May 17, 2022

Charts May 9-15, 2022

 
WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 MADALISTO BAND | Musakayike | Bongo Joe
2 CONGOTRONICS INTERNATIONAL | Where's The One? | Crammed
3 SELDA BAGCAN | Nem Kaldi | Turkofon
4 LOS CALVOS | Y Que Calvos! | El Palmas
5 MINI TRIO | "Hare Krishna" b/w "E O Que Ela Quer" [Single] | Munster
6 EL COMBO BATANGA | "Aji Gua Guo" b/w "El Barrio En La Mirada" [Single] | Lovemonk
7 LEYLA MCCALLA | Breaking The Thermometer | Anti-
8 PAPE NZIENGUI | Kadi Yombo | Awesome Tapes From Africa
9 LA PAMBELE | La Pambele | Names You Can Trust
10 SATELLITES | Satellites | Batov

May 13, 2022

What have I done wrongly?

Malawi's Madalitso Band built their own instruments (a 4-stringed guitar and the giant 1-stringed slide bass called the Babatone) and busked on the streets of Lilongwe for about 15 years before they got their first opportunity to play outside their home country in 2017.  Since then, they've been on the road as much as possible, with their fifth European tour now in process and their first trip to the USA coming up this fall.
 
Madalitso's second international album will be released in June, and it's a beauty.  This week, you'll hear a couple of tracks from it and a couple from previous releases as Global A Go-Go brings your attention to a band that most certainly deserves wider recognition.
 
Also this week (Sunday May 15, 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): some swinging samba-soul from Brazil, Turkish psych-folk, Afrobeat with a Jewish accent, Cuban funk and salsa dura from around the world.

May 10, 2022

Charts May 2-8, 2022


WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 OUMOU SANGARE | Timbuktu | World Circuit
2 CHINONSO EGWUATU AND DIVINE VICTORY BAND OF AFRICA | Njo Ka Akanu | Upright/Palenque
3 BATIDA | "Bom Bom" [Single] | Crammed
4 LE SUPER DJATA BAND DU MALI | En Super Forme, Vol. 1 | Numero Group
5 JEMBAA GROOVE | Susuma | Agogo
6 ABDULLAH IBRAHIM | Water From An Ancient Well | Yellowbird
7 STEVE MONITE | Only You | Soundway
8 CONGOTRONICS INTERNATIONAL | Where's The One? | Crammed
9 IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE | Electricity | Merge
10 RICHIE SPICE | "Shootie Shootie" [Single] | Riddim Force

May 6, 2022

Say it with a lemon

Happy birthday to Mahmoud Ahmed, who turns 81 years young on May 8!  In Ethiopia, they call him Frash Addash, the Mattress Renovator, the man who make old songs sound new again.
 
He's one of the last great singers remaining from Ethiopia's musical Golden Age of the 1960s and 70s, and no one can make Ethiopian music fans shake from their shoulders down to their feet in eskista (ecstacy) quite like Ahmed.  This week on Global A Go-Go, you'll hear four songs from Mahmoud's brilliant catalogue, including two of those shoulder-shaking eskistas.
 
Also this week (Sunday May 8, 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): a jazzy first hour with South African marabi, Ghanaian and Nigerian highlife and spiritual jazz from all parts; Mali's Wassoulou sound; and urban dance music based on French Caribbean zouk.

May 3, 2022

Charts Apr 25 - May 1, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CALEXICO | El Mirador | Anti-
2 ORCHESTRE MASSAKO | Orchestre Massako [EP] | Analog Africa
3 SATURNO 2000: LA REBAJADA DE LOS SONIDEROS 1962-1983 | various artists | Analog Africa
4 BOMBA ESTEREO | Live In Dublin | Nacional
5 JASON TAMBA | Don't Give Up | Playing For Change
6 KABAKA INTERNATIONAL GUITAR BAND | Led By G. Kabaka Opara | Palenque
7 GOOD ONES, THE | Rwanda… You See Ghosts, I See Sky | Six Degrees
8 ORCHESTRE LES VOLCANS DU BENIN | Vol. 1 | Albarika Store
9 AFRICA NEGRA | Antologia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
10 LOS CALVOS | ... Y Que Calvos! | El Palmas

April 30, 2022

Cumbia del polvo

First of all, let me start by thanking the approximately 430 donors who have contributed over $45,000 so far during WRIR's Spring 2022 Fund Drive.  You are putting the power in "the tower of low power"!
 
Even though the drive is officially over, if you haven't donated yet you can still get involved and earn some cool premiums until May 8.  Just visit wrir.org to make that donation.  And you can visit us in person at 1621 W. Broad Street in Richmond this weekend (April 30-May 1) and next weekend (May 7-8) between 11 AM and 5 PM if you'd like to pick up your premiums in person.

Now, on to the music.  This week Global A Go-Go features an American band for a change: Calexico, whose unique sound combines the flavor of the Mexico-USA border with indie rock.  Their 13th album El Mirador was released last month and it might be my favorite in their catalogue.  You'll hear a couple of songs from it this week, plus several Calexico side projects.

Also this week (Sunday May 1, 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): cumbia electronica both slow and fast; the Afro-coffeehouse sound of Jason Tamba; and two sets of 70s-80s African classics, one from Benin and one from central Africa.

April 28, 2022

Charts April 18-24, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 SOMI | Zenzile: The Reimagination Of Miriam Makeba | Salon Africana
2 CONGOTRONICS INTERNATIONAL | Where's The One? | Crammed
3 LEYLA MCCALLA | "Dodinin" [Single] | Anti-
4 GILI YALO | Einsof | Universal Israel
5 RUDY MILLS | Greatest Hits | Rebel Sound
6 SATELLITES | Satellites | Batov
7 JAAKKO LAITINEN AND VAARA RAHA | "Lapikatsa Lattiaan" [Single] | Playground Music Finland
8 LOS BITCHOS | Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang
9 SURE FIRE SOUL ENSEMBLE | Step Down | Colemine
10 NOORI AND HIS DORPA BAND | "Al Amal" [Single] | Ostinato

April 22, 2022

We play a lot of crap ... but that's what you want

This week on Global A Go-Go (Sunday April 24, 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), it's WRIR's Spring 2022 Fund Drive, where we're looking to raise $45,000 or more to keep Richmond Independent Radio in the pink for another six months.
 
Most non-commercial radio fund drives are as much fun as root canal.  So we'll take the opposite tack this week -- it will be my most amusing show of the year, where I play nothing but some of my favorite novelties, errors in judgment, inexplicable covers and other one-offs.  Plus Bill Murray will instruct us in how not to do a fund drive.  Not in person, sorry to say, but Midtown Swing's DJ Ginger will be with me in Studio A to share in the levity.

For something more serious and for some donation inspiration, follow me below the fold to read my semi-annual fund drive letter.

April 19, 2022

Charts April 11-17, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CLUB D'ELF | You Never Know | Face Pelt
2 KING JAMMY | Destroys The Virus With Dub | Greensleeves
3 SATELLITES | Satellites | Batov
4 KANDY GUIRA | Nagtaba | Vlad Production
5 AGUANEDO NNEWI BIG BROTHER'S BAND INTL | Onyemaechi | Upright / Palenque
6 DOGO DU TOGO | "Soke Wo (Sol Power All-Stars remix)" [Single] | Sol Power Sound
7 ORCHESTRE MASSAKO | Orchestre Massako [EP] | Analog Africa
8 FRANCISCA VALENZUELA | "Hola Impostora" [Single] | Sony Chile
9 AFRICA NEGRA | Antologia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
10 ADRIAN QUESADA | "Mentiras Con Cariño" feat. iLe [Single] | ATO

April 14, 2022

Hello imposter

I'm happy to be back in WRIR's Studio A this week for the first time since the first week of January, doing radio the way the good Lord meant for it to be done: live and in person. Don't worry, it will still sound fine as a podcast too.
 
Once again I'm catching you up on lots of new music.  This episode's finds include an Israeli band playing Turkish psych, a song about imposter syndrome that channels garage rock and rock en español at the same time, a reissue of Brazilian samba-funk that was way ahead of its time in 1969, what happens when a jazzy jam band plays Moroccan gnawa, one of the best Afropop tracks I've heard in a long time, and yet more new Igbo highlife from eastern Nigeria.

Got your curiosity up?  Good, then join me this week: Sunday April 17, 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.

April 13, 2022

Charts April 4-10, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 AFRICA NEGRA | Antologia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
2 LESPRI KA: NEW DIRECTIONS IN GWOKA MUSIC FROM GUADELOUPE 1981-2010 | various artists | Time Capsule-Seance Centre
3 PAPE NZIENGUI | Kadi Yombo | Awesome Tapes From Africa
4 LA PAMBELE | La Pambele | Names You Can Trust
5 LE SUPER DJATA BAND DU MALI | En Super Forme, Vol. 1 | Numero Group
6 DOGO DU TOGO | "Soke Wo (Sol Power All-Stars remix)" [Single] | Sol Power Sound
7 ORCHESTRE MASSAKO | Orchestre Massako [EP] | Analog Africa
8 BIO RITMO | "Piraguero/Asia Minor" [Single] | Merge
9 VIVIANO TORRES AND ANE SWING | Joyas Champetuas De Todos Los Tiempos | Palenque
10 OUMOU SANGARE | "Samara" [Single] | World Circuit

April 8, 2022

Global A Go-Go Classico: 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 (Sunday April 10, 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) was inspired last year by my sister-in-law, who became the first woman (also the first American) 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.  That's the basis for this program, which was so much fun last year on the day after the 4th of July that I wanted to give it a second spin.  Everybody on the floor!

April 4, 2022

Charts Mar 27 - Apr 3, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ORCHESTRE MASSAKO | Orchestre Massako [EP] | Analog Africa
2 KIKO VILLAMIZAR | Todo El Mundo | Wepa
3 KABAKA INTERNATIONAL GUITAR BAND | Led By G. Kabaka Opara | Palenque
4 BONGO HOP, THE | "La Napa" [Single] | Underdog
5 CONGOTRONICS INTERNATIONAL | "Where’s The One?" [Single] | Crammed
6 REGGAESTA | "Cocaine (feat. Earl 16)" [Single] | Echo Beach
7 STEPHANIE SANTIAGO | "Alma Carnavalera" [Single] | Movimientos
8 LOS CALVOS | "Salsa Y Sandunga" [Single] | El Palmas
9 VIBRO SUCCESS INTERCONTINENTAL ORCHESTRA | Drunkard | Dig This Way
10 LOS BITCHOS | Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang

March 31, 2022

Vibro success

The folks at Milan's Dig This Way Records have a reminder for us: all the crates will never completely be dug.  The latest evidence is their reissue of Drunkard by the Central African Republic's Vibro Success Intercontinental Orchestra.
 
Vibro Success were the first band to use a drum kit in Congolese-style rumba.  They were Bangui's biggest band in the 1970s, became the toast of Yaoundé and N'Djamena due to their constant touring of neighboring Cameroon and Chad, and recorded a series of albums in Aba, Nigeria for the Ben Limited record label, hence the "Intercontinental Orchestra" moniker.

I can't speak to all of their recorded output, but I can tell you that 1978's Drunkard is on par with the best music of Africa's post-independence era.  And that's saying something, since they're a band I had literally never heard of under a few weeks ago.  Hear them for yourself this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Sunday April 3, 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): a boatload of excellent new releases from artists who, like Vibro Success, you have probably never heard before -- Stephanie Santiago, Kiko Villamizar, The Bongo Hop, The Bogie Band featuring Joe Russo, Reggaesta and Congotronics International.  And plenty of Global A Go-Go classics to balance the scales.

March 28, 2022

Charts March 21-27, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 VIVIANO TORRES AND ANE SWING | Joyas Champetuas De Todos Los Tiempos | Palenque
2 GOOD ONES, THE | Rwanda ... You See Ghosts, I See Sky | Six Degrees
3 JEMBAA GROOVE | Susuma | Agogo
4 ORCHESTRE LES VOLCANS DU BENIN | Vol. 1 | Albarika Store
5 BIO RITMO | "Piraguero / Asia Minor" [Single] | Merge
6 LOS CARAMELOS DE AUCAYACU | El Sabor Dulcissimo | Discos Fantasticos
7 COCO LAGOS Y SUS ORATES | Descargas | Vampisoul
8 LOS BITCHOS | Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang
9 CHICHA POPULAR: LOVE AND SOCIAL POLITICAL SONGS FROM DISCOS HOROSCOPO 1977-1987 | various artists | Rebel Up
10 JUANITA EUKA | Mabanzo | Strut

March 24, 2022

Anne zwing

Some of the world's biggest fans of African, Latin and Caribbean music are from Colombia -- specifically from the Caribbean port cities of Cartagena and Barranquilla.  That's where LPs imported from overseas found their way into the hands of DJs who manned the picós, the sound systems that are coastal Colombia's popular, mobile and very loud discos and radio stations.
 
It didn't take long before Afro-Colombian musicians began recording their own versions and adaptations of the picó hits.  And no one did it better than Viviano Torres, aka Anne Zwing.  Our friends at Palenque Records have just released a compilation of Viviano's greatest tunes, and they're a master class in refracting African popular culture back onto itself.

This week on Global A Go-Go (Sunday March 27, 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) you'll hear three tracks from Anne Zwing alongside the African and Caribbean hits they reference.  Plus Sister Helen Prejean (of Dead Man Walking fame) in a West African setting, the irresistible sound of Cameroonian makossa, and more chicha from Peru and beyond.

March 23, 2022

Charts March 14-20, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 AFRICA NEGRA | Antologia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
2 BURKINA AZZA | Wari Bo | Social Joy
3 IMARHAN | Aboogi | City Slang
4 VIBRO SUCCESS INTERCONTINENTAL ORCHESTRA | Drunkard | Dig This Way
5 OUMOU SANGARE | "Sarama" [Single] | World Circuit
6 ETRAN DE L'AIR | Agadez | Sahel Sounds
7 MARCOS | Saudade | Comets Coming
8 JUCARA MARCAL | Delta Estacio Blues | QTV-Mais Um
9 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
10 HAMID EL SHAERI | Habibi Funk 018: The Slam! Years (1983 - 1988) | Habibi Funk

March 19, 2022

Global A Go-Go Classico: From the campfire to the arena


Well, we had some technical difficulties with Global A Go-Go's February 27 episode.  As a result, WRIR listeners didn't get to hear that show's ending.  We're remedying the situation this week (Sunday March 20, 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): I'm under the weather, so it's an ideal time to rebroadcast this program in its entirety.  Here's what I originally wrote about it:
 
Imarhan, a band from Tamanrasset, the Sahara Desert oasis city in southern Algeria, are masters of the warm, organic, luminous subtleties of the style of music called desert blues, tishoumaren, assouf or, even more simply among the Tamashek people, la guitare.  Their beautiful new album Aboogi is one of the best I've heard in the genre.
 
But the dynamic span of Toureg desert blues is as broad as that of any music today.  It ranges from the fireside intimacy of Imarhan all the way to the coliseum-scaled guitar rave-ups of six-string warriors like Mdou Moctar and Bombino.  This week Global A Go-Go presents a deep dive into desert blues, an hour that takes you from the campfire to the arena.

It's an all-African show this week, with new music from Malian songbirds Oumou Sangare and Rokia Koné, the sounds of the Mande balafon and a quick tour of Lusophone Africa on the bill as well.

March 14, 2022

Charts March 7-13, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 BUBE DAME KONIG | Von Der Quelle Bis Zur See | CPL
2 COCO LAGOS Y SUS ORATES | Descargas | Vampisoul
3 LOS BITCHOS | Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang
4 FATOUMATA DIAWARA | Maliba | 3eme Bureau/Wagram
5 UC HUREL | 3 Hur-El | Turkofon
6 GOOD ONES, THE | "The Darkness Has Passed" [Single] | Six Degrees
7 AMARU TRIBE | "Candela Viva" [Single] | Vibrating Planet
8 OUMOU SANGARE | "Wassulu Don" [Single] | World Circuit
9 RICHIE SPICE | "Shootie Shootie" [Single] | Riddim Force
10 SATELLITES | "Yar Oi" [Single] | Batov

March 10, 2022

The darkness has passed

I've done a bunch of thematic programs in recent weeks: an all-Ghana show for that country's birthday last week, deep dives into desert blues, Nigerian highlife and Zimbabwean sungura, and a re-airing of my hour-long interview with Taj Weekes.
 
So this week (Sunday March 13, 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 kind of a return to form: music from 17 different countries and seven different decades in two hours' time.
 
I'm featuring the new single from Rwanda's The Good Ones, and also new music from a band named Bube Dame König -- the first time I've ever played German folk-rock in this program's 18 year history.  Plus reggae songs about the po-po, descargas from Peru, Colombian vallenato via Australia and Turkish psych-rock made in Israel.  You know, your basic Global A Go-Go radio show.

March 7, 2022

Charts Feb 28 - Mar 6, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 AFRO-ZEN ALLSTARS | The Buzz And The Bells | AZA
2 AFRICA NEGRA | Antologia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
3 JEMBAA GROOVE | "Mokole" [Single] | Agogo
4 LUCIA DE CARVALHO | Pwanga - Light | Zamora
5 LESPRI KA: NEW DIRECTIONS IN GWOKA MUSIC FROM GUADELOUPE 1981-2010 | various artists | Time Capsule-Seance Centre
6 LEYLA MCCALLA | "Fort Dimanche" [Single] | Anti-
7 ESSIEBONS SPECIAL 1973-1984: GHANA MUSIC POWER HOUSE | various artists | Analog Africa
8 KOKOROKO | "Something's Going On" [Single] | Brownswood
9 BEAUTIFUL NUBIA AND THE ROOTS RENAISSANCE BAND | Huruhara | EniObanke
10 ELIA Y ELIZABETH | Elia Y Elizabeth | Vampisoul

March 3, 2022

Ghana, forward forever

On March 6th, 1957 the British colonies of Gold Coast, Ashanti, Northern Territories and Togoland officially became the independent Republic of Ghana, the first colony in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve sovereignty.
 
After a series of military coups in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Ghana today has cast off authoritarianism in favor of one of the freest and most stable governments on the continent.  More to the point of this radio program, Ghana is the source of some of my favorite music on the planet.  From highlife and palm-wine to kologo and Afro-funk, there are just so many brilliant sounds that Ghana has sent out to the rest of the world.
 
So it's my pleasure this week on Global A Go-Go (Sunday March 6, 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) to celebrate with two hours of music from Ghana on that nation's 65th birthday.

February 28, 2022

Charts February 21-27, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 IMARHAN | Aboogi | City Slang
2 ETRAN DE L'AIR | Agadez | Sahel Sounds
3 AFRICA NEGRA | Antologia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
4 FRIENDLY FIRE BAND | Rastamantic Riddim [EP] | Friendly Fire
5 MARCOS | Saudade | Comets Coming
6 BURKINA AZZA | Wari Bo | Social Joy
7 RICHIE SPICE | "Shootie Shootie" [Single] | Riddim Force
8 ZAO | Kwiti Kwiti | Le Monde Des Artistes
9 BLACK-AM-I | "Jah In My Corner" [Single] | Ghetto Youths International
10 VIVA LA MUSICA DE PAPA WEMBA | La Voix Du Maitre: Hommage A Papa Wemba | self-released

February 24, 2022

From the campfire to the arena

Imarhan, a band from Tamanrasset, the Sahara Desert oasis city in southern Algeria, are masters of the warm, organic, luminous subtleties of the style of music called desert blues, tishoumaren, assouf or, even more simply among the Tamashek people, la guitare.  Their beautiful new album Aboogi is one of the best I've heard in the genre.
 
But the dynamic span of Toureg desert blues is as broad as that of any music today.  It ranges from the fireside intimacy of Imarhan all the way to the coliseum-scaled guitar rave-ups of six-string warriors like Mdou Moctar and Bombino.  This week Global A Go-Go presents a deep dive into desert blues, an hour that takes you from the campfire to the arena.

It's an all-African show this week (Sunday February 27, 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), with new music from Malian songbirds Oumou Sangare and Rokia Koné, the sounds of the Mande balafon and a quick tour of Lusophone Africa on the bill as well.

February 21, 2022

Charts February 14-20, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 ANO NOBO QUARTET, THE | The Strings Of Sao Domingos | Ostinato
2 AFRICA NEGRA | Antologia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
3 OLIVER NAYOKA | Club Series Chapter One | Odogwu/Palenque
4 LOS BITCHOS | Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang
5 BURKINA AZZA | Wari Bo | Social Joy
6 BONGA | Kintal Da Banda | Lusafrica
7 OLIVER NAYOKA | Aja Wele-Wele | Odogwu/Palenque
8 FRIENDLY FIRE BAND | Rastamantic Riddim [EP] | Friendly Fire
9 LOS AUTENTICOS DECADENTES | "Jurabas Tu" feat. Los Palmeras [Single] | PopArt
10 BLACK-AM-I | "Jah In My Corner" [Single] | Ghetto Youths International

February 17, 2022

Music is my identity

We're taking a deep dive into the Igbo highlife sound of eastern Nigeria on this week's program.  The whole first hour will be devoted to this marvelous, mellifluous genre that combines the modern highlife music popular across Anglophone West Africa with Igbo traditional rhythms, also factoring in the influential guitar stylings from bordering Cameroon's makossa and the not-too-far-away Congo's soukous and successors.
 
Like the Zimbabwean sungura I played last week, Igbo highlife found a bit of a first-world audience during the 1980s world music boom.  Our ears have long since turned to newer novelties, but the category never went out of style at home.  Now guitarist Oliver Nayoka is reminding northern listeners of what they've forgotten with two fabulous new albums.  I'll play a track from each plus some classics from the 70s and 80s, including Africa's favorite song as chosen in 2004 by BBC's Network Africa listeners.

Also this week (Sunday February 20, 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): songs Charlie Gillett taught me, some new roots reggae, and what the Super Bowl hip hop halftime show needed was some cumbia.
 
Oh, and here's a great read about one of Igbo highlife's superstars, the man behind the aforementioned "Africa's favorite song": narratively.com/his-biggest-hit-sold-more-copies-than-any-of-the-beatles-so-why-havent-you-heard-of-him

February 14, 2022

Charts February 7-13, 2022


WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 GONORA SOUNDS | Hard Times Never Kill | The Vital Record/Dust-to-Digital
2 ABDULLAH IBRAHIM | Water From An Ancient Well | Yellowbird
3 MARCO FLORES Y LA JEREZ | "Ahora Es Cuando (feat Grupo Legitimo)" [Single] | Nacional
4 RENEE GOUST | "La Muchacha Alegre (feat Nancy Sanchez)" [Single] | self-released
5 AFRO-ZEN ALLSTARS | The Buzz And The Bells | AZA
6 OKI | Tonkori In The Moonlight (1996-2006) | Mais Um
7 LUCIDVOX | "Burn The Grief/Swarm" [Single] | Glitterbeat
8 VIVA LA MUSICA DE PAPA WEMBA | La Voix Du Maitre: Hommage A Papa Wemba | self-released
9 SMALL ISLAND BIG SONG | Our Island | self-released
10 EXTRA MUSICA NOUVEL HORIZON | Vision | Universal Africa

February 10, 2022

You're in it now

Blind guitarist-singer Daniel Gonora has been making his living performing on the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe since 2004.  His four year old son Isaac joined him on drums in 2008.  They call themselves Gonora Sounds and they play sungura, the quintessential popular sound of Zimbabwe that's based on traditional mbira (thumb piano) music adapted for the electric guitar.
 
Street videos of Daniel and Isaac have racked up more than 10 million views on the internet, and the family band was the subject of an award-winning 2017 documentary film You Can't Hide From The Truth.  They're released a number of limited edition CDs but now for the first time there's a full-length, full band Gonora Sounds studio album, Hard Times Never Kill.

It's a revelation.  1970s and 1980s Zimbabwean artists like Thomas Mapfumo, the Four Brothers and The Bhundu Boys were some of the first African musicians I ever heard, so hearing Gonora Sounds brings me back to some of my favorite, most memorable music of all time.  And I'll bring some of it for you this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Sunday February 13, 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): a reissued masterpiece of South African jazz by Abdullah Ibrahim; new music by Small Island Big Song, who will be performing at the University of Richmond in March; high energy Russian folk-rock; and 21st century takes on Mexican tradition.

February 7, 2022

Charts Jan 31 - Feb 6, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 LOS BITCHOS |  Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang
2 PHUONG TAM | Magical Nights: Saigon Surf, Twist & Soul 1964-1966 | Sublime Frequencies
3 OLIVER NAYOKA | Club Series Chapter One | Odogwu/Palenque
4 AYANE SHINO | Sakura | Sublime
5 BURKINA AZZA | Wari Bo | Social Joy
6 YOUSSOU N'DOUR | Mbalax | Universal Africa
7 ORCHESTRE TOUT PUISSANT MARCEL DUCHAMP | We're OK. But We're Lost Anyway | Bongo Joe
8 BOUBACAR BADIAN DIABATE | Mande Guitar: African Guitar Series, Volume 1 | Lion Songs
9 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
10 MAJID SOULA | Chant Amazigh (Habibi Funk 017) | Habibi Funk

February 3, 2022

Global A Go-Go Classico: Taj Weekes interview

Welcome to an encore edition of Global A Go-Go.  Today's program was originally broadcast on October 10, 2021 during the Richmond Folk Festival.  It features an interview with reggae singer-songwriter Taj Weekes, who was in town performing at the Festival.

I've been doing this show for almost 18 years now, and I think Taj Weekes might be the most interesting person I've ever interviewed on Global A Go-Go.  We get into some pretty heavy topics, way beyond what I'd expect from the normal artist interview.  So tune in -- I think you'll enjoy this classico episode.

Also this week (Sunday February 6, 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): an all-Latin second hour with electronica, cumbia and chicha, including several releases that would end up on my Best of 2021 lists.

February 2, 2022

Charts January 24-30, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 CHICHA POPULAR: LOVE AND SOCIAL POLITICAL SONGS FROM DISCOS HOROSCOPO 1977-1987 | various artists | Rebel Up
2 LOS BITCHOS | "Good To Go!" [Single] | City Slang
3 AFRO-ZEN ALLSTARS | The Buzz And The Bells | AZA
4 DIVANHANA | Zavrzlama | CPL
5 ANOUAR KADDOUR CHERIF | Djawla | Riverboat
6 COMBO CHIMBITA | Ire | Anti-
7 IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE | "All That You Want" [Single] | Merge
8 FACHADA | Mundos Secretos | Electric Cowbell
9 PAPE NZIENGUI | "Gho Mitsaba Na Voko" [Single] | Awesome Tapes From Africa
10 JUANITA EUKA | "Nalingi Mobali Te" [Single] | Strut

January 29, 2022

Discos Horoscopo

Chicha is the music of Peru's Great Migration -- the movement of indigenous people and other rural residents, some from the jungle and even more from the Andes, into the coastal cities starting in the 1960s.  And Discos Horoscopo (founder Juan Campos Muñoz is pictured above) recorded the soundtrack of that migration.
 
Horoscopo released hundreds of chicha records between 1977 and 1989.  The label was revived a few years ago; 38 of their titles are now available on Bandcamp, and Belgium's Rebel Up Records just issued Chicha Popular: Love & Social Political Songs From Discos Horoscopo 1977-1987.  So it's a perfect time for a tribute to Discos Horoscopo on Global A Go-Go as part of an all-Latin second hour this week.  For more background, check out this essay from Remezcla: remezcla.com/features/music/discos-horoscopo-relaunch
 
Also this week (Sunday January 30, 1:00-3:00 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): North African strings, Yugo-pop of the 20th and 21st centuries, funaná from Cabo Verde and points beyond, cumbia-adjacent rock en español and champeta's electronic sound.

January 25, 2022

Charts January 17-23, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 AFRO-ZEN ALLSTARS | The Buzz And The Bells | AZA
2 JARVIS COCKER | Chansons D'ennui Top-Top | ABKCO
3 ALGO SALVAJE VOL. 3 | various artists | Munster
4 BACAO RHYTHM AND STEEL BAND | Expansions | Big Crown
5 YOHANN LE FERRAND | Yeko [EP] | self-released
6 LPT | Se Quema El Mundo | self-released
7 LOS BITCHOS | "Good To Go!" [Single] | City Slang
8 LOS POPS | No, No, No [EP] | Munster
9 ADRIAN QUESADA | Look At My Soul: The Latin Shade Of Texas Soul | Nacional
10 LOS CHAPILLACS | Lo Bueno, Lo Malo, Lo Feo Y Los Alarcosos Chapillacs | Vampisoul

January 21, 2022

Algo salvaje

This was scheduled to be a triumphant week for Richmond's guardians of the global groove, Afro-Zen Allstars.  The release party for their second album was scheduled for January 28 and I was hoping to lure bandleader George Lowe into WRIR's Studio A to talk about the new record.
 
But the COVID gods had other plans, so both of those events will have to be postponed.  Instead, I'm going to introduce the new album to those of you who haven't heard it yet by playing three of its tracks on Global A Go-Go.
 
Also this week (Sunday January 23, 1:00-3:00 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): thinking person's salsa, three Malian songbirds, a deep dive into West Africa's authenticité era, 1970s Anatolian rock heavy on the psych and Get In The Garage, Global A Go-Go's periodic excursion into garage rock, focuses on Spain.

January 18, 2022

Charts January 10-16, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 NKUMBA SYSTEM | Bailalo Duro! | Prado
2 SONS OF KEMET | Black To The Future | Impulse!
3 ELIA Y ELIZABETH | Elia Y Elizabeth | Vampisoul
4 EL DRAGON CRIOLLO | Pase Lo Que Pase | El Palmas
5 DOWDELIN | Lanmou Lanmou | Underdog
6 OLIVER NAYOKA | Aja Wele-Wele | Odogwu/Palenque
7 EXTRA MUSICA NOUVEL HORIZON | Vision | Universal Africa
8 PAT MATSHIKIZA AND KIPPIE MOKETSI | Tshona! | We Are Busy Bodies
9 TCHISS LOPES | Ja Bo Corre D'Mim | Arabusta
10 ALOGTE OHO AND HIS SOUNDS OF JOY | "Doose Mam" [Single] | Philophon

January 15, 2022

Cacerolazo

Nkumba System is a band with members from three continents: South America (Colombia), Africa (Cameroon) and Europe (France).  And their music is as polyglot as you might suspect: cumbia and makossa, currulao and soukous and a whole lot more.
 
Their album Bailalo Duro! was my favorite new release of 2021.  (It actually came out in November of 2020, but who's counting?)   But somehow I only played three of its songs on Global A Go-Go all year.  This week we remedy the situation by spinning four in a row from Bailalo Duro!

Also this week (Sunday January 16, 1:00-3:00 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 deep dive into South African jazz, some jazzy calypso, Brazil's BaianaSystem and a bootleg mashup of Fela and Santana.

January 10, 2022

Charts Dec 13, 2021 - Jan 9, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 EDO FUNK EXPLOSION VOL 1 | various artists | Analog Africa
2 AFRO-ZEN ALLSTARS | The Buzz And The Bells | AZA
3 PHUONG TAM | Magical Nights: Saigon Surf, Twist & Soul 1964-1966 | Sublime Frequencies
4 FRANK Y SUS INQUIETOS | Frank Y Sus Inquietos | El Palmas
5 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | Dost 1 | Light In The Attic
6 MDOU MOCTAR | Afrique Victime | Matador
7 YOUSSOU N'DOUR | Mbalax | Universal Africa
8 ESSIEBONS SPECIAL 1973 - 1984: GHANA MUSIC POWER HOUSE | various artists | Analog Africa
9 BACAO RHYTHM AND STEEL BAND | Expansions | Big Crown
10 MUKAMBO PRESENTS GLOBAL AFROBEAT MOVEMENT 2 | various artists | NYP

January 8, 2022

Year of the funky

I'll be producing the next several episodes of Global A Go-Go from my home studio while I wait for the omicron wave to crest here in central Virginia and for my immune system to re-strengthen back to normal.  But have no fear, I'm feeling fine and everything else about the program will be unchanged for the duration.
 
After two weeks in a row of all oldies, the focus this week (Sunday January 9, 1:00-3:00 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 on the new: December releases that I haven't gotten to yet and new items that are coming out in January and February, with some classics sprinkled in as always.

You'll hear a track from the brand new second album by Richmond's own Afro-Zen Allstars, Afrobeat coming out of South America, deep highlife grooves from Ghana, some Arab-Andalusian jazz, the unique music of Japan's Oki, and the latest Balkan brass beats.