improvisation; Marko adds a young virtuoso's chops and a slew of 21st century influences, from New Orleans to electronica to (Tito forbid) turbo-folk.

The new Markovic Orchestra album Gipsy Manifesto will be in stores on October 29 -- you'll hear a track from it this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week: Fela with strings; new global rock by Andrea Echeverri (Colombia), Boogarins (Brazil) and Rokia Traore (Mali); and salsa is the universal language of groove.

September 22, 2013

Charts September 22, 2013

WRIR's CMJ New World Top Ten
1 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Qat, Coffee & Qambus: Raw 45s From Yemen | Dust-To-Digital
2 FREEDOM FAMILY | Ayentsoo | Academy LPs
3 MIGHTY DIAMONDS | Pass The Knowledge | 17 North Parade
4 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Afrobeat Airways 2: Return Flight To Ghana | Analog Africa
5 SIDI TOURE | Alafia | Thrill Jockey
6 AZIZ SAHMAOUI | University Of Gnawa | General Pattern SARL
7 TAMIKREST | Chatma | Glitterbeat
8 ALPHA BLONDY | Mystic Power | VP
9 GOGOL BORDELLO | Pura Vida Conspiracy | ATO

September 19, 2013

Sidi Toure | Alafia

ARTIST: Sidi Toure
TITLE: Alafia
LABEL: Thrill Jockey
Sidi Toure is a Songhai singer-songwriter-guitarist from Gao in northern Mali. That one-sentence biography should put Ali Farka Toure (no relation) in mind, and indeed there are striking similarities. But Sidi’s his own man with his own sound, even more so on this third international release for Thrill Jockey than previously.

Program September 20, 2013

The Women, War & Peace Conference, focusing on Mali, is taking place this weekend at VCU's Student Commons.  It's jointly produced by VCU, the Richmond Peace Education Center, Virginia Friends of Mali and the Richmond Sister Cities Commission.  The conference includes lectures, workshops, film screenings, music and more; you can find further information about it here:

I thought I'd participate in my own way by playing a set of recent Malian recordings, all made since the March 2012 military coup and the subsequent Islamist offensive, all of which have to do with women, war and peace.  While Mali struggles to find peace, stability and prosperity, musicians like Rokia Traore (pictured above), Bassekou Kouyate and Tamikrest are making some of the world's most compelling recordings.  Hear for yourself, this week on Global A Go-Go.

September 15, 2013

Charts September 15, 2013

WRIR's CMJ New World Top Ten
1 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Afrobeat Airways 2: Return Flight To Ghana | Analog Africa
2 FREEDOM FAMILY | Ayentsoo | Academy LPs
3 MIGHTY DIAMONDS | Pass The Knowledge | 17 North Parade
4 ANDREA ECHEVERRI | Ruisenora | Nacional
5 GOGOL BORDELLO | Pura Vida Conspiracy | ATO
6 FAT FREDDY'S DROP | Blackbird | The Drop
7 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Rough Guide To Psychedelic Bollywood | World Music Network
8 AFRICANDO | Viva Africando | Sterns
9 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Salsa De La Bahia | Patois
10 OMEGAMAN | "El O'man Boogaloo" [Single] | Fort Knox

September 13, 2013

September 2013 Concert Calendar

September's Global A Go-Go picks:
  1. Klezmer band The Vulgar Bulgars, the pride of Twin Oaks, make a rare Richmond appearance at Crossroads Coffee on Friday September 6
  2. The wide-ranging lineup for the first annual Fall Line Fest includes the atmospheric electronica and Spanish-language vocals of Helado Negro on Saturday September 7, plus Richmond's own Rattlemouth and The Richmanian Ramblers on Friday September 6
  3. Two really unique African bands on a double bill at Artispher in Arlington on Saturday September 14: Tal National from Niger and Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang from Sierra Leone
  4. The brilliant British folk-rock singer, songwriter and (especially) guitarist Richard Thompson visits the Birchmere in Alexandria on September 21 and 22
  5. Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, whose new album is a WRIR New & Recommended selection, will be at the Howard Theatre in Washington on Friday September 27
  6. The now-nomadic Festival In The Desert, displaced from home by war in Mali, makes a stop in Washington DC on Sunday September 29 at Tropicalia (pictured above), featuring the amazing Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali
Have an event you'd like me to include, or a suggestion for the concert calendar?  Just drop me a line at globalagogoradio [at] gmail [dot] com, or leave me a message right here.

Click "Read more" to see the entire September calendar.

September 12, 2013

Afrobeat Airways 2: Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983

ARTIST: various artists
TITLE: Afrobeat Airways 2: Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983
LABEL: Analog Africa
It’s another gem of a compilation from Samy Ben Redjeb’s Analog Africa, a label that can seemingly do no wrong. This time the focus is on Ghana – there are off-the-run tracks from better-known artists like The African Brothers and K. Frimpong, and highlights from some of the more obscure acts in Ghana’s deep Afro-funk scene.

Freedom Family | Ayentsoo

ARTIST: Freedom Family
TITLE: Ayentsoo
LABEL: Academy LPs
Frank Gossner (Voodoo Funk) and Academy LPs have another winner in this choice slab of Ghanaian Afro-funk. The Freedom Family was one of West Africa’s tightest combos, although this is the only LP they ever waxed under that name.

The Mighty Diamonds | Pass The Knowledge

ARTIST: The Mighty Diamonds
TITLE: Pass The Knowledge
LABEL: 17 North Parade
The Mighty Diamonds are one of Jamaica’s legendary vocal groups, still together in their 44th year with the same three original members. This very worthwhile 40-song retrospective touches on many of the high points of their career.

Qat, Coffee & Qambus: Raw 45s From Yemen

ARTIST: various artists
TITLE: Qat, Coffee & Qambus: Raw 45s From Yemen
LABEL: Dust-To-Digital
You might know that Yemen is the historic home of the Bin-Laden clan, and that it probably leads the world right now in per-capita drone strikes. But do you know anything about the music of the southwestern corner of the Arabian peninsula?

Aziz Sahmaoui | University Of Gnawa

ARTIST: Aziz Sahmaoui
TITLE: University of Gnawa
LABEL: General Pattern SARL
Here’s a superb 2011 recording that’s getting proper distribution in the USA for the first time. Aziz Sahmaoui is a Moroccan native and French citizen who was a founder of the Paris-based multicultural ensemble Orchestre National De Barbes and later a member of Joe (Weather Report) Zawinul’s Zawinul Syndicate band.

September 11, 2013

Program September 13, 2013

I'll be joined this week by a special guest co-host: Geoff Bennett Speer (on the left above, don't you know), currently in the band The Eastern Question and formerly of the late, lamented BALKANIZE!, has selected all the music for this week's program, and he'll be in the studio with me to tell you all about it.

Geoff's a devotee (and player) of all sorts of music from Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and Eastern Europe, and he'll provide an amazingly broad perspective on the region's sounds.  He's queued up everything from Bulgarian polyphony and the songs of Roma bear-handlers (not kidding) to jazz, electronica and punk rock.  Join Geoff and me for a wild Balkan excursion, this week on Global A Go-Go.

September 9, 2013

Charts September 8, 2013

WRIR's CMJ New World Top Ten
1 TAMIKREST | Chatma | Glitterbeat
2 ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE MAURITAINIE | Orchestre National De Mauritanie | Sahelsounds
3 FAT FREDDY'S DROP | Blackbird | The Drop
4 NOURA MINT SEYMALI | Azawan II | self-released
5 ALEX CUBA | Ruido En El Sistema | Caracol
6 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Salsa De La Bahia | Patois
7 PAUL MCKENNA BAND | Elements | Compass
8 ANDREA ECHEVERRI | Ruisenora | Nacional
9 BIO RITMO | "Picaresca" [Single] | Paris DJs
10 GOGOL BORDELLO | Pura Vida Conspiracy | ATO

September 4, 2013

Program September 6, 2013

In my opinion, the best rock 'n' roll music in the world today is being made by bands from the Sahara Desert.  Case in point: Tamikrest (pictured above), from Kidal in northeastern Mali.  Their third album, Chatma (My Sisters), will be released in the USA on October 1, and you'll hear a track this week on Global A Go-Go.  Prepare to be rocked.

Also on this week's show: a brilliant new album by Andrea Echeverri; music of Mauritania; paranda, mento and calypso; two deep groovers by Fat Freddy's Drop.

September 2, 2013

Andrea Echeverri | Ruisenora

ARTIST: Andrea Echeverri
TITLE: Ruisenora
LABEL: Nacional
Ruisenora (Nightingale) is the third solo album by Andrea Echeverri Arias, best known for her work in the pioneering Colombian rock band Aterciopelados.

Orchestre National De Mauritanie | Orchestre National De Mauritanie

ARTIST: Orchestre National De Mauritanie
TITLE: Orchestre National De Mauritanie
LABEL: Sahelsounds
Sahelsounds’ Christopher Kirkley is best known for his Music From Saharan Cellphones series, which captures up-to-the-minute trends in West African music. Kirkley has an interest in historic recordings as well, and he’s uncovered a beauty here.

Tamikrest | Chatma

ARTIST: Tamikrest
TITLE: Chatma
LABEL: Glitterbeat
Tamikrest, from Kidal in northeastern Mali, is one of the most significant bands in the genre world music fans call “desert blues” and Tamasheq themselves frequently refer to simply as “la guitare.”

Charts September 1, 2013

WRIR's CMJ New World Top Ten
1 ALPHA BLONDY | Mystic Power | VP
2 VARIOUS ARTISTS | The Ladies At Joe Gibbs | 17 North Parade
3 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Soca Gold 2013 | VP
4 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Amharic Music Collection 2013: 25 Hits | Ethio EMD
5 BIO RITMO | "Picaresca" [Single] | Paris DJs
6 GOGOL BORDELLO | Pura Vida Conspiracy | ATO
8 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Rough Guide To Psychedelic Bollywood | World Music Network
9 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Daora: Underground Sounds Of Urban Brasil - Hip-Hop, Beats, Afro & Dub | Mais Um Discos
10 YELLOWMAN | Young, Gifted & Yellow | 17 North Parade