September 25, 2021

El callegüeso y su malamaña

Start with a base layer of heavy NYC salsa dura.  Mix in an equal amount of modern Cuban big band music: songo and timba.  Leaven with Colombia's Afro-Pacific sounds, add some Bronx hip-hop and Kingston dancehall, and the result is La Mambanegra from Cali, Colombia and a style they call "break salsa."
 
La Mambanegra is one of the most powerful dance bands in the world right now.  No one else sounds like them, and La Mambanegra sound like nothing but themselves on every single one of their songs.  Yet somehow this great combo is criminally underrecognized.  Global A Go-Go will do its part this week to change that situation, spinning four La Mambanegra tracks including two from their new album.

Also this week (Sunday September 26, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): more of Zimbabwe's mbira and the Sahara's desert blues, the sound of digital dancehall circa 1992, new music from Cyprus by Monsieur Doumani and the latest from Afro-Peruvian icon Susana Baca.

September 22, 2021

Charts September 13-19, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CAMEROON GARAGE FUNK | various artists | Analog Africa
2 FANFARE CIOCARLIA | It Wasn't Hard To Love You | Asphalt Tango
3 SONIA AIMY | Reconnect | Slammin Media
4 ORQUESTA AKOKAN | "Mi Conga Es De Akokan" [Single] | Daptone
5 MINYO CRUSADERS | Live At Le Guess Who? | Mais Um
6 ZANZIBARA VOLUME 10 | various artists | Buda Musique
7 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
8 JOSEPH SPENCE | Encore: Unheard Recordings Of Bahamian Guitar And Singing | Smithsonian Folkways
9 FLORENCE ADOONI | "Mam Pe'ela Su'ure" [Single] | Philophon
10 4 MARS | Super Somali Sounds From The Gulf Of Tadjoura | Ostinato

September 17, 2021

Who invented Black & White?

Let me introduce you to my favorite band of this moment.  They're from London and they play Afrobeat the way Fela Kuti intended: as a weapon.  The name of this band is Eparapo ("Join Forces" in Yoruba), they've released three songs so far and you'll hear all three of them this week on Global A Go-Go.
 
Also this week (Sunday September 19, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): women of Afrobeat; a continuation of last week's big ol' Balkan brass throwdown; East African sounds; a tribute to "the Ethiopian Elvis," Alemayehu Eshete, who passed away on September 2; and new Latin sounds from Japan (!).

September 14, 2021

Charts September 6-12, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SONIA AIMY | Reconnect | Slammin Media
2 LOS CHAPILLACS | Lo Bueno, Lo Malo, Lo Feo Y Los Alarcosos Chapillacs | Vampisoul
3 FANFARE CIOCARLIA | It Wasn't Hard To Love You | Asphalt Tango
4 MONEY CHICHA | "Maria Teresa b/w Cumbia Del Desierto" [Single] | Vampisoul
5 TAJ WEEKES | Pause | Jatta
6 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
7 MAMAKI BOYS | Patriote [EP] | Sahel Sounds
8 FLOR DE TOLOACHE | "La Tierra" [Single] | ADA Music
9 FRANK Y SUS INQUIETOS | "Resignate" [Single] | El Palmas
10 YORK | "The Days In Brazil (feat Guida De Palma)" [Single] | Upper Level

September 10, 2021

Rumput at Firehouse

With live music gradually returning to Richmond's stages, I'm joined in WRIR's Studio A this week by Andy McGraw and Hannah Standiford of the music and art collective (and long-time Global A Go-Go fave) Rumput, who are Richmond's first, only and therefore best Indonesian keroncong string band.
 
Andy and Hannah will tell us what Rumput has been up to during the pandemic, we'll play some of Rumput's new recordings, and he'll talk about the band's first performance in many moons, coming up Monday September 13 at the Firehouse Theatre.

Also this week (Sunday September 12, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): another tribute to an African musical genius gone too soon, Barthelemy Attisso of Orchestra Baobab; more burners from the Islamic Funk Belt; new chicha by Los Chapillacs and Money Chicha; and a big ol' Balkan brass throwdown.

September 7, 2021

Charts Aug 30 - Sep 5, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ADRIAN QUESADA | Look At My Soul: The Latin Shade Of Texas Soul | Nacional
2 KADIALY KOUYATE | Aado | Naxos World
3 HAMDI BENANI, MEDHI HADDAB AND SPEED CARAVAN | Nuba Nova | Buda Musique
4 KANE MATHIS | Geminus | Nyaato
5 DANAKIL | Rien Ne Se Tait | Baco
6 NIL'S JAZZ ENSEMBLE | Nil's Jazz Ensemble | Vampisoul
7 FADHILEE ITULYA | Shindu Shi | Naxos World
8 ELIDA ALMEIDA | Gerasonobu | Lusafrica
9 FAT FREDDY'S DROP | Wairunga | The Drop
10 CAMEROON GARAGE FUNK | various artists | Analog Africa

September 3, 2021

Guitar boy and mami wata

(Sir Victor Uwaifo's sculpture self-portrait in his living room, photograph by Morgan Greenstreet)
 
Sir Victor Uwaifo, one of the great artists and characters of African music, passed away on August 28 at the age of 80.
 
Uwaifo's "Joromi" became Africa's first gold record in 1969; he went on to revolutionize highlife music, build a hotel and an entire music industry in his hometown of Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, and in his spare time earn his PhD in Architectural Sculpture and turn his home into the Revelation Tourist Palazzo.  We'll celebrate the amazing, colorful life of Sir Victor Uwaifo on this week's edition of Global A Go-Go with an assortment of his tracks and one very special Sir Victor sample.
 
Also this week (Sunday September 5, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): new music for the kora, hard rock from Algeria, reggae en francais, Congolese soukous to warm you up for the USA premiere of The Rumba Kings (Saturday September 11 at the Byrd Theater as part of the Richmond International Film Festival), and some Chicano soul from the American southwest.

August 31, 2021

Charts August 24-29, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MERIDIAN BROTHERS AND CONJUNTO MEDIA LUNA | Paz En La Tierra | Bongo Joe
2 A ESPECTACULAR CHARANGA DA FRANCA | "Nao Para (Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" [Single] | Mais Um
3 ORQUESTA AKOKAN | "Mi Congo Es De Akokan" [Single] | Daptone
4 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | At Pioneer Works | Sahel Sounds
5 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
6 SUSANA BACA | "La Herida Oscura" [Single] | Real World
7 LOS SIDERAL'S | "Virgines Del Sol/Dongoh" [Single] | Munster
8 COCHEMEA | Vol. II Baca Sewa | Daptone
9 RECORD KICKS AFRO SIDES, VOL. 2 | various artists | Record Kicks
10 ACHOLI MACHON | Sons Of South Sudan [EP] | Good Deeds

August 26, 2021

Sunday kind of love

(photograph by Tanja Softic)
 
Dobrodosli means "welcome" in Serbo-Croatian and many of the related South Slavic languages.  Every week, I start Global A Go-Go with this word and today I get to welcome some new listeners.
 
Because this (Sunday August 29, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site) is my first program in a new time slot: Sundays from 1 to 3 PM.  I'm looking forward to sharing Sunday afternoons with you.
 
If you're not familiar with Global A Go-Go, let me tell you a little bit about the show.  I describe it as "music from around the world in the universal language of groove."  I like to say that the program's purpose is to decolonize your ears: to get you out of the bad habit of behaving as though the music of your culture and time is the sun around which all other musics orbit.

While I do play some things that could be classified as "folk music," Global A Go-Go isn't particularly folkloric: mostly I play music that is or has been quite popular, just not popular in Richmond or Virginia or the USA.

A typical two-hour episode will include artists from 10 or more countries, and performances recorded over six or more decades.  This week's show is pretty typical, with 11 countries from five continents spanning eight decades.  Without any further ado, let's jump into the program; I hope you enjoy the journey with me today.

August 24, 2021

Charts August 17-23, 2021

 
WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 BEN HARPER AND ZIGGY MARLEY | "Spin It Faster" [Single] | Mad Bunny
2 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
3 JAGUAR | Madremonte | El Palmas
4 CARWYN ELLIS AND RIO 18 | "Ola" [Single] | Legere
5 KEVIN FLOREZ AND CAPTAIN PLANET | "Borracho Bailando Champeta" [Single] | Bastard Jazz
6 KENYA EUGENE | "Bun It" [Single] | SOA Group
7 FRENTE CUMBIERO | Cera Perdida | La Roma
8 MONOSWEZI | Shanu | Riverboat
9 TAJ WEEKES | Pause | Jatta
10 JOSEPH SPENCE | Encore: Unheard Recordings Of Bahamian Guitar And Singing | Smithsonian Folkways

August 21, 2021

Monday I've got Sunday on my mind

Listen: Global A Go-Go is changing its time slot.  After a year and three-quarters on Mondays at 3 PM, my next port of call will be Sundays at 1 PM.  I'm switching slots with Michael Murphy, whose fabulous program Mellow Madness will be in this time slot beginning next week.  Here's more information about Mellow Madness, it's one of my favorite WRIR programs: wrir.org/show/mellow-madness
 
I'm going to miss all my Monday peeps -- hopefully a lot of you will become my Sunday peeps!  And I'll miss the record-nerd camaraderie of Freddie J of Banji Kaicho (Mandays at 1 PM) and Garry of The Lost Music Saloon (Mondays at 5 PM).  So it goes ....
 
As for this week's program (Monday August 23, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site), we're leaving Mondays with a bang, with one of the most varied playlists I've put together in some time.  You'll hear Brazilian psychedelia, mbiras from Zimbabwe and Ethio-rock in the first hour.  The second hour all comes from the Caribbean, featuring reggae from Saint Croix and Saint Lucia, Colombian champeta with a whole lotta Congolese in it, and some soca excursions.

August 18, 2021

Charts August 10-16, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DOBET GNAHORE | Couleur | Cumbancha
2 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
3 JAHRUKUS | "Ashes To Ashes" [Single] | Soul Messin'
4 MERIDIAN BROTHERS AND CONJUNTO MEDIA LUNA | Paz En La Tierra | Bongo Joe
5 DAG TENERE | Iswat [EP] | Nomada
6 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | At Pioneer Works | Sahel Sounds
7 ZANZIBARA VOLUME 10 | various artists | Buda Musique
8 OKUTE | Okuté | Chulo
9 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | Dost 1 | Bongo Joe / Catapulte
10 MOH ALILECHE | Humanity Is Falling Apart | Flag Of Freedom Productions

August 13, 2021

Turntable Report's global grooves

This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday August 16, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site) I'm joined by Tracy Wilson, who will be spinning the best international recordings she's heard so far in 2021.
 
Tracy is my former colleague here at WRIR, where she founded our still-running program Cause And Effect.  You might be familiar with her own music from the bands Dahlia Seed, Positive No and Ringfinger.  Tracy has spent much of her career working in the music business at big-time distributors like Caroline and Fontana.  She's moved on to a different occupation, but she still has the same music avocation, or should I say obsession?
 
Tracy's free newsletter Turntable Report (tinyletter.com/turntablereport) is an invaluable summary of new releases you probably haven't heard yet.  And her micro-store Courtesy Desk (courtesydesk.bigcartel.com) makes it easy for you to buy the hard-to-find items she's uncovered for Turntable Report.
 
Most importantly, Tracy has the biggest ears in the business, so it's my pleasure to hear two hours of new music she's selected specifically with a Global A Go-Go vibe in mind.  I think it will be your pleasure as well.

August 10, 2021

Charts August 3-9, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
2 OKUTE | Okuté | Chulo
3 MARCUS GAD MEETS TAMAL | "Tempo" [Single] | Easy Star
4 LE FERRAND, JOHAN | "Yerna Fasse (feat Khaira Arby)" [Single] | self-released
5 HAMDI BENANI, MEDHI HADDAB AND SPEED CARAVAN | Nuba Nova | Buda Musique
6 HAILU MERGIA AND THE WALIAS BAND | Tezeta | Awesome Tapes From Africa
7 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | Dost 1 | Bongo Joe/Catapulte
8 NIL'S JAZZ ENSEMBLE | Nil's Jazz Ensemble | Vampisoul
9 COCHEMEA | Vol. II: Baca Sewa | Daptone
10 BALIMAYA PROJECT | Wolo So | Jazz Re:Freshed

August 7, 2021

Balimaya

Balimaya means kinship, fellowship or brotherhood in Bamana and the other Manding languages of West Africa.  It's also an organizing principle for a 16-piece band from London called Balimaya Project, led by percussionist Yahael Camara Onono, featuring musicians from Kokoroko and the SEED Ensemble, and including kora, balafon and a six-piece African drum section.
 
Balimaya Project's debut album Wolo So was released on July 30, and it's a must-hear for fans of  progressive African music and jazz.  I'll play you a track this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Monday August 9, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): dreamy Turkish psych-pop; the deep grooves of Cuban rumba and timba; new African music from Yeko & Khaira Arby, Guy One and Vaudou Game; and some North African music for the dance floor.

August 4, 2021

Charts Jul 20 - Aug 2, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
2 MERIDIAN BROTHERS AND CONJUNTO MEDIA LUNA | Paz En La Tierra | Bongo Joe
3 JAHRUKUS | "Ashes To Ashes" [Single] | Soul Messin'
4 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | At Pioneer Works | Sahel Sounds
5 QUANTIC AND NIDIA GONGORA | "Balada Borracha" [Single] | Tru Thoughts
6 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | Dost 1 | Bongo Joe/Catapulte
7 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
8 COCHEMEA | Vol. II: Baca Sewa | Daptone
9 RECORD KICKS AFRO SIDES, VOL. 2 | various artists | Record Kicks
10 LOS SUPERSONICOS | "Introduccion" [Single] | El Palmas

August 1, 2021

Down by the river

If you're a frequent Global A Go-Go listener, you're probably aware of my ongoing obsession with reggae versions: songs originally from other genres repurposed inna Jamaican stylee.  And the more unlikely the cover, the better.
 
This week I'm fully engaging my obsession by devoting the first hour of the program entirely to reggae versions of songs you'll hear on classic rock radio: you know, Classic Rock 96.5 in Richmond, Channel 26 Classic Vinyl on SiriusXM, that kind of thing.  There's a lot of this type of material out there!  Some of it is actually good!  Those are the ones I've selected (or at least tried to select) for you.

Also this week (Monday August 2, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): an all-Latin second hour with new music by Quantic & Nidia Gongora, a set of left-of-the-dial cumbia and a set of Peruvian chicha.

July 21, 2021

Charts July 13-19, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten 
1 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
2 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | At Pioneer Works | Sahel Sounds
3 DAG TENERE | Iswat [EP] | Nomada
4 MINYO CRUSADERS | Live At Le Guess Who? | Mais Um
5 URUTAU | "Oracao (feat Iuri Resende)" [Single] | Cena Cerrado
6 LOGA | "C'est La Vie (feat Valeria Sattamini)" [Single] | self-released
7 GANKINO CIRCUS | "Schock" [Single] | Beste! Unterhaltung
8 HAILU MERGIA AND THE WALIAS BAND | Tezeta | Awesome Tapes From Africa
9 META AND THE CORNERSTONES | "Breeze" [Single] | self-released
10 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa

July 17, 2021

Sayonara tomodachi

I don't play a lot of music from Japan on this program.  Fortunately for WRIR listeners, you have Banji Kaicho to more than cover for me: two hours of Japanese music of any genre, hosted by Freddie J, right before Global A Go-Go every week, Mondays at 1 PM.
 
But somehow this week I went down a Japanese cumbia rabbit hole.  I was chasing Minyo Crusaders, whose album Live At Le Guess Who? was released earlier this month, and I was wondering about other Japanese bands playing cumbia.  Turns out there's a lot of them!  I've chosen a few of my favorites to share with you on this episode.

Also this week (Monday July 19, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): new Brazilian rock, the return of Balkan brass bangers, and an all-African second hour featuring desert blues, juju, highlife and Afro-funk.

July 13, 2021

Charts Jun 29 - Jul 12, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 OKUTE | Okuté | Chulo
2 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
3 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
4 LAS CAFETERAS | "La Sirena" [Single] | ONErpm
5 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | Dost 1 | Light In The Attic
6 CONKARAH | "Papaya (Sick Wit It Crew mix)" [Single] | BMG
7 SOFI TUKKER X AMADOU AND MARIAM | "Mon Cheri" [Single] | Red Hot
8 MOH ALILECHE | Humanity Is Falling Apart | Flag Of Freedom Productions
9 PHIRPO Y SUS CARIBES | "Comencemos (Let's Start)/Mi Moooto" | Matasuna
10 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists | El Palmas

July 9, 2021

Happy 40th, Plan 9!

(photo by Tom Campagnoli)

On July 11, 1981, Plan 9 Records opened for business at 2901 W. Cary Street in Richmond's Carytown neighborhood, backed by $1,200 in tax refund money and stocked with the consigned records of the owners and their friends.

It's rare for an independent record store to stay in business for 40 years.  And a few things have changed in their industry since then: the death and rebirth of the LP; the birth and death of the CD; the birth, death and rebirth of the cassette; competition from national and international mega-retailers; the rise and fall of Napster and file-sharing; the digital music revolution and the rise of streaming services.

Somehow Plan 9 has survived it all, not to mention a few recessions including a doozy in 2008, more store moves than you can count, expansion and contraction, even a bankruptcy filing.  40 years later, Plan 9 is still Richmond's premier indie record store and in many ways it's just like the store it was when it first opened.

I speak from experience on this last point, since I was one of Plan 9's early customers.  I stumbled across the store in about September of 1981, and if I hadn't found it I probably would have moved out of Richmond and never returned.  Plan 9 introduced me to Richmond's independent music community, which back then was pretty far underground but nowadays has moved from the basement to the penthouse of Richmond's cultural scene, thanks in no small part to the persistence of Plan 9.

This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday July 12, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site), I'm going to play some of the international recordings I bought at Plan 9 in their first three years of business.  These were the albums that set me on the path I'm on today; these are the records that invented the idea of Global A Go-Go.

And I'll be joined in Studio A by Plan 9's co-founder and owner Jim Bland (on the left in the photo above; on the right is co-founder Pedie Kurzman).  In between musical selections, Jim and I will talk about Plan 9 and the Richmond music community then and now, why Plan 9 was selling African, Caribbean and Latin records way back then, and why the directive "Bathe" used to be posted over the front door, among other things.  We're going to have a great time and I think you will too if you tune in.
 
For more about Plan 9's 40th anniversary, here's a Facebook group for the milestone filled with photos, video and stories from staffers and customers: facebook.com/groups/1402410666792334.  Harry Kollatz Jr. has a terrific feature in this month's Richmond Magazine: richmondmagazine.com/news/features/a-matter-of-records.  And Brent Baldwin put Plan 9's 40th on the cover of Style Weekly's annual Music Issue back in April: styleweekly.com/richmond/look-whos-40/Content?oid=17316524.

July 3, 2021

Everybody on the floor

This time on Global A Go-Go it's nuthin' but a global dance party: two continuous hours of music, spanning 30 countries and six decades, that will put your hands up in the air.  To paraphrase my WRIR colleague Mr. Jazz, it's all platter and less chatter.  And as my WRIR colleague DJ Graybeard always says: Crank it up and share with your neighbors.  Are you with me?

This week's program (Monday July 5, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site) was inspired by my sister-in-law, who recently became the first woman to serve as president of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration.
 
To kick off her term as president, and to introduce herself to the arbitrators, attorneys and staffers from over 100 countries that make up the Court, she asked me to create a two-hour mixtape that would get a wide variety of people up and dancing.  Everybody on the floor!

June 30, 2021

Charts June 22-28, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten 
1 HAMDI BENANI, MEDHI HADDAB AND SPEED CARAVAN | Nuba Nova | Buda Musique
2 LAS CAFETERAS | "La Sirena" [Single] | ONErpm
3 ZANZIBARA VOLUME 10 | various artists | Buda Musique
4 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
5 MOH ALILECHE | Humanity Is Falling Apart | Flag Of Freedom Productions
6 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
7 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists | El Palmas
8 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
9 INNOV GNAWA | Lila | Daptone
10 JUPITER AND OKWESS | Na Kozonga | Everloving

June 27, 2021

L'ange blanc du malouf

Hamdi Benani was dubbed "l'ange blanc du malouf" (the white angel of malouf) for his white violin and matching suit, and for bringing Arab-Andalusian malouf music around the world.  Supposedly he was given the nickname in 1972 by Kim Il Sung; we all know how North Korean maximal leaders feel about nicknames (see "Dotard").
 
Benani died from COVID in September.  One of his last sessions was a decidedly untraditional approach to the malouf tradition alongside electric oud player Mehdi Haddab and his band Speed Caravan.  That session, under the title Nuba Nova, will be released on July 2 and it is just fabulous: soulful, radical, stirring, just the kind of album Rachid Taha would be making if he were still with us.
 
This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday June 28, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site) you'll hear two tracks from Nuba Nova and a whole lot more from North Africa: Moroccan gnawa, Egyptian and Sudanese thinking (and dancing) person's pop, music of North Africa's indigenous Amazigh people (you might know them as Berbers), even Swahili taarab bearing unmistakable North African influence.  And we'll finish with some Chicano rock and soul from 1949 to today, just because.

June 23, 2021

Charts June 15-21, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
2 NGOMA ZETHU | 7 Chapters Of Mystery | Bantu Entertainment Network
3 ANTHONY JOSEPH | The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running For Their Lives | Heavenly Sweetness
4 KHALAB AND M’BERRA ENSEMBLE | M'berra | Real World
5 HAILU MERGIA AND THE WALIAS BAND | Tezeta | Awesome Tapes From Africa
6 OKUTE | Okuté | Chulo
7 MITCHUM YACOUB | "Cumbia Divina" [Single] | All-Town Sound
8 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | Dost 1 | Bongo Joe/Catapulte
9 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
10 SOFI TUKKER + AMADOU AND MARIAM | "Mon Cheri" [Single] | Red Hot

June 20, 2021

Hailu & Moges

The Walias Band was one of Ethiopian music's pioneers: they were the first independent band not financially tied to a hotel, club or theater; they released the country's first fully instrumental albums on their own label; they owned their own equipment, recording studio and record store.  And Walias music was so ubiquitous on Ethiopian media in the late 1970s that some people just knew them as "that music from TV."
 
The band broke up after they toured the USA in 1981, as four of their members including leader Hailu Mergia and saxophonist Moges Habte went into exile in the large Washington DC Ethiopian diaspora community.  Hailu and Moges both still live in suburban Maryland, and they remain active in music.  This week on Global A Go-Go, you'll hear the Walias Band from back in the day, including a new reissue of one of those early instrumental albums, and you'll also hear what Hailu and Moges are up to these days.
 
Also this week (Monday June 21, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): new Anatolian rock from Derya Yildirim & Grup Simsek, new cumbia from Frente Cumbiero and Mitchum Yacoub, new rumba from Okute and not-at-all new South African township soul and bump jive circa 1975.

June 16, 2021

Charts June 1-14, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
2 VAUDOU GAME | Noussin | Hot Casa
3 OKUTE | Okuté | Chulo
4 EDO FUNK EXPLOSION VOL 1 | various artists | Analog Africa
5 CONKARAH | "Papaya (Sick Wit It Crew mix)" [Single] | BMG
6 META AND THE CORNERSTONES | "Breeze" [Single] | self-released
7 DOBET GNAHORE | Couleur | Cumbancha
8 KASAI ALLSTARS | Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound | Crammed
9 AYUNNE SULE | Putoo Katare Yire | Rebel Up/Makkum/Red Wig
10 STAR LOVERS | Boafo Ne Nyame | Hot Casa

June 13, 2021

The minister of creaminess

Astronomical summer doesn't start for another week, but it's definitely meteorological summer here in the RVA, and that's got me thinking about summer jams -- you know, those catchy, danceable songs that sound so much better when temperatures are rising.
 
This week on Global A Go-Go you'll hear a whole hour of them.  Your favorite 2021 summer jam might be a new one from Vaudou Game (updated disco from Togo via France) or Conkarah (Jamaican island pop) or Sofi Tukker x Amadou & Mariam (uh, Amadou & Mariam with cheesy EDM sauce on top, actually sounds better than the description).  Or maybe it will be one of the oldies I spin from South Africa, Ecuador, Spain or parts in between.

Also this week (Monday June 14, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): a preview of the first post-COVID live music event I'll be attending, some sly electro-cumbia, and zouk filtered through Colombia.

June 1, 2021

Charts May 25-31, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
2 MOH ALILECHE | Humanity Is Falling Apart | Flag Of Freedom Productions
3 DOBET GNAHORE | Couleur | Cumbancha
4 MACKA B | "My Father's People" [Single] | Before Zero
5 PHIRPO Y SUS CARIBES | "Comencemos (Let's Start)/Mi Moooto" [Single] | Matasuna
6 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists | El Palmas
7 FLOR DE TOLOACHE | "Florecita Rockera" [Single] | ADA Music
8 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
9 INNOV GNAWA | Lila | Daptone
10 KHALAB AND M’BERRA ENSEMBLE | M'berra | Real World

May 30, 2021

Let's start

It's not often here at WRIR that we have two different covers of the same song on our world music recommended list at the same time; in fact, I don't think it's ever happened until now.  So this week you'll hear Fela Kuti's "Let's Start" as played by two Venezuelan bands: Phirpo Y Sus Caribes (pictured above) and Los Kings.  Plus two covers of another Fela song by two Colombian bands, just because I can.
 
Also this week (Monday May 31, 3:00-5:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards on the wrir.org archive player, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): conscious dancehall, new North African sounds by Moh Alileche and Natik Awayez, some rock en Espanol, Mdou Moctar's new album and more desert blues, and coupe decale straight outta Abidjan.

May 25, 2021

Charts May 18-24, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
2 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists | El Palmas
3 U-ROY | "Man Next Door (feat Santigold)" [Single] | Trojan Jamaica/BMG
4 BAIUCA | Embruxo | Raso Estudio
5 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
6 INNOV GNAWA | Lila | Daptone
7 MARIA RAQUEL Y SUS MARAVILLAS | "El Tiempo Se Acabo" [Single] | Chulo
8 AYUUNE SULE | Putoo Katare Tire | Rebel Up/Makkum/Red Wig
9 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
10 DOBET GNAHORE | Couleur | Cumbancha

May 23, 2021

A man of experience and wisdom

Everyone in the music business thinks they're a rebel.  And then there's Amha Eshete: in 1969 he defied Haile Selassie's Imperial edict by recording, pressing and selling Ethiopia's first pop music 45 rpm disc.
 
This simple act of rebellion or commerce opened the floodgates of what we now know as the golden age of Ethiopian music.  It never would have happened without Amha Eshete, who passed away on April 30 at age 74 (and spent 19 years in exile in Washington DC, by the way, where he ran the Blue Nile and Ibex nightclubs).

This week on Global A Go-Go we pay tribute to Amha Eshete by playing four of the 103 singles his label released between 1969 and 1975.  If you'd like to know more about Eshete, Pan African Music published a terrific two-part interview with him last year: pan-african-music.com/en/amha-eshete-the-dreamer, pan-african-music.com/en/amha-eshete-the-exile-and-the-return-to-native-land
 
Also this week (Monday May 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): a posthumous tribute as well to Nick (Count Dubulah) Page of Transglobal Underground and Dub Colossus, a set of merengue from the Dominican Republic and beyond, and an hour of global electronica that will get your head, toe and whole body into motion.

May 18, 2021

Charts May 4-17, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 NATIK AWAYEZ | Manbarani | Sublime Frequencies
2 INNOV GNAWA | Lila | Daptone
3 KASAI ALLSTARS | Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound | Crammed
4 ELIDA ALMEIDA | Gerasonobu | Lusafrica
5 JOSE CARLOS SCHWARZ AND LE COBIANA DJAZZ | Lua Ki Di Nos | Hot Mule
6 ROGER FAKHR | Fine Anyway | Habibi Funk
7 FRENTE CUMBIERO | Cera Perdida | La Roma
8 MARIA RAQUEL Y SUS MARAVILLAS | "El Tiempo Se Acabo" [Single] | Chulo
9 AYUUNE SULE | Putoo Katare Tire | Rebel Up-Makkum-Red Wig
10 YAT-KHA "We Will Never Die" [Single] The Lollipoppe Shoppe

May 16, 2021

The lost-wax process

In the world of recorded music, spring is a peak time for new releases, so I have a bunch of excellent new music to share with you this week.  One of the highlights is Cera Perdida, the second album from Colombia's Frente Cumbiero, a quartet whose influences are too broad to list: there's Colombian indigenous music, jazz, dub reggae and electronica, and that's just a start.
 
Also this week (Monday May 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): new music from Yat-Kha (Russia's Tuva Republic), Natik Awayez (Iraq and Egypt via Yemen), Innov Gnawa (Morocco and NYC), Ayuune Sule (northern Ghana), Kasai Allstars (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and much more.

May 8, 2021

Global A Go-Go Classico: El Gran Pacheco


The musician, bandleader and entrepreneur Johnny Pacheco died on February 15 at age 85.  In my opinion, Pacheco is one of the seminal figures in American popular music, in the same category with people like Sam Phillips and Berry Gordy.
 
Fania, the record label he founded and artistically directed, is responsible for a style of music that has spread around the world: salsa.  This music reflects the point of view of young Spanish-speaking Caribbeans (Latinos) in New York City in the 1960s and 70s who grew up in an all-new urban multicultural environment.  Such an environment was unusual then -- today it's mainstream culture.

Pacheco did it all at Fania: he co-started and co-owned the label; he produced many of the recordings; he was the A&R man signing and developing artists like Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Ruben Blades and Celia Cruz; he sold the albums out of the trunk of his car; he wrote songs; led and conducted bands; played flute and congas and even sang coros (background vocals).

This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday May 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) we'll rebroadcast my February 22, 2021 program focusing on Johnny Pacheco, Fania Records and the invention of salsa.

May 4, 2021

Charts Apr 20 - May 3, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CANZONIERE GRECANICO SALENTINO | Meridiana | Ponderosa
2 ALTIN GUN | Yol | ATO
3 GRESHKA | Inebriation | 4000
4 JUPITER AND OKWESS | Na Kozonga | Everloving
5 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | Suomi Disco | Playground
6 JAGUAR | "Siguele El Paso" [Single] | El Palmas
7 AYUNNE SULE | Putoo Katare Yire | Rebel Up
8 LOS MUTABLES | "Pasos En La Luna/Suspenso En El Espacio" [Single] | Munster
9 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
10 DIANA BURCO | "Negra Del Sur" [Single] | Somos

May 2, 2021

Time is what happens when nothing else happens

Thank you to the almost 500 donors who contributed $49,000 during WRIR's Spring 2021 fund drive, which ended last week.  That's an all-time record for both donors and dollars, and it tops our dollar goal by almost 25%.  All of WRIR's volunteers are in awe of your generosity -- the tower of low power is standing strong thanks to you!

This week on Global A Go-Go we're premiering the forthcoming new album by Italy's Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, the band that's renewing tarantella for the 2st century.  If you saw them at the 2016 Richmond Folk Festival you're already aware of how compelling and dynamic this band is, and that comes through on Meridiana, which will be released on May 21.
 
Also this week (Monday May 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): three from Timbuktu, Colombia meets Cameroon, the latest by Jupiter & Okwess, gypsy music from outside the Balkans and some Brazilian samba-soul chestnuts.

April 25, 2021

WRIR's Spring 2021 fund drive

One of the things I've missed the most during the COVID-19 pandemic has been live music.  There's a good chance you're feeling the same way as me.
 
So my program for what will hopefully be the last WRIR fund drive under pandemic conditions (Monday April 26, 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) is going to focus on some of the most memorable concerts I've attended over the last 40 years.
 
I have some unique stories to tell about shows I've been to: The night Fela Kuti got all the taxicabs off the road; unexpected pleasures in Paris, Barcelona and Vienna; driving 2-1/2 hours in a tropical storm to see an outdoor gig; hanging with Ethiopian attorneys in New York; and more.
 
And I'll be encouraging you to donate to WRIR before our Spring 2021 fund drive ends on Wednesday April 28 at 11 PM.  Like, how about doing it right now?  Just click on this link: wrir.org/donating
 
Oh, about that photograph above.  That's me and some of my WRIR colleagues enjoying live music at the Richmond Folk Festival in 2012.  Clockwise from top left, you're seeing Mike (Mr. Jazz) Gourrier of Bebop And Beyond, yours truly, Alyssa (P. Swann) Salomon of Can't Stop The Music, Charles (DJ Graybeard) Williams of The Other Black Music and The Motherland Influence and Carl (DJ Carlito) Hamm of If Music Could Talk.

April 21, 2021

Charts April 13-19, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 JOSE CARLOS SCHWARZ AND LE COBIANA DJAZZ | Lua Ki Di Nos | Hot Mule
2 AYUUNA SULE | "Don't Be Lazy" [Single] | Rebel Up
3 DELGRES | 4:00 AM | PIAS
4 LOS MUTABLES | "Pasos En La Luna/Suspenso En El Espacio" [Single] | Munster
5 LOS MASTER PLUS | "Buena Vida" (feat Pato Machete) [Single] | Nacional
6 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
7 AFROSOUND | La Danza De Los Mirlos | Vampisoul
8 NATION BEAT | The Royal Chase | NBM
9 THE BOYS FROM NAIROBI: BENGA AND RUMBA FROM 1980S KENYA | various artists | No Wahala Sounds
10 ALOSTMEN | Kologo | Strut

April 18, 2021

Ban mwen on chanson

 
4:00 AM by Delgres, released earlier this month, is one of my favorite new albums so far this year.  They're a power trio from France with leader Pascal Danae on dobro, the bass line is provided by tuba, and drum kit finishes the combo.
 
Danae's parents are from Guadeloupe and his songs, mostly written in Creole, have echoes of both delta blues and the French Caribbean.  It's a new urban folk music for the 21st century, or the sound of an imaginary alternative New Orleans.  You'll hear a track from 4:00 AM on this week's program, along with a healthy dose of Caribbean sounds from Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic.
 
Also this week (Monday April 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): Cobiana Djazz of Guine-Bissau, more kologo music from Ghana, another cumbia sampler, and guitar music of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

April 13, 2021

Charts April 6-12, 2021

 
WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD | "Surbajo" [Single] | Sahel Sounds
2 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
3 KANE MATHIS | Geminus | Nyaato
4 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists [Advance Tracks] | El Palmas
5 LEE FRY MUSIC | "Wianek (feat Alia Fay)" [Single] | self-released
6 ELIDA ALMEIDA | Gerasonobu | Lusafrica
7 NATION BEAT | The Royal Chase | NBM
8 YAADCORE, JAH9 AND SUBATOMIC SOUND SYSTEM | "Police In Helicopter" [Single] | Yard Birdz-Subatomic Sound
9 ALTIN GUN | Yol | ATO
10 TOMMY GUERRERO | Sunshine Radio | Too Good

April 10, 2021

You are flawless

The swinging 60s happened all over the planet, even in Ethiopia, one of the world's most tradition-loving and inward-focused countries.  We'll visit the Swinging Addis of the 60s and 70s on this week's edition of Global A Go-Go with five Ethio-oldies from that wonderful era.
 
Also this week (Monday April 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): progressive folk music from Eastern Europe, new desert blues by Les Filles De Illighadad, the Senegambian kora, West Africa's funky Afropop and funana from the island nation of Cabo Verde.

April 7, 2021

Charts Mar 30 - Apr 5, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 DELGRES | 4:00 AM | PIAS
2 EDO FUNK EXPLOSION VOL 1 | various artists | Analog Africa
3 LOS MUTABLES | "Pasos En La Luna/Suspenso En El Espacio" [Single] | Munster
4 STRAIGHT FROM THE DECKS 2 | various artists | Pura Vida Sounds/Heavenly Sweetness
5 MUITO KABALLA POWER ENSEMBLE | "Mamari" [Single] | Rebel Up
6 AMPEX, THE | The Ampex | Munster
7 JOAO SELVA | Navegar | Underdog
8 LOS TEDDY'S | Doce Psicoexitos | Munster
9 JUPITER AND OKWESS | Na Kozonga [Advance Tracks] | Everloving
10 CHRISTINE SALEM | Mersi | Blue Fanal

April 4, 2021

We'll do it live

In the immortal words of Bill O'Reilly (youtube.com/watch?v=Qy-Y3HJNU_s): "we'll do it live!"  Yes, Global A Go-Go is back in WRIR's Studio A for the first time in 56 weeks, thanks to the good work of Drs. Johnson & Johnson.  I'm looking forward to doing live radio again, and I can't wait to find out which mistakes I'm going to make in my rusty first week back.

Here's what you'll hear this week (Monday April 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): new music from a German one-man band that's now a 9-piece powerhouse ensemble, some urbane MPB from Brazil, Afro-boogie circa 1978, hard-hitting island blues from France, and a double shot of Get In The Garage, a recurring feature on this show spotlighting garage rock from around the world.

March 31, 2021

Charts March 23-29, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CARAVELA | Orla | None More
2 BAIUCA | "Luar" (feat Lilaina) [Single] | Raso Estudio
3 COLOR DE TROPICO, VOL. 2 | various artists [Advance Tracks] | El Palmas
4 KASAI ALLSTARS | "Olooh, A War Dance For Peace" [Single] | Crammed
5 PUPA CURLY | "Wake Up Mama (feat Aziatic & SupaG)" [Single] | Tuff Kruffy Entertainment
6 LITO BARRIENTOS Y SU ORQUESTA/LOS ROBBINS | "Cumbia En Do Menor/Patricia" [Single] | Vampisoul
7 LA PESADA | Tomate Y Alandette | Vampisoul
8 TENO AFRIKA | Amapiano Selections | Awesome Tapes From Africa
9 OMAR SOSA | An East African Journey | Ota
10 WAU WAU COLLECTIF | Yaral Sa Doom | Sahel Sounds-Sing A Song Fighter

March 28, 2021

La cumbia del cuervo

I've recently received a bunch of cool cumbia reissues from the 60s and 70s and I just bought another great cumbia compilation too, so that gave me the impetus to dig into my collection and pull out a bunch of tracks that I haven't played on the show in years.  The result is today's second hour -- all cumbia, baby!
 
Also this week (Monday March 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): the kologo of Ghana's Frafra people, music from Galicia, and Manu Chao and more musica mestiza.

March 23, 2021

Charts March 16-22, 2021


WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 STAR LOVERS | Boafo Ne Nyame | Hot Casa
2 KASAI ALLSTARS | "Olooh, A War Dance For Peace" [Single] | Crammed
3 EDO FUNK EXPLOSION VOL. 1 | various artists | Analog Africa
4 AMJ COLLECTIVE FEAT NAI-JAH | "Let Go Of Fear" [Single] | Astar Artes
5 ALTIN GUN | Yol | ATO
6 BEATERS, THE | Harari | Matsuli
7 URBAN VILLAGE | Udondolo | No Format
8 ROGER FAKHR | Fine Anyway | Habibi Funk
9 KELEKETLA | Keleketla! | Ahead Of Our Time
10 AMPEX, THE | The Ampex | Munster

March 21, 2021

Ponta de lanca africano

Jorge Ben, my all-time favorite Brazilian musician, is 76 years old on March 22.  He's the father of the genre called samba-soul, but really his music crosses all the boundaries between Brazilian popular music styles of the late 20th century.  He's samba and jovem guarda and bossa nova and tropicalia and MPB all at the same time.
 
This week on Global A Go-Go (Monday March 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) you'll hear five of my favorite Jorge Ben songs.  And it was hard work winnowing it down to just five!
 
Also this week: new music from Congotronics band Kasai Allstars, rock music of southern Africa, four bands that are reviving Turkey's 1970s Anatolian rock sound, some top-shelf reggae singing, and highlife meets post-disco boogie.

March 16, 2021

Charts March 9-15, 2021

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ANANSY CISSE | Anoura | Riverboat
2 AFROSOUND | La Danza De Los Mirlos | Vampisoul
3 BOMBA ESTEREO | Deja [Advance Tracks] | Sony Latin
4 FRANCOIS AND THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS | Banane Bleue | Domino
5 SUE MASKALERIS | Love Is The Key | Jazilian
6 JUANA MOLINA | ANRMAL (Live In Mexico) | Crammed
7 LIDO PIMIENTA | Miss Colombia | Anti-
8 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime [Advance Tracks] | Matador
9 ALSARAH | "Your Love Is Home" [Single] | self-released
10 LA MAMBANEGRA | "Oilo" [Single] | Tambora

March 14, 2021

Chicken skin music

Ry Cooder was born on March 15, 1947 in Santa Monica, California.  Ry is one of my all-time favorite musicians and he's one of the primary inspirations for the Global A Go-Go radio program.
 
In the 1960s, Ry played with Captain Beefheart and the Rolling Stones; in the 70s he made a series of brilliant solo albums that brought all kinds of American vernacular sounds into rock; in the 80s he was one of the top soundtrack artists in Hollywood; in the 90s he introduced American listeners to a world of music from Africa, Cuba and India; and in the 21st century Ry has continued to be one of the most vital musicians on the planet.

On this week's edition of Global A Go-Go (Monday March 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), each set will start with one of Ry Cooder's songs and then spin down a path he's blazed for me and for all of us.  I've tried to make the whole show as eclectic and rooted and soulful as Ry Cooder's music is.  Happy birthday, Ry!