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

March 15, 2020

Charts March 7-13, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CORNERSHOP | England Is A Garden | Ample Play
2 BETO JAMAICA | Rey De Mi Folklor: Vallenato Y Cumbia Colombiana | OM Producciones
3 GUASA, CUNUNO Y MARIMBA: AFRO-COLOMBIAN MUSIC FROM THE PACIFIC COAST | various artists | Vampisoul
4 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
5 DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV | #fakenews | Menart
6 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
7 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
8 LAKOU MIZIK | HaitiaNola | Cumbancha
9 PERU NEGRO | Son De Los Diablos | Vampisoul
10 ANTOINETTE KONAN | Antoinette Konan | Awesome Tapes From Africa

March 9, 2020

Charts Feb 29 - Mar 6, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 BAMBA WASSOULOU GROOVE | Dankele | Lusafrica
2 EVRITIKI ZYGIA | Ormenion | Teranga Beat
3 MONEY CHICHA | "The Mexican / Enfermera" [Single] | Peace & Rhythm
4 MACKA B | "Cucumba To Di World" [Single] | Peckings
5 MDOU MOCTAR | "Ibitlan" b/w "Tiknass (Sunbone)" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
6 RICHIE SPICE | "Valley Of Jehoshaphat (Red Hot)" [Single] | VP
7 GUASA, CUNUNO Y MARIMBA: AFRO-COLOMBIAN MUSIC FROM THE PACIFIC COAST | various artists | Vampisoul
8 CORNERSHOP | England Is A Garden | Ample Play
9 TUAREG MUSIC OF THE SOUTHERN SAHARA | various artists | Smithsonian Folkways
10 SAIGON SOUL REVIVAL | Hoa Am Xura | INFRACom!

March 7, 2020

Lusophonics

Sao Tome & Principe is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Gabon; it was uninhabited by humans when the Portuguese landed there in 1470.  Today its population is about 200,000, making it the second smallest sovereign state in Africa (Seychelles is the smallest).

Ever since its 1975 independence from Portugal, tiny Sao Tome has punched way above its weight in popular music.  For the first time, it's now the subject of a compilation album (pictured above) bringing together 16 tracks from the early independence years.  You'll hear one on the March 9 edition of Global A Go-Go, along with music from fellow Lusophone African countries Angola and Cabo Verde.

Also this week: soul with a French touch, new releases by two of the longest-running Afrobeat groups in the USA, cumbia and vallenato, Senegal's psychedelic salsa, and Balkan beats meet dancehall.

March 3, 2020

Charts February 22-28, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 GUASA, CUNUNO Y MARIMBA: AFRO-COLOMBIAN MUSIC FROM THE PACIFIC COAST | various artists | Vampisoul
2 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
3 DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV | #fakenews | Menart
4 NIKANOR | Bajo El Sol | Rebel Up
5 WUTA MAYI | La Face Cachee | Sterns
6 EL WALI | Tiris | Sahel Sounds
7 MAMADOU KELLY | Les Bateaux | Clermont Music
8 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
9 ADOLFO ECHEVERRIA Y SU ORQUESTA | Sabroso Bacalao | Vampisoul
10 FARAFI | Calico Soul | Piranha

March 1, 2020

Guitar heroes of the Sahel

I've long contended that the best rock 'n' roll music in the world right now is being made in North and West Africa.  The March 2 edition of Global A Go-Go reinforces my claim.

You'll hear three killer guitar bands whose music is based on the Wassoulou traditions of southwestern Mali, including Bamba Wassoulou Groove (pictured above).  Plus another three in the assouf or desert blues genre, including brand-new singles from Tamikrest and Mdou Moctar.

Also this week: un poco mas de chicha, the psychedelic sounds of Greece, Somalian disco-funk, and new reggae singles by Richie Spice and Macka B.

February 25, 2020

Charts February 15-21, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 GUASA, CUNUNO Y MARIMBA: AFRO-COLOMBIAN MUSIC FROM THE PACIFIC COAST | various artists | Vampisoul
2 AFROINS, LOS | Goza La Salsa | Vampisoul
3 MDOU MOCTAR | "Ibitlan" b/w "Tiknass (Sunbone)" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
4 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
5 WUTA MAYI | La Face Cachee | Sterns
6 POUR ME A GROG: THE FUNANA REVOLT IN 1990S CABO VERDE | various artists | Ostinato
7 TINARIWEN | Amadjar | Anti-
8 PERU NEGRO | Son De Los Diablos | Vampisoul
9 JOUWALA COLLECTIVE | Bazaar | self-released
10 ADOLFO ECHEVERRIA Y SU ORQUESTA | Sabroso Bacalao | Vampisoul

February 23, 2020

It's carnival time

This week marks the end of a season characterized by excess in every dimension, a general reversal of everyday rules and norms, and mockery of authorities.  No, I'm not talking about Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.  I'm talking about carnival season, which comes to a close this week on Shrove Tuesday.

Monday February 24 on Global A Go-Go we'll take a musical visit to the six largest carnivals in the Americas, starting with three in Brazil: Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro, Carnaval Baiano in Salvador da Bahia and the carnival in Recife.  We'll also touch down at the Carnaval de Barranqilla in Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival in Port of Spain, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

You'll hear the kind of authentic party music from across eight decades that you'd be digging if you were in any of those places today.  If you're not there, this will be the next best thing.

February 19, 2020

Charts February 1-14, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DAVID WALTERS | Soleil Kreyol | Heavenly Sweetness
2 ANTIBALAS | Fu Chronicles | Daptone
3 LOS SHAINS | El Ritmo De Los Shains | Munster
4 LEVE LEVE: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE SOUNDS (70S - 80S) | various artists | Bongo Joe
5 ALEFA MADAGASCAR: SALEGY, SOUKOUS AND SOUL FROM THE RED ISLAND 1974-1984 | various artists | Strut
6 MARCOS VALLE | Cinzento | Deck
7 DALLAS | "Love From A Distance" [Single] | Rain Tree
8 ETRAN DE L'AIR | Music From Saharan WhatsApp 01 [EP] | Sahel Sounds
9 NIKANOR | Bajo El Sol | Rebel Up
10 EL WALI | Tiris | Sahel Sounds

February 16, 2020

Nicotiana

Rumput is quite possibly the most unique band in Richmond: they specialize in keroncong, Indonesian string band music.  Last time I checked, they were the only band in the USA playing this popular and very cool style.  They're also unusual in that they're a true multimedia endeavor, with original visual art in the form of wayang (Indonesian shadow puppets) and crankies (Appalachian scrolling panoramas) integrated into their performances.

Their next performance is on Tuesday February 18 at the Firehouse Theatre (more info here), where they'll be rolling out (pun intended) a new crankie on the subject of the ongoing deadly colonial history of tobacco.  Two Rumput members, musician John Priestley and visual artist Beth Reid, will join me in the studio Monday to talk about the band, their upcoming gig and the surprising parallels between Virginia and Indonesia.

Also this week: a tribute to Joseph Shabalaba, cadence from the French Caribbean, classic 1970s salsa dura, the marimba music of Colombia's Pacific coast, and more funana from Cabo Verde.

February 4, 2020

Charts January 25-31, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 KALETA AND SUPER YAMBA BAND | Medaho | Ubiquity
2 GEOFF BERNER | Grand Hotel Cosmopolis | Coax
3 DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV | #fakenews | Menart
4 WUTA MAYI | La Face Cachee | Sterns
5 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
6 LOCOBEACH |  Psychedelic Disco Cumbia | Dorsal Fin/Peace & Rhythm
7 LONDON AFROBEAT COLLECTIVE | Humans | self-released
8 LOS AFROINS | A Gozar Salsomanos | Vampisoul
9 OTAVA YO | Do You Love | ARC
10 YORKSTON/THORNE/KHAN | Navarasa : Nine Emotions | Domino

February 2, 2020

Maximum enjoyment

Producer and anthologist Lucas Silva likes to call his home country of Colombia "the Soukous Republic of America."  Indeed, Congolese soukous is perhaps the most central element of champeta, the syncretic music of urban Afro-Caribbean Colombia (especially the cities of Cartagena and Baranquilla) that Silva has been championing for more than 20 years.

This week on Global A Go-Go, you'll hear a set of guarapo, the sub-genre that features DJs remixing specifically Congolese discs.  As with everything in the world of champeta, the goal is vacile efectivo: that's slang for "maximum enjoyment."

Also this week: the first edition of Sahel Sounds' Music From Saharan WhatsApp, some vintage early 80s Afro-pop, a set of lovers rock for Dennis Brown's birthday, new Peruvian chicha via Belgium, and the superb new album by Antibalas.

January 28, 2020

Charts January 11-24, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 AFRICA EXPRESS | Egoli | self-released
2 NIGERIA SOUL POWER 70: AFRO-FUNK, AFRO-ROCK, AFRO-DISCO | various artists | Soul Jazz
3 PUT ON YOUR BEST DRESS: SONIA POTTINGER, SKA AND ROCK STEADY, 1966-1967 | various artists | Doctor Bird
4 BATUNGA AND THE SUBPRIMES | "Gates Of Ouantou" [Single] | Matasuna
5 DAVID WALTERS | "Krye Mwen" [Single] | Heavenly Sweetness
6 EL WALI | Tiris | Sahel Sounds
7 MAMADOU KELLY | Les Bateaux | Clermont Music
8 KOKOLO AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA | 100 Fevers | Peace & Rhythm
9 FARAFI | Calico Soul | Piranha
10 ADNAN OTHMAN | Bershukor: A Retrospective Of Hits By A Malaysian Pop Yeh Yeh Legend | Sublime Frequencies

January 26, 2020

Please, machine, make my day

Bosnia's Dubioza Kolektiv is back with #fakenews, their ninth album of Balkan-flavored ska, punk, reggae, electronica, hip hop and rock.  And they're here to puncture some of that fake news, telling us that refugees aren't part of a grand conspiracy and marijuana isn't a gateway drug.

They're also not too concerned about robots taking over our jobs: "Go ahead, make my day" is their take, as you'll hear on the January 27 edition of Global A Go-Go.

Also this week: Cuba from son to salsa; the dulcet tones of Congolese singer Wuta Mayi; what's new in Afrobeat; psychedelic cumbia; and Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah's Moroccan funk.

January 17, 2020

The real boogaloo

This week's show happens on January 20: Martin Luther King Day and the Virginia legislature's annual Lobby Day, when citizens from across the commonwealth are encouraged to visit Richmond's Capitol Square and meet with their elected representatives.

It's also the day on which out-of-state militia groups, white nationalists and other "very fine people" (as our president has described them) are threatening to crash a gun-rights rally here in Richmond, part of their master plan to start a second civil war, which they refer to as The Boogaloo.

I usually defer to my colleagues on WRIR's News & Public Affairs team when it comes to covering gun nuts and other assorted limp-membered attention seekers.  But this co-opting of the term "boogaloo" will not stand, man!  Today on Global A Go-Go, you'll hear the real boogaloo: Spanish Harlem 1967, not Charlottesville 2017.

Also this week: new desert blues from Mamadou Kelly; klezmer meets funk; the music of Blitz The Ambassador, who's performing Tuesday at the ICA; folk music from eastern Europe; and a great new creole/coupe decale track from David Walters.

January 12, 2020

Charts January 4-10, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SAIGON SOUL REVIVAL | Hoa Am Xura | INFRACom!
2 EL WALI | Tiris | Sahel Sounds
3 JOUWALA COLLECTIVE | Bazaar | self-released
4 LOS SHAINS | El Ritmo De Los Shains | Munster
5 ALEFA MADAGASCAR: SALEGY, SOUKOUS AND SOUL FROM THE RED ISLAND 1974-1984 | various artists | Strut
6 JAMBU E OS MITICOS SONS DA AMAZONIA | various artists | Analog Africa
7 LOCOBEACH | Psychedelic Disco Cumbia | Dorsal Fin/Peace & Rhythm
8 POUR ME A GROG: THE FUNANA REVOLT IN 1990S CABO VERDE | various artists | Ostinato
9 SONORA CASINO | Trompeteros | Vampisoul
10 DOWN IN JAMAICA: 40 YEARS OF VP RECORDS | various artists | VP

January 10, 2020

Introducing Eric Godsey

On the January 13th edition of Global A Go-Go, I'll be joined in the studio by Eric Godsey, a recent WRIR volunteer who, like yours truly, digs music from around the world.

Eric is a musician (drummer for Richmond band The Wimps among many other things) and a music teacher whose taste runs to the percussive side of things.  You'll get the idea when he spins sets of current progressive music out of Africa, Colombian electronica, and cumbia from in the tradition to out of left field.

As for me, I'll give you the sounds of Brazilians Seu Jorge and Roge, who have a gig coming up in DC on Friday night; Ghanaian highlife from the 80s and today; and more.

January 7, 2020

Charts Dec 7, 2019 - Jan 3, 2020

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ALEFA MADAGASCAR: SALEGY, SOUKOUS AND SOUL FROM THE RED ISLAND | 1974-1984 | various artists | Strut
2 WUTA MAYI | La Face Cachee | Sterns
3 JUANA MOLINA | Forfun [EP] | Crammed
4 JAMBU E OS MITICOS SONS DA AMAZONIA | various artists | Analog Africa
5 ZAIKO LANGA LANGA AND JOSSART NYOKA LONGO | Seve | Prozal
6 POUR ME A GROG: THE FUNANA REVOLT IN 1990S CABO VERDE | various artists | Ostinato
7 JULIAN Y SU COMBO | Noche De Fiesta | Vampisoul
8 GARIFUNA COLLECTIVE, THE | Aban | Stonetree
9 RACHID TAHA | Je Suis Africain | Believe
10 AGGROLITES, THE | Reggae Now! | Pirates Press

January 3, 2020

Top ten compilations, reissues and historic recordings of 2019

On the January 6 edition of Global A Go-Go, we welcome in the new year with a look at my favorite new/old recordings of the last year: the best compilations, reissues and historic recordings released in 2019.

This is always a fun category for me -- I learn so much from reissued recordings I wasn't even aware of when they first were released, and I truly enjoy the curatorial ear and eye that labels like Analog Africa, Strut and Ostinato bring to their compilations.

There's two more labels I'd like to shout out here for their great work in 2019: Vampisoul, in acknowledgement of the reissue series they're doing in collaboration with Colombian labels Discos Fuentes, Codiscos and INS; and BBE (short for "Barely Breaking Even," which is so apt for everyone working in this niche of the music business) who started a fabulous reissue partnership with Nigeria's Tabansi Music Publishers.

With that as prologue, simply click "Read more" for my top ten compilations, reissues and historic recordings of 2019, plus ten honorable mentions: