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

August 29, 2020

Ethiopian tradition, 21st century improvisation

Violinist Kaethe Hostetter got interested in Ethiopian music when she became a founding member of Boston's Debo Band.  Then she took a deep dive into the subject -- she moved to Addis Ababa in 2009.

There she formed a new band, Qwanqwa ("Language" in Amharic) with a group of players who are virtuosi on traditional instruments like krar (harp), masenko (1-stringed fiddle) and kebero (hand drum) and also fluent in contemporary improvisational strategies.

Qwanqwa's third album, Volume 3, will be released on September 11 (New Year's Day in Ethiopia this year).  It's one of the most rewarding listens I've had this year, and I'll share three tracks with you on this week's Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday August 31, 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): un poquito mas de la cumbia, folk-rock from both ends of Europe, African electronica, the rarely-sighted Afrobeat ballad, and some Latin soul to wrap things up.

August 25, 2020

Charts August 18-24, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 A GUIDE TO THE BIRDSONG OF MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN | various artists | Shika Shika
2 EVA CORTES | Todas Las Voces | Blue Fern
3 SONGHOY BLUES | Optimisme [Advance Tracks] | Fat Possum
4 LA LOCURA DE MACHUCA 1975-1980 | various artists [Advance Tracks] | Analog Africa
5 CADENCE REVOLUTION: DISQUES DEBS INTERNATIONAL VOL. 2 | various artists | Strut
6 PETE RODRIGUEZ | I Like It Like That (A Mi Me Gusta Asi) | Fania/Craft/Concord
7 ALHOUSSEINI ANIVOLLA AND GIRUM MEZMUR | Afropentatonism | Piranha
8 JUAN PINA CON LA REVELACION | Juan Pina Con La Revelacion | Vampisoul
9 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti | Ostinato
10 KEITH HUDSON | "Nuh Skin Up" [Single] | Greensleeves

August 22, 2020

We're making history

There's a lot of music I listened to in 1978 that I'm no longer interested in.  And there are a few things that are as timely and compelling now as they were then.

Linton Kwesi Johnson's poems of the 70s and 80s written about England's National Front, the Brixton Uprising and the death of Blair Peach could just as easily have been about USA 2020's Unite The Right, the Black Lives Matter movement and George Floyd.  If you're personally or emotionally involved in the movement today, when you listen to Johnson perform his poems you'll think he was forecasting your present.

This week (Monday August 24, 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) Global A Go-Go presents a two-hour special on the poetry and music of Linton Kwesi Johnson, on the occasion of his 68th birthday and his recent award of the 2020 PEN Pinter Prize.

August 17, 2020

Charts August 11-17, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
2 MOONLIGHT BENJAMIN | Simido | Ma Case
3 MODOU TOURE | Touki | ARC
4 BUDOS BAND, THE | "Long In The Tooth" [Single] | Daptone
5 NATION BEAT | "Forro De Dois Amigos" [Single] | NBM
6 NOBLEZZA | "Coletera" [Single] | Codiscos
7 ACID COCO | "Yo Bailo Sola" [Single] | El Palmas
8 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | Borek | Playground
9 GUY BUTTERY AND THE BANDURA EXPRESS MARIMBA ENSEMBLE | Guy Buttery & The Bandura Express Marimba Ensemble [EP] | self-released
10 SOCA GOLD 2020 | various artists [Advance Tracks] | VP

August 15, 2020

Crossroads can't hold me

She has released two albums since 2018 and she's already being compared to Angelique Kidjo, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, the White Stripes, the Alabama Shakes and Rokia Traore.  Sounds like good company to be in.  Who is she?

The answer is Moonlight Benjamin, a Haitian singer-songwriter now based in Toulouse, France and working with a four-piece band led by guitarist Mattis Pascaud.  I'm a little late in getting to Benjamin's music, but I'm really into it now.  I'll play a set of her songs this week on Global A Go-Go; maybe that will get you into it as well.

Also this week (Monday August 17, 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 American renditions of northeast Brazil's "music for maids and taxi drivers," Balkan sounds with an emphasis on the singers rather than the brass, a cumbia-tronica dance party, Afropop from Senegal, and music from the far edge of Afrobeat.

August 10, 2020

Charts Aug 4-10, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SANTROFI | Alewa | Out Here
2 VOZ DI SANICOLAU | Fundo De MarĂª Palinha | Analog Africa
3 HABIBI FUNK 14: SOLIDARITY WITH BEIRUT | various artists | Habibi Funk
4 BUDOS BAND, THE | "Long In The Tooth" [Single] | Daptone
5 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti | Ostinato
6 NICO GOMEZ AND HIS AFRO-PERCUSSION INC | "Baila Chibiquiban" [Single] | Matasuna
7 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
8 PEDRO LIMA | Maguidala | Bongo Joe
9 SITI MUHARAM |  Siti Of Unguja | On The Corner
10 BANDE-GAMBOA | Horizonte: Revamping Rare Gems From Cabo Verde And Guine-Bissau |  Heavenly Sweetness

August 8, 2020

Uhuru special

It's an all-African edition of Global A Go-Go this week (Monday August 10, 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).  In the first hour, I'll play female singers from Cabo Verde; sounds from the Horn of Africa featuring music of Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti; and two multicultural takes on Afrobeat.

The second hour will be entirely dedicated to modern highlife -- the amazing sounds of Ghana since 1970, based on Akan traditional music played on Western instruments and incorporating a full slate of outside influences from foxtrot, calypso and big band jazz to rock and funk.  You'll hear from seminal figures like Ebo Taylor and Alhaji K. Frimpong, new music by Santrofi (pictured above) who are revitalizing highlife for the current generation, and more.

August 4, 2020

Charts Jul 28 - Aug 3, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ANDRE ABUJAMRA | "Alma Nao Tem Cor - Multi 25" [Single] | Tratore
2 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
3 MINYO CRUSADERS AND FRENTE CUMBIERO | From Tokyo To Bogota [EP] | Mais Um
4 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | "Old Bazaar Groove (DJ Branski remix)" [Single] | Asphalt Tango
5 LA DAME BLANCHE | "Cogelo Con Calma" [Single] | Nacional
6 FRANCK BIYONG FEAT CRISTINA VIOLLE | Trouble [EP] | Hot Casa
7 K FRIMPONG AND SUPER COMPLEX SOUNDS | Ahyewa Special | Hot Casa
8 WU FEI AND ABIGAIL WASHBURN | Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn | Smithsonian Folkways
9 LINGO SEINI ET SON GROUPE | Musique Hauka | Sahel Sounds
10 AKSAK MABOUL | Figures | Crammed

August 1, 2020

The king of Sudanese jazz

In Sudan, as in many African countries, if you made music in the 1960s with electric guitars and electric keyboards and a drum trap kit (all newly introduced on the continent), you probably called it "jazz."  You might have been playing rock 'n' roll or R&B or Cuban rumba or local styles on the new instruments -- didn't matter, it was all jazz.

Sharhabil Ahmed, still with us at age 84, is the King of Sudanese Jazz, crowned in a 1970s contest and never dethroned.  His sound, a unique mixture of traditional Sudanese music with early 60s rock, surf, funk, Congolese music and East African harmonies, is the soundtrack of the the swinging 60s in Khartoum.  Sharhabil has been anthologized for the first time ever, by Berlin's Habibi Funk Records, and you'll hear one of his tracks this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday August 3, 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): throat-singing Hank Williams; trippy cumbia; more IPM (intelligent pop music) from Brazil; two great central African guitar tracks; and John Lee Hooker crashes a Balkan beats dance party.

July 27, 2020

Charts July 21-27, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
2 ASHER GAMEDZE | Dialectic Soul | On The Corner
3 ALHOUSSEINI ANIVOLLA AND GIRUM MEZMUR | Afropentatonism | Piranha
4 CHEZIDEK | "Inna Dem Eye / March" [Single] | Tad's
5 LADAMA | Oye Mujer | Six Degrees
6 ACID COCO | "Yo Bailo Sola" [Single] | El Palmas
7 BARRINGTON LEVY | "Praise His Name" [Single] | 17 North Parade
8 MULATU ASTATKE AND BLACK JESUS EXPERIENCE | To Know Without Knowing | Agogo
9 CABRUERA | "A Vida" [Single] | Polen
10 CALIBRO 35 | Momentum | Record Kicks

July 25, 2020

Motion is imperative. We keep moving.

Here's an implausible scenario: You develop the idea for a debut album as part of your masters' thesis.  You write and record and the album.  It's released, and it's immediately compared to the best work of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Don Cherry.

Implausible yes, but that's what's actually happening to South African drummer Asher Gamedze, whose debut Dialectic Soul seems likely to be one of the most acclaimed releases of 2020.  I'm here to tell you: it is really good.  Tune in to Global A Go-Go this week and hear two selections from it as part of an entire first hour dedicated to South African jazz.

Also this week (Monday July 27, 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): reggae both devotional and topical; a short trip to Brazil, the world capital of intelligent pop music; and a taste of electro-cumbia.

July 21, 2020

Charts July 14-20, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LA DAME BLANCHE | "Cogelo Con Calma" [Single] | Nacional
2 MINYO CRUSADERS PLUS FRENTE CUMBIERO | "Cumbia Del Monte Fuji" [Single] | Mais Um Discos
3 JUAN PINA CON LA REVELACION | Juan Pina Con La Revelacion | Vampisoul
4 JIMI TENOR | "Sugar And Spice / Lover's Bridge" [Single] | Philophon
5 PETE RODRIGUEZ | "I Like It Like That" (Uproot Andy Remix) b/w "I Like It Like That (Original)" [Single] | Craft Latino
6 BAMBA WASSOULOU GROOVE | Dankele | Lusafrica
7 FADHILEE ITULYA | Kwetu | Naxos World
8 JUNGLE FIRE | Jungle Fire | Nacional
9 CEU | APKA! | Six Degrees
10 DANDANA | "Free The System" [Single] | Rebel Up

July 19, 2020

101st century global raw soul

Sometimes a record label has its own sound -- the combination of esthetics, players, equipment, place and time all are in alignment.  As soon as you hear one of their records, you know: that's a Blue Note, this one is Motown, that's Sun or Factory or Stax or Daptone or now maybe Spacebomb.

Philophon Records in Berlin is in that category: all their sides (mostly 45s but also some LPs) sound like nothing other than Philophon, no matter where the named artists were born or live.  I'll illustrate on this week's program with four Philophon tracks by artists from four different countries.

Also this week (Monday July 20, 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): two imaginative takes on the Ethiopian tradition, big band cumbia from the 1950s to now, rap with Cuban sabor, some West African favorites, and more of the real boogaloo: no weapons cosplay, just 1967 Latin soul.

July 13, 2020

Charts Jun 30 - Jul 13, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
2 SAHRA HALGAN TRIO | Waa Dardaaran | Buda
3 MULATU ASTATKE AND BLACK JESUS EXPERIENCE | To Know Without Knowing | Agogo
4 LIDO PIMIENTA | Miss Colombia | Anti-
5 CALIBRO 35 | Momentum | Record Kicks
6 CADENCE REVOLUTION: DISQUES DEBS INTERNATIONAL VOL. 2 | various artists | Strut
7 GILBER T | "Sinnerman" [Single] | Tomba
8 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | Borek | Playground
9 SUPERFONICOS | "El Adios" [Single] | Public Hi-Fi
10 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti | Ostinato

July 11, 2020

Consistent fantasy is reality

Gaye Su Akyol (pictured above)'s most recent album is entitled Consistent Fantasy Is Reality (or Istkrarli Hayal Hakikattir in the original Turkish).  She's saying that we have to dream into action the reality we want to live.  Or you could flip the notion over and use it as a slogan for, let's say, Fox News.

Either way, it's a hell of a good title.  You'll hear Akyol this week in a set of Turkish psychedelic-tinged music from the past and present, all with a kind of science-fiction feel to it.

Also this week (Monday July 13, 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): birdsong of Latin America, cadence-lypso from the French Caribbean, blues and spirituals with a Global A Go-Go twist, West African highlife from 1958 to today, and Arabic pop and electronic dabke from Palestine and Syria.

July 4, 2020

At the front I was finally free

Sahra Halgan first got serious about singing when she was a 16 year old nurse serving at the front line of Somalia's civil war.  She says, "At the front I was finally free.  The soldiers had other things to do than forbid me to sing."

In 1988, her country's air force dropped bombs on her hometown, Hargeisa, driving Sahra and many others into exile.  She stayed in France for 24 years, working as a janitor in a public school (among other jobs) and developing her music.

Sahra moved back to Hargeisa after the civil war ended in 2012 and opened the first post-war music venue in Somalailand (Somalia's northwest province which seceded from the failed state in 1991).  Her second album was released in March and it's remarkable, although no more remarkable than her life story.  You'll hear the Sahra Halgan Trio's new music this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday July 6, 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 short survey of nyabinghi drumming in Jamaican popular music, the best Balkan brass album of the year is from Finland of all places, 35 years of South African dance music in three songs, the marvelous guitar music of Angola called semba, and a brand-new single from Austin's Superfonicos.

June 30, 2020

Charts June 23-29, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LUKA PRODUCTIONS AND KANDIAFA | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 06 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
2 AMARIA HAMADALHER | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 05 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
3 NICO GOMEZ AND HIS AFRO-PERCUSSION INC | "Baila Chibiquiban" [Single] | Matasuna
4 ALKIBAR JUNIOR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 04 | Sahel Sounds
5 HAILU MERGIA | Yene Mircha | Awesome Tapes From Africa
6 SILVERY BOYS, THE | The Silvery Boys | Vampisoul
7 JEICH OULD BALDU | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 03 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
8 ETRAN DE L'AIR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 01 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
9 SUPERFONICOS | "El Adios" [Single] | Public Hi-Fi
10 BAHAMA SOUL CLUB | "Never Roam No More (feat John Lee Hooker)" [Single] | Buyu

June 27, 2020

Put your cellphone down, in the place of me

We'll start this week's program with four selections from Sahel Sound's new Music From Saharan WhatsApp series.  Throughout 2020, the label is releasing one EP a month that's been recorded by the artists on a cellphone in the southern Sahara, transmitted over WhatsApp, and uploaded to Bandcamp where it's available for a month before it disappears, just like a WhatsApp message does.

This subversive distribution model gives 100 percent of the proceeds to the musicians and reflects how most music is acquired in the region: by file sharing (with no payment to the artists, of course) over WhatsApp.  It's also resulted in an immediacy that you just won't hear in other recordings -- it's the next best thing to the live performances we're all missing right now.  You can read more about the series here.

Also this week (Monday June 29, 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): kora shredding; a taste of Afro-Japanese music; the latest from Ukraine's DakhaBrakha; Latin psych-funk from the 60s and 70s; and a Hailu Mergia sampler.

June 22, 2020

Charts June 16-22, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti | Ostinato
2 POIRIER | Soft Power | Wonderwheel
3 MICHAEL MENDEZ | "Love TKO" [Single] | Purple Lion
4 CHALO CORREIA | "Kudihohola / Chercher Crioula" [Single] | Matasuna
5 BELLA BLAIR | "Gimmie A Light" [Single] | Frankie
6 ALBOROSIE | "Unprecedented Time" [Single] | VP
7 INNA DE YARD | "Skylarking (feat Horace Andy)" [Single] | Chapter Two / Wagram
8 SANTROFI | Alewa | Out Here
9 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
10 JONAZ | "Cangrejita" [Single] | self-released

June 18, 2020

Shoulder dance

You might know it as the Harlem shake.  But like a lot of American dance crazes, it actually started in Africa.  The characteristic shoulder popping of the Harlem shake looks a whole lot like the traditional Ethiopian dance called esketsa (literally "dancing shoulders").  On this episode of Global A Go-Go, you'll hear the "chic-chic-ka" rhythm, the one you do the esketsa to, as performed by artists from Ethiopia, Djibouti and the USA.

Also this week (Monday June 22, 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): British electric folk with a psychedelic haze; modern highlife from 1980 and 2020; four new reggae singles; a set of vintage Brazilian samba-soul; and the rhythms of Cote D'Ivoire's coupe decale.

June 15, 2020

Charts June 9-15, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ORKESTA MENDOZA | Curandero | Glitterbeat
2 FALLE NIOKE AND GHOST CULTURE | "Barke" [Single] | PRAH
3 K FRIMPONG AND SUPER COMPLEX SOUNDS | Ahyewa Special | Hot Casa
4 KEVIN FLOREZ AND THE BUSY TWIST | "Champetizate" [Single] | Palenque / Farra Rap
5 WU FEI AND ABIGAIL WASHBURN | Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn | Smithsonian Folkways
6 ORCHESTRA GOLD | "Lemuru" [Single] | self-released
7 AKSAK MABOUL | Figures | Crammed
8 CALIBRO 35 | Momentum | Record Kicks
9 BELLA BLAIR | "Gimmie A Light" [Single] | Frankie
10 EL BUHO | "Black Catbird (feat The Garifuna Collective)" [Single] | Shika Shika

June 12, 2020

Super complex sounds

Alhaji Kwame Frimpong is one of African music's all-time greats, a Ghanaian bandleader whose work is equal parts vintage palm-wine highlife and modern Afrofunk-Afrobeat.  His second album Ahyewa Special (pictured above) was out of print forever, changing hands for as much as $1,000.

Paris' Hot Casa Records has licensed it from Frimpong's family and reissued it, so now we can all enjoy the glory and the family can earn some royalties.  I'll play you a side-long jam from Ahyewa Special this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday June 15, 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 sampler of Tucson AZ's Orkesta Mendoza; African tradi-mod (traditional meets electronic) music; Malian garage rock; when American and Asian folk traditions collide; and ndombolo straight outta Cartagena.

June 8, 2020

Charts June 2-8, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 FRANCK BIYONG FEAT CRISTINA VIOLLE | Trouble [EP] | Hot Casa
2 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti [Advance Tracks] | Ostinato
3 NOHE AND SUS SANTOS | Tempestad | Avokado Artists
4 GREGORY ISAACS | "Babylon Too Tough" [Single] | 17 North Parade
5 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
6 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | Brasses For The Masses | Asphalt Tango
7 OLAMINA AND AWARENESS | Back To The Mission | Love City
8 AKSAK MABOUL | Figures | Crammed
9 KELEKETLA! | "Future Toyi Toyi" [Single] | Ahead Of Our Time
10 BARRINGTON LEVY | "Praise His Name" [Single] | 17 North Parade

June 4, 2020

Uplifter or downpressor?

Photograph by Michael Lease
I'm going to start this week's program with a tribute to George Floyd in honor of his family -- that is, all of us.

Rastafarians have a theory of language called Wordsound: a word should sound like what it means.  So 'oppressor' doesn't make sense -- you can't start a negative term with the "up" sound.  Rasta says 'downpressor' instead, giving you the image of a man with his knee on your neck, pressing down.

In these times, it's incumbent on all of us to choose: Am I an uplifter or a downpressor?  I don't think there's an in-between.

Also this week (Monday June 8, 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), Global A Go-Go uplifts you with a song by Idir, who brought Algerian Kabyle music to the world; women of cumbia; Igbo Afrobeat from Nigeria; the first ever international release from Djibouti; and a Balkan beats dance party.

June 1, 2020

Charts May 23 - Jun 1, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SAHEL SOUNDS LABEL SAMPLER 2 | various artists | Sahel Sounds
2 OLAMINA AND AWARENESS | Back To The Mission | Love City
3 PRINCE FATTY AND SHNIECE MCMENAMIN | "Take Me As I Am (feat Horseman)" [Single] | Evergreen
4 PRINCE ALLA | "Nah Go A Them Burial" [Single] | 17 North Parade
5 KOKOROKO |  "Carry Me Home" [Single] | Brownswood
6 AMARIA HAMADALHER | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 05 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
7 ALBOROSIE | "Unprecedented Time" [Single] | VP
8 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
9 INNA DE YARD | "Skylarking (feat Horace Andy)" [Single] | Chapter Two / Wagram
10 ALKIBAR JUNIOR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 04 [EP] | Sahel Sounds

May 27, 2020

Tony Allen, 1940-2020

First of all, it's great to be back on Global A Go-Go after hiding out from Covid-19 for 2-1/2 months.  Thank you to Eric Godsey for filling in for me during that time -- you can now check Eric out every other Tuesday morning between 6 and 8 AM on WRIR's Tuesday Morning Breakfast Blend, where he shares the time slot with Georgie Isaacs.

For my return, I'd like to start with a program in 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 June 1, 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 just released in March with Hugh Masakela.

May 25, 2020

Charts May 16-22, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | Brasses For The Masses | Asphalt Tango
2 GUASA, CUNUNO Y MARIMBA: AFRO-COLOMBIAN MUSIC FROM THE PACIFIC COAST | various artists | Vampisoul
3 MDOU MOCTAR | "Ibitlan" b/w "Tiknass (Sunbone)" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
4 WUTA MAYI | La Face Cachee | Sterns
5 BEBEL GILBERTO | Agora [Advance Tracks] | PIAS
6 OLAMINA AND AWARENESS | Back To The Mission | Love City
7 SILVERY BOYS, THE | The Silvery Boys | Vampisoul
8 GROUPE RTD | The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti [Advance Tracks] | Ostinato
9 NICO GOMEZ AND HIS AFRO-PERCUSSION INC | "Baila Chibiquiban" [Single] | Matasuna
10 GREGORY ISAACS | "Babylon Too Rough" [Single] | 17 North Parade

May 17, 2020

Charts May 9-15, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 FALLE NIOKE AND GHOST CULTURE | "Barke" [Single] | PRAH
2 SANTROFI | Alewa | Out Here
3 FADHILEE ITULYA | Kwetu | Naxos World
4 LADAMA | "Nobreza" [Single] | Six Degrees
5 FRANCK BIYONG FEAT CRISTINA VIOLLE | Trouble [EP] | Hot Casa
6 K FRIMPONG AND SUPER COMPLEX SOUNDS | Ahyewa Special | Hot Casa
7 TIDIANE THIAM | Siftorde | Sahel Sounds
8 KENYATTA HILL AND CULTURE | "Free Africa" [Single] | Rockers Artist Agency
9 BUSCABULLA | Regresa | Ribbon
10 ARCHIVES, THE | Carry Me Home [Advance Tracks] | Montserrat House

May 10, 2020

Charts May 2-8, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | Brasses For The Masses | Asphalt Tango
2 BAMBA WASSOULOU GROOVE | Dankele | Lusafrica
3 THIEVERY CORPORATION | Symphonik | ESL
4 JEICH OULD BALDU | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 03 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
5 SILVERY BOYS, THE | The Silvery Boys | Vampisoul
6 LAKOU MIZIK | HaitiaNola | Cumbancha
7 ALBOROSIE | "Unprecedented Time" [Single] | VP
8 SANTROFI | Alewa | Out Here
9 BETO JAMAICA | Rey De Mi Folklor: Vallenato Y Cumbia Colombiana | OM Producciones
10 EVRITIKI ZYGIA | Ormenion | Teranga Beat

May 4, 2020

Charts Apr 25 - May 1, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
2 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
3 LAKOU MIZIK | HaitiaNola | Cumbancha
4 KOKOROKO | "Carry Me Home" [Single] | Brownswood
5 OMAR | The Anthology | Freestyle
6 CALIBRO 35 | Momentum | Record Kicks
7 FRANCK BIYONG FEAT CRISTINA VIOLLE | Trouble [EP] | Hot Casa
8 WU FEI AND ABIGAIL WASHBURN | Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn | Smithsonian Folkways
9 K FRIMPONG AND SUPER COMPLEX SOUNDS | Ahyewa Special | Hot Casa
10 ORCHESTRA GOLD | "Lemuru" [Single] | self-released

April 26, 2020

Charts April 18-24, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 OZORIO TRIO | Big Town | Tratore
2 LEVE LEVE: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE SOUNDS (70S - 80S) | various artists | Bongo Joe
3 SANTROFI | Alewa | Out Here
4 HAILU MERGIA | Yene Mircha | Awesome Tapes From Africa
5 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
6 GUASA, CUNUNO Y MARIMBA: AFRO-COLOMBIAN MUSIC FROM THE PACIFIC COAST | various artists | Vampisoul
7 ETRAN DE L'AIR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 01 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
8 EL WALI | Tiris | Sahel Sounds
9 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
10 BROWNOUT | Berlin Sessions | Fat Beats

April 19, 2020

Charts April 11-17, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 KEVIN FLOREZ AND THE BUSY TWIST | "Champetizate" [Single] | Palenque / Farra Rap
2 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
3 GUASA, CUNUNO Y MARIMBA: AFRO-COLOMBIAN MUSIC FROM THE PACIFIC COAST | various artists | Vampisoul
4 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
5 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
6 JOUWALA COLLECTIVE | Bazaar | self-released
7 LIDO PIMIENTA | Miss Colombia | Anti-
8 JAH9 | Note To Self | VP
9 ANOUSHKA SHANKAR | Love Letters | Mercury Classics
10 AWALE JANT BAND | Yewoulen: Wake Up | ARC

April 14, 2020

Charts April 4-10, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 HAILU MERGIA | Yene Mircha | Awesome Tapes From Africa
2 BROWNOUT | Berlin Sessions | Fat Beats
3 FLOR DE TOLOACHE | "Quisera" [Single] | self-released
4 OMAR | The Anthology | Freestyle
5 LEVE LEVE: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE SOUNDS (70S - 80S) | various artists | Bongo Joe
6 TAMIKREST | Tamotait | Glitterbeat
7 BETO JAMAICA | Rey De Mi Folklor: Vallenato Y Cumbia Colombiana | OM Producciones
8 BAMBA WASSOULOU GROOVE | Dankele | Lusafrica
9 EVRITIKI ZYGIA | Ormenion | Teranga Beat
10 MONEY CHICHA | "The Mexican / Enfermera" [Single] | Peace & Rhythm

April 5, 2020

Charts Mar 28 - Apr 3, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 HAILU MERGIA | Yene Mircha | Awesome Tapes From Africa
2 BAMBA WASSOULOU GROOVE | Dankele | Lusafrica
3 AFROINS, LOS | Goza La Salsa | Vampisoul
4 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
5 JOUWALA COLLECTIVE | Bazaar | self-released
6 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
7 LAKOU MIZIK | HaitiaNola | Cumbancha
8 KIKO DINUCCI | Rastilho | Tratore
9 LA SRA. TOMASA | Alegre Pero Peligroso | Guspira
10 NYBOMA | Kanta D'Or | Une Plume Une Voix Une Guitare

March 29, 2020

Charts March 21-27, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MDOU MOCTAR | "Ibitlan" b/w "Tiknass (Sunbone)" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
2 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | Brasses For The Masses | Asphalt Tango
3 BETO JAMAICA | Rey De Mi Folklor: Vallenato Y Cumbia Colombiana | OM Producciones
4 BAMBA WASSOULOU GROOVE | Dankele | Lusafrica
5 AFROINS, LOS | Goza La Salsa | Vampisoul
6 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
7 DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV | #fakenews | Menart
8 BATUNGA AND THE SUBPRIMES | "Gates Of Ouantou" [Single] | Matasuna
9 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
10 LAKOU MIZIK | HaitiaNola | Cumbancha

March 22, 2020

Charts March 14-20, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
2 BLACK MARKET BRASS | Undying Thirst | Colemine
3 DZAMBO AGUSEVI ORCHESTRA | Brasses For The Masses | Asphalt Tango
4 BAMBA WASSOULOU GROOVE | Dankele | Lusafrica
5 AFROINS, LOS | Goza La Salsa | Vampisoul
6 MDOU MOCTAR | "Ibitlan" b/w "Tiknass (Sunbone)" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
7 BATUNGA AND THE SUBPRIMES | "Gates Of Ouantou" [Single] | Matasuna
8 TIME IS FIRE | In Pieces | Electric Cowbell
9 KOKOROKO | "Carry Me Home" [Single] | Brownswood
10 KOLINGA | "Nguya Na Ngai" [Single] | Underdog