September 30, 2022

The creator has a master plan

Pharoah Sanders, the American saxophonist who passed away on September 24 at age 81, was perhaps the most spiritual, ecstatic musician that jazz has ever produced.  Not surprisingly, musical traditions from around the world were essential elements of his body of work.  On this week's edition of Global A Go-Go, we pay tribute to Pharoah by playing three of his recordings that reflect his interest in global music: Indian, Moroccan and West African.
 
Also this week (Sunday October 2, 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 tribute to the amazing music of the République de Guinée (aka Guinée Conakry) on the occasion of that nation's 65th Independence Day featuring Bembeya Jazz National, Kaloum Star and more; and a deep dive into the music of two artists who will be performing at this year's Richmond Folk Festival: Mauritania's Noura Mint Seymali and Son Rompe Pera from Mexico.

September 28, 2022

Charts September 19-25, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 LEE SCRATCH PERRY | King Scratch: Musical Masterpieces From The Upsetter Ark-ive | Trojan
2 WGANDA KENYA | Africa 5000 | Vampisoul
3 VIEUX FARKA TOURE AND KHRUANGBIN | Ali | Dead Oceans
4 AL-QASAR | Who Are We? | Glitterbeat
5 ROBERTO LOPEZ | Ritual [EP] | Curura
6 WESLI | Tradisyon | Cumbancha
7 ALHAJI WAZIRI OSHOMAH | World Spirituality Classics 3: The Muslim Highlife Of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah | Luaka Bop
8 14 MAGNIFICOS BAILABLES | various artists | Vampisoul
9 GYEDU-BLAY AMBOLLEY | "Yekor Ye A Yeaba" [Single] | Agogo
10 TIMPANA | "Pajaro" [Single] | Sounds & Colours

September 23, 2022

King Scratch

Jamaican popular music has long been a producer's medium, and no Jamaican producer has ever been more prolific, confounding or just plain unique than Lee "Scratch" Perry.  Perry's oeuvre runs the gamut from unlistenable to transcendent (often from the same session), and his output was so vast that it's hard for the uninitiated to get a handle on it.
 
The folks at Trojan and Sanctuary Records have done all of us the great favor of putting together what is for the moment the definitive Lee "Scratch" Perry beginner's compilation.  Entitled King Scratch (Musical Masterpieces From The Upsetter Ark-ive), its short version includes 40 mostly essential tracks, and its long version expands to a box of 4 LPs, 4 more CDs and a 50 page book.  I'll play you a few tracks from the short version this week, and add a couple more that I assume they just weren't able to license.

Also this week (Sunday September 25, 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): Nigerian highlife's Etsako Super Star, new music from the James Brown of Ghana, Al-Qasar's Arabian fuzz, songs Bio Ritmo has covered and hot new Haitian mizik rasin by Wesli.

September 20, 2022

Charts September 12-18, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 BABA COMMANDANT AND THE MANDINGO BAND | Sonbonbela | Sublime Frequencies
2 DOGO DU TOGO | Dogo Du Togo | self-released
3 DEERHOOF | "My Lovely Cat!" [Single] | Joyful Noise
4 BOMBA ESTEREO AND MANU CHAO | "Me Duele" [Single] | Sony Latin
5 LORRAINE KLAASEN AND MONGEZI NTAKA | Ukubonga (Gratitude) | Justin Time
6 SHOTNEZ | "Contagious" [Single] | Batov
7 AYAHUASCA VOL. 2: CUMBIAS PSICODELICAS PERUANAS | various artists | Repsychled
8 MOVERS, THE | The Movers Vol. 1 - 1970-1976 | Analog Africa
9 SUPER DJATA BAND DE BAMAKO | Authentique 80 | Numero Group
10 OMAR PENE AND SUPER DIAMONO | Direct From Dakar | Real World

September 17, 2022

Afrobeat groove in our Mandingo tongue

There's a lot of competition for this title, but I think Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band is my favorite African ensemble right now.  They're based in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, and as bandleader Mamadou (Baba Commandant) Sanou says, "we have chosen to make Afrobeat groove in our Mandingo tongue."
 
Baba plays donso ngoni, the hunter's harp, an instrument that until recently was only used for ceremonial music.  In combining traditional music and instruments with the modern, they're in alignment with the Authenticité movement of post-colonial Africa.  But they sound like 2022, not 1972: always aggressive, sometimes dissonant, they're like West African post-rock.

This week (Sunday September 18, 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 a track from Baba Commandant's brand new album Sonbonbela alongside a new reissue from one of the bands that inspire them, the Super Djata Band.  Also this week: Bomba Estéreo meets Manu Chao, outstanding new Afropop from DC's Dogo Du Togo, a deep dive into South African township music, mbalax thunder and Middle Eastern Afrofunk.

September 13, 2022

Charts September 5-11, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 DOGO DU TOGO | Dogo Du Togo | self-released
2 SON PALENQUE (KAINE SOUND BAND) | Es La Idea | Palenque
3 ORCHESTRE SOMO SOMO | "Molengo b/w Menga" [Single] | LAA
4 TIMPANA | "Pajaro" [Single] | Sounds & Colours
5 VIEUX FARKA TOURE AND KHRUANGBIN | "Tonga Barra" [Single] | Dead Oceans / Night Time Stories
6 LEE SCRATCH PERRY | King Scratch: Musical Masterpieces From The Upsetter Ark-ive | Trojan
7 VIEUX FARKA TOURE | Les Racines | World Circuit
8 AFRODELIC | Dusunkun Hakili | self-released
9 DEATH BY DUB | Abundance | Color Red
10 KOKOROKO | Could We Be More | Brownswood

September 9, 2022

Rally round the red, gold, black & green

Living legends of reggae music Steel Pulse play the National in Richmond on Friday September 16.  Founded in Birmingham, England, they were one of the first British reggae bands to break out in the late 1970s, with a political message that naturally allied them with punk and new wave acts like the Clash, the Police and XTC, among other bands they've shared bills with.
 
Recordings like Handsworth Revolution and True Democracy are in the reggae pantheon, and ongoing touring (which never stopped even when they didn't have a new album) and their first new release in 15 years, 2019's Mass Manipulation, shows they still have it.  You'll hear two Steel Pulse tracks that bookend their career on Global A Go-Go this week, and I'll give away a pair of tickets for the National show as well.

Also this week (Sunday September 11, 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): Noori & His Dorpa Band stretch out, Vieux & Khru channel Ali Farka Toure, two generations of Malian songbirds, Andean-Amazonian futurism from Bolivia by Timpana, and champeta classics from the 70s and 80s.

September 8, 2022

Charts Aug 29 - Sep 4, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 AYAHUASCA VOL. 2: CUMBIAS PSICODELICAS PERUANAS | various artists | Repsychled
2 LOS PAO PAOS | Los Pao Paos | Devil In The Woods
3 BALIMAYA PROJECT | "Season Of Baraka" [Single] | Jazz Re:freshed
4 SUPER DJATA BAND DE BAMAKO | Authentique 80 | Numero Group
5 SONIDO GALLO NEGRO | Paganismo | T-Vox
6 JOAO SELVA | Se Acabou [EP] | Underdog
7 PEDRO LIMA | Recordar E Viver: Antogolia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
8 BKO | Djine Bora | Bongo Joe
9 SAM REDMORE | Universal Vibrations | Jalapeno
10 SESSA | Estrela Acesa | Mexican Summer

September 1, 2022

Se acabou

Autumn is election season here in the USA.  And it's really election season right now in Brazil, where Jair (Bozo) Bolsonaro, "the Trump of the tropics," is running in October for a second term as president against Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known to all simply as Lula), who was jailed after a 2018 show trial that prevented him from running against Bolsonaro.  No doubt about it -- it's a grudge match.
 
Singer João Selva has chosen his side: he released an EP in July called Se Acabou ("It's Over") that's more like a pamphlet aimed at Bozo.  You'll hear the title track this week on Global A Go-Go, which will lead us into a whole set of Brazilian carnival sounds.

Also this week (Sunday September 4, 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): Latin psych and garage, spoken word Afrobeat, stinging Wassoulou rock from Mali, a larger-than-life new single by Balimaya Project, and danceable sounds from Lusophone Africa.

August 30, 2022

Charts August 22-28, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top 10
1 VIEUX FARKA TOURE | Les Racines | World Circuit
2 CELESTINE UKWU | No Condition Is Permanent | Mississippi
3 LEE SCRATCH PERRY | King Scratch: Musical Masterpieces From The Upsetter Ark-ive | Trojan
4 SONIDO GALLO NEGRO | Paganismo | T-Vox
5 SUPER DJATA BAND DE BAMAKO | Authentique 80 | Numero Group
6 MOVERS, THE | Vol. 1: 1970-1976 | Analog Africa
7 GNAWA MUSIC OF MARRAKESH | Night Spirit Masters | Zehra
8 CROSSROADS KENYA: EAST AFRICAN BENGA AND RUMBA, 1980-1985 | various artists | No Wahala Sounds
9 SABABA 5 AND SHIRAN TZFIRA | Rali [EP] | Batov
10 ROBERTO LOPEZ | "Solo Tu Vibra" [Single] | Curura

August 26, 2022

Summer singles roundup

Well, I deserve a D for attendance this summer.  First there was the Chicago weekend, then the two-week European vacation.  Subtract another week for traveler's disease and two more for COVID, and I've been absent from the airwaves as often as I've been present since June.  Then factor in the two special programs (Madagascar independence day in June, Joe Strummer's birthday last week) and it's a wonder I've played any new releases at all this summer.
 
I'll remedy the latter situation this week (Sunday August 28, 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 spinning nothing but new material and new reissues, no track released before May, only one track from an album I've played anything at all from in past shows.
 
And most of what I'll play will be singles, either stand-alones or pre-issues from albums coming out in the fall.  Seems appropriate -- I've always thought 45s were the premiere summer format.  Tune in and mark the unofficial end of summer with Global A Go-Go's Summer Singles Roundup.

August 23, 2022

Charts August 15-21, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 NOORI AND HIS DORPA BAND | Beja Power! Electric Soul & Brass From Sudan's Red Sea Coast | Ostinato
2 ROMAN STEWART | "Never Too Young To Learn" [Single] | Pantomine
3 MONTE AND DINASTIA TORRES | El Duende | Palenque
4 AKAE BEKA | Ride Tru | Before Zero
5 HOLLIE COOK | Happy Hour | Merge
6 CLINTON FEARON | Breaking News | Baco
7 CAREY JAMES, THE | Self Fulfillment | Morelove
8 TIKEN JAH FAKOLY | "I Can Hear" feat. Winston McAnuff [Single] | Chapter Two/Wagram
9 KABAKA PYRAMID AND DAMIAN MARLEY | "Red, Gold & Green" [Single] | Ghetto Youths International/Bebble Rock
10 BARRINGTON LEVY | "Black Heart Man" [Single] | Jah Guidance

August 18, 2022

The future is unwritten

John Graham Mellor was born in Ankara, Turkey on August 21, 1952.  Who's that, you say?  Well, you might know him better by his stage name: Joe Strummer.
 
Strummer was, of course, the co-founder, front man and principal lyricist for the Clash, a band that, when I was younger, some people called "the only band that matters."  After the Clash disbanded in 1986, he spent the next 13 years being whatever the opposite of a rock star is: he worked on projects that appealed to him as a musician, songwriter, producer and actor, but mostly stayed out of the limelight until he founded the second great rock band of his career, the Mescaleros.

One of those projects was an radio show that Joe occasionally hosted for the BBC World Service called London Calling, where he got to explore all of the wide variety of music that inspired him: early rock 'n' roll, reggae, blues and jazz, music from Africa and Latin America, anything that pushed his buttons.

Joe and London Calling are among the primary inspirations for this radio program (which is named after one of the Mescaleros' songs; that song has kicked off this program every week for 18 years).  So it's only appropriate that Global A Go-Go celebrates Joe Strummer's 70th birthday today (Sunday August 21, 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 a 2-hour tribute.
 
P.S.  You can listen to all 7 hours of Joe Strummer's London Calling BBC radio shows here: exchange.prx.org/series/27024-joe-strummer-s-london-calling
 
And here's a Spotify playlist that includes almost all the songs that Joe played on that radio show: open.spotify.com/playlist/0PWMzSdWNHNOESR912xQmg?go=1&sp_cid=33ef6cb3fc38155b67d61a8333e5df54 

One more thing -- a complete tracklisting for each episode of Joe Strummer's London Calling:  rateyourmusic.com/list/Zed/joe_strummers_london_calling_from_bbc_world_service

August 15, 2022

Charts August 8-14, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 STAR FEMININE BAND | "Le Mariage Forcé" [Single] | Born Bad
2 CUMBIAMUFFIN | Cumbiamuffin | Peace & Rhythm / Hyperopia / Sounds & Colours
3 RAY PEREZ Y EL GRUPO CASABE | "Lamento Del Campesino" [Single] | El Palmas
4 LOS CALVOS | Estos Son Los Calvos | El Palmas
5 PEDRO LIMA | Recordar E Viver: Antogolia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
6 BKO | Djine Bora | Bongo Joe
7 LUCIBELA | Amdjer | Lusafrica
8 JESUS PAGAN Y SU ORQUESTA | Salsa De La Mata 'From The Roots' | Peace & Rhythm
9 ORQUESTA LA JUSTICIA | Salsa Con Nostalgia | Numero Group
10 FERRE GOLA | Dynastie | Sony East Africa

August 10, 2022

Charts Jul 25 - Aug 7, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten, July 25-31
1 CUMBIAMUFFIN |  Cumbiamuffin | Peace & Rhythm/Hyperopia/Sounds & Colours
2 SHAOLIN AFRONAUTS, THE | "Broken Flowers" b/w "Sun Spiral" [Single] | Freestyle
3 LUCHO BERMUDEZ | The Coastal Invasion: Cumbia, Porro, Gaita And Mapalé From Colombia's Caribbean Coast (1946-1961) | Radio Martiko
4 JOAO SELVA | Se Acabou [EP] | Underdog
5 PEDRO LIMA | Recordar E Viver: Antogolia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
6 EZRA COLLECTIVE | "Victory Dance" [Single] | Partisan
7 LUCIANA DEMINGONGO AND DESOUZA SANTU MONGONGO ELENGI | Let's Go! | Une Plume Une Voix Une Guitare
8 PAHUA AND TERROR/CACTUS | Amuleto | Nacional
9 IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE | Electricity | Merge
10 S.E. ROGIE | Dead Men Don't Smoke Marijuana | Real World
 
 
WRIR World's NACC Top Ten, August 1-7
1 VIEUX FARKA TOURE AND KHRUANGBIN | "Savanne" [Single] | Dead Oceans
2 PEDRO LIMA | Recordar E Viver: Antogolia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
3 MADE KUTI | "No More Wars" [Single] | Partisan
4 OMAR PENE AND SUPER DIAMONO | Direct From Dakar | Real World
5 FERRE GOLA | Dynastie | Sony East Africa
6 SON ROMPE PERA AND GIL GUTIERREZ | "El Saleroso" b/w "Proteus" [Single] | Barbes
7 LOS CALVOS | Estos Son Los Calvos | El Palmas
8 BORGA REVOLUTION!: GHANAIAN DANCE MUSIC IN THE DIGITAL AGE, 1983-1992 (VOLUME 1) | various artists | Kalita
9 LEYLA MCCALLA | Breaking The Thermometer | Anti-
10 GWENNO | Tresor | Heavenly/PIAS

August 6, 2022

Global A Go-Go Classico: Top reissues & compilations of 2014

Well, the COVID finally caught up with me this week.  Seems to be a mild case so far, but I certainly couldn't come into the studio and I really didn't have the energy to put together a whole new program.  So I've dug into the Global A Go-Go archives and found you a gem of a show from all the way back on December 19, 2014, back in the days when I was on the air on Friday evening.
 
This edition (Sunday August 7, 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) pulls together tracks from my favorite reissues, compilations and historic recordings that came out in the year 2014.  The music spans 19 different countries, with songs originally recorded in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90, oughts and right through the 20-teens.  Each selection has stood the test of time, both before 2014 and subsequently.  I think you're going to enjoy this program.
 
I'll be out again next week on August 14; WRIR super-sub Sean Kennedy, who definitely deserves his own show, will be sitting in for me then.  And I have something very special planned for you when I return on August 21.  I'll see you then!

July 29, 2022

What I did on my summer vacation

I'm psyched to be back in the studio for the first time since early July, after a big vacation followed by a brief but annoying case of traveler's disease.  Big ups to Albert Green, Enzo Adimari and Josh Bearman for holding down Global A Go-Go in my absence.
 
One of the things I did on my summer vacation was see two great concerts in Paris: Fat Freddy's Drop at the legendary L'Olympia and Goran Bregović's Wedding & Funeral Band at Cabaret Sauvage.  I'll regale you with stories of the shows and music by both bands.  Sunday night brings The Budos Band and Brazilian samba-soul star Rogê to Richmond's Broadberry, and you'll hear both of them as well on this week's show.

Also this week (Sunday July 31, 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): João Selva sings "get out Bolsonaro," Cumbiamuffin revives the sound of Colombian big band porro cumbia, and a new compilation of Pedro Lima's music brings the puxa fire from São Tomé.

July 27, 2022

Charts Jun 27 - Jul 24, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 NOORI AND HIS DORPA BAND | Beja Power! Electric Soul & Brass From Sudan's Red Sea Coast | Ostinato
2 LOS BITCHOS | Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang
3 HOLLIE COOK | Happy Hour | Merge
4 DELGRES | "Mwen Vlé Maché" [Single] | Le Label/PIAS
5 AFRODELIC | Dusunkun Hakili | self-released
6 SHAOLIN AFRONAUTS, THE | "The Simien Fox b/w Rumba Cyclique" [Single] | Freestyle
7 SALTPOND CITY BAND | Boko A Ko | Meet Me There
8 IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE | Electricity | Merge
9 AFRIGO BAND | Ensi Eno | Olila
10 OLIVER NAYOKA | Oka Mmadu | Odogwu/Palenque

July 1, 2022

Dead men don't smoke marijuana

I'm leaving for a summer vacation later this week, will be back to Global A Go-Go on July 24.  In my absence, you'll enjoy two of my favorite WRIR selectors: Albert Green returns on July 10, and Enzo of Pop Goes The World takes the chair on July 17.  Before I hit the road, I wanted to make sure you get to hear some of the new releases I've been digging lately while they're still new.
 
So this week (Sunday July 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) tune in for Delgres' Caribbean creole; Son Rompe Pera, the band everyone will be talking about at this fall's Richmond Folk Festival; highlife from Oliver Nayoka and Saltpond City Band; a reissue of S.E. Rogie (pictured above), the king of palm wine; Shaolin Afronauts' spiritual jazz; Afrodelic from Mali via Lithuania; and of course much more.

June 28, 2022

Charts June 20-26, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 SOOTHSAYERS | "Last Days" [Single] | Red Earth
2 NOORI AND HIS DORPA BAND | Beja Power! Electric Soul & Brass From Sudan's Red Sea Coast | Ostinato
3 TIKEN JAH FAKOLY | "Ou Est-Ce Que Tu Vas?" [Single] | Chapter Two/Wagram
4 LOS CALVOS | Estos Son Los Calvos | El Palmas
5 DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK | "Bal" [Single] | Bongo Joe/Catapulte
6 PEDRO LIMA | Recordar E Vivir: Antogolia Vol. 1 | Bongo Joe
7 BKO | Djine Bora | Bongo Joe
8 MADALISTO BAND | Musakayike | Bongo Joe
9 SOMI | Zenzile: The Reimagination Of Miriam Makeba | Salon Africana
10 SATELLITES | Satellites | Batov

June 24, 2022

A world out of time

June 26 is Independence Day in Madagascar, the world's second largest island nation (surpassed only by Indonesia) and one of its greatest biodiversity hot spots.  It's also a hot spot for indigenous music, with influences flowing in from East, Central and Southern Africa, Oceania, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Arab world, France and of course the USA.
 
But Malagasy music sounds like nothing else in the world.  Hear for yourself this week (Sunday June 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) when I'll play an hour of music from Madagascar.  Also this week: new reggae from Soothsayers and Tiken Jah Fakoly, some Anatolian psych-rock and sounds of Sudan.

June 22, 2022

Charts June 13-19, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 EZRA COLLECTIVE | "Victory Dance" [Single] | Partisan
2 LOS BITCHOS | Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang
3 VIEUX FARKA TOURE | Les Racines | World Circuit
4 ORIENTAL BROTHERS INTERNATIONAL BAND | Oku Ngwo - Di Ochi | Palenque
5 SHAOLIN AFRONAUTS, THE | "The Simien Fox b/w Rumba Cyclique" [Single] | Freestyle
6 NOORI AND HIS DORPA BAND | Beja Power! Electric Soul and Brass from Sudan's Red Sea Coast | Ostinato
7 JESUS PAGAN Y SU ORQUESTA | Salsa De La Mata 'From The Roots' | Peace & Rhythm
8 DA CRUZ | "Serpentes" Feat Magogo [Single] | Horus
9 BORGA REVOLUTION!: GHANAIAN DANCE MUSIC IN THE DIGITAL AGE, 1983-1992 (VOLUME 1) | various artists | Kalita
10 MOKTAR GANIA AND GNAWA SOUL | Masterisé | Musjomusic/Nuits d'Afrique

June 15, 2022

Charts June 6-12, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 LUCIBELA | Amdjer | Lusafrica
2 IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE | Electricity | Merge
3 AFRODELIC | Dusunkun Hakili | self-released
4 ORIENTAL BROTHERS INTERNATIONAL BAND | Oku Ngwo - Di Ochi | Palenque
5 BKO | Djine Bora | Bongo Joe
6 JESUS PAGAN Y SU ORQUESTA | Salsa De La Mata 'From The Roots' | Peace & Rhythm
7 SALTPOND CITY BAND | Boko A Ko | Meet Me There
8 DA CRUZ | "Serpentes feat. Magugu" [Single] | Horus
9 LEYLA MCCALLA | Breaking The Thermometer | Anti-
10 BRASIL NOVO | various artists | Musica Macondo

June 10, 2022

En super forme

I wouldn't say that I'm personally en super forme this week -- more like just managing to get by.  But the music on this week's program certainly is en super forme.  And especially this reissue of a 1982 album by one of Africa's greatest and most underappreciated bands, Super Djata of Mali.  You'll hear a track from them, and one from a current Malian band who are definitely influenced by them: BKO.
 
Also this week (Sunday June 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): a continuation of the Congolese jams that ended last week's show, Afro-rap that most certainly isn't Afrobeats, the barefoot diva and her heirs, and an assortment of new and old salsa.

June 8, 2022

Charts May 30 - Jun 5, 2022

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 EBIRAC ALL STARS | various artists | Numero Group
2 LUCIANA DEMINGONGO AND DESOUZA SANTU MONGONGO ELENGI | Let's Go! | Une Plume Une Voix Une Guitare
3 SALTPOND CITY BAND | Boko A Ko | Meet Me There
4 FANFARE CIOCARLIA | "First Aid Klezmer (Dunkelbunt remix)" [Single] | Asphalt Tango
5 NOORI AND HIS DORPA BAND | "Saagama" [Single] | Ostinato
6 LINDA AYUPUKA | "Annebooy" [Single] | Mais Um
7 CAPTAIN PLANET | "Moqueca" [Single] | Bastard Jazz
8 MARCO FLORES Y LA JEREZ | "Dos Hojas Sin Rumbo feat. Julio Preciado" [Single] | Nacional
9 SATURNO 2000 - LA REBAJADA DE LOS SONIDEROS 1962-1983 | various artists | Analog Africa
10 ORCHESTRE MASSAKO | Orchestre Massako [EP] | Analog Africa

June 3, 2022

God created everything

Linda Ayupuka is a gospel singer from Bolgatanga, the largest town in Ghana's Upper East region, right on that country's borders with Burkina Faso and Togo.  It's a hot spot for music right now with artists like King Ayisoba, Guy One and Alostmen gaining international recognition, and Ayupuka might be the next to break out.  You'll hear a song from her forthcoming album God Created Everything on this week's program, alongside other sui generis Afro-electronica from across the continent.
 
Also this week (Sunday June 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): a tribute to Jerry Gonzalez on what would have been his 73rd birthday; some trippy cumbia; brass bands from Mexico, Romania, India and the USA; smooth Brazilian samba-funk; and a little bit of soukous leading into Ambiance Congo at 3:00.

May 31, 2022

Charts May 23-29, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 IDRISSA SOUMAORO ET L'ECLIPSE DE L'IJA | Le Tioko-Tioko | Mr Bongo
2 ALHAJI K. FRIMPONG | Abrabo | Hot Casa
3 ALPACAS COLLECTIVE | Seven Wisdoms Of Plutonia | Catalpas
4 MOKTAR GANIA AND GNAWA SOUL | Masterisé | Musjomusic/Nuits d'Afrique
5 NOORI AND HIS DORPA BAND | "Al Amal" [Single] | Ostinato
6 SOMI | Zenzile: The Reimagination Of Miriam Makeba | Salon Africana
7 CALEXICO | El Mirador | Anti-
8 KANDY GUIRA | Nagtaba | Vlad Production
9 FATOUMATA DIAWARA | Maliba | 3eme Bureau/Wagram
10 BONGO HOP, THE | La Napa [EP] | Underdog

May 26, 2022

Le couple aveugle du Mali

Early in their career as a duo, Amadou & Mariam were billed as le couple aveugle du Mali, the blind couple from Mali.  But they were in a band together before that: L'Eclipse, the student ensemble of Le Institut Des Jeunes Aveugles, the school for blind youth in Bamako.
 
L'Eclipse, under the direction of Idrissa Soumaoro, keyboard player for Salif Keita's Les Ambassadeurs (who would later recruit Amadou into that combo), made a terrific recording in 1978 that foreshadowed the now recognizable Amadou & Mariam sound.  The album has just been reissued, and you'll hear a track from it this week on Global A Go-Go.

It's an all-African program this week (Sunday May 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), featuring new music from eastern Sudan by Noori & His Dorpa Band, Ethio jazz via Belgium by Alpacas Collective, Moktar Gania's Moroccan gnawa soul, West African divas Fatoumata Diawara and Kandy Guira, plus much more music.

May 24, 2022

Charts May 16-22, 2022

WRIR's NACC World Top Ten
1 OUMOU SANGARE | Timbuktu | World Circuit
2 LEYLA MCCALLA | Breaking The Thermometer | Anti-
3 EL COMBO BATANGA | "Aji Gua Guo" b/w "El Barrio En La Mirada" [Single] | Lovemonk
4 CALEXICO | El Mirador | Anti-
5 CALYPSO ROSE | "Watina" feat. Carlos Santana & The Garifuna Collective [Single] | Because
6 ALPACAS COLLECTIVE | Seven Wisdoms Of Plutonia | Catalpas
7 BORGA REVOLUTION!: GHANAIAN DANCE MUSIC IN THE DIGITAL AGE, 1983-1992 (VOLUME 1) | various artists | Kalita
8 PAPE NZIENGUI | Kadi Yombo | Awesome Tapes From Africa
9 LISA LEBLANC | Chiac Disco | Bonsound
10 LOS BITCHOS | Let The Festivities Begin! | City Slang

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.