September 29, 2023

Joie de l'optimisme

Idrissa Soumaoro is one of the least heralded yet most valuable of Malian musicians.  He was chef d'orchestre and keyboard player for one of Mali's legendary bands, Les Ambassadeurs Du Motel De Bamako, the band that made Salif Keita famous.
When he left Les Ambassadeurs, he became an innovator in the education of the visually impaired, teaching music for 18 years at IJA, the Institute for Blind Youth, where his star pupils were a guitarist named Amadou Bagayoko and a singer named Mariam Doumbia.  You know them now as Amadou & Mariam.

Now 74 years old, Idrissa has released his first solo album in 13 years, called Diré, and it's a beauty.  You'll hear a track from it this week on Global A Go-Go, plus one from a rare, now reissued, recording of Idrissa's band at the IJA that included Amadou & Mariam.

Also this week (Sunday October 1, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards at, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): New throat singing from Mongolia's Batsükh Dorj, María Raquel revives Colombia's big band porro sound of the 50s, the unadorned Congolese guitar of Vumbi Dekula, and the latest in Afrobeat from Alpacas Collective, The Blassics and Eparapo.

September 26, 2023

Charts September 18-24, 2023

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 GENTICORUM | Au Coeur De L'Aube | self-released
2 COLOMBIAN MUSICAL POWERHOUSES VOL. 4 | various artists | Alianza de Sellos Independientes de Colombia
3 CUMBIA CUMBIA CUMBIA!!! VOL. 1 | various artists | Vampisoul
4 NEGARIT BAND | Origins | Ethiosonic/Buda Musique
5 BOMBINO | Sahel | Partisan
6 YARONY MONTERO | El Principio | 829 Mundial
7 PETE PERIGNON | 10 | self-released
8 SOEMA MONTENEGRO | "Caminante" [Single] | Mais Um
9 PAHUA | "No Hui" feat. El Individuo [Single] | Nacional
10 SOUL OF CONGO, THE: TREASURES OF THE NGOMA LABEL | various artists | Planet Ilunga

September 22, 2023

Unidade, Luta, Progresso

The little West African nation of Guiné-Bissau (about the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined, with a population of just 2 million) celebrates its 50th Independence Day on Sunday September 24.
Independence hasn't been a walk in the park: Revolutionary leader Amílcar Cabral, one of Africa's greatest anti-colonialists, was assassinated nine months before independence and since then instability has been a constant, with the most recent unsuccessful coup d'etat taking place just last year.

Nonetheless, 50 years of self-government after a century of colonial rule and two centuries of the slave trade is an achievement to be celebrated, and Global A Go-Go offers its congratulations this week with a set of some of the best music Guiné-Bissau has produced, including songs from bands who were there at the country's birth: Le Cobiana Djazz and Super Mama Djombo.

Also this week (Sunday September 24, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards at, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): New Latin folktronica by Soema Montenegro and Pahua, a set of accordion-driven Colombian cumbia, new music from Quebecois stars Genticorum who will be featured at this year's Richmond Folk Festival, Bombino's best desert blues recording yet, and the cutting-edge Ethio-jazz of Nègarit Band.

September 19, 2023

Charts September 4-17, 2023

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
2 TABACO | Tabaco | El Palmas
3 ERKIN KORAY | Mechul: Singles & Rarities | Sublime Frequencies
4 BOMBINO | Sahel | Partisan
5 THE SOUL OF CONGO: TREASURES OF THE NGOMA LABEL | various artists | Planet Ilunga
6 LOS ASES DE LA TIMBA | Mano A Mano | Envidia
7 LENGAIA SALSA BRAVA | Estetica De Un Rumbero | Lulaworld
8 LAS MEJORES CUMBIAS, VOL. 1 | various artists | Pipila
9 LALALAR | En Kotu Iyi Olur | Bongo Joe
10 MOKOOMBA | Tusona: Tracings In The Sand | Out Here

September 15, 2023

We are Turks, we sing Turkish folk songs

In July, listener and friend Ceci asked me a question about Turkish rock bands.  She had just seen Altın Gün at Thalia Hall in Chicago and loved them; she wanted to know what other bands she should listen to since she enjoyed them so much.
I too am a big fan of Altın Gün; their album Aşk is one of my favorites of 2023 so far.  So I put together a list for Ceci of my ten favorite Anatolian rock albums.  Some of them are by current artists either from Turkey or from around the world, others are from the 1970s when the Anatolian rock genre was being invented, and a couple are compilations of songs by a variety of historic Turkish artists.  This list is in no way a summary of the best, or the best known, or the most important Anatolian rock albums -- it's entirely based on my eccentric personal taste.
I liked the list so much that I thought, "This would be a great subject for an episode of Global A Go-Go."  So that's what I'm doing this week (Sunday September 17, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards at, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site).
Those top ten Anatolian rock albums will make up the first hour and a half of the program.  After that you'll hear my favorite new Turkish rock releases from Lalalar, Gaye Su Akyol and the aforementioned Altın Gün.  And we'll finish with a tribute to Erkin Koray, one of the founders of Anatolian rock, who passed away in August.

September 8, 2023

Mis amigos del rock

The four members of The Guapos are all major figures in the rock en español world: Adán Jodorowsky leads the band Adanowsky when he isn't directing or acting in films; Jay de la Cueva was featured in Molotov and Titán before starting Moderatto and is also in Mexrrissey, the deadpan Mexican all-Morrissey cover band; El David Aguilar is a solo singer-songwriter; and Leiva (José Miguel Conejo Torres) co-founded the Spanish band Pereza.
The Guapos (not Los Guapos, which seems like an important distinction) is a busman's holiday for the four of them, where they write and play all original material in the manner of early rock 'n' roll.  Think the Beatles at the Cavern Club, or Jerry Lee Lewis, or garage rock circa 1965 -- sounds like fun for them and it's definitely fun for the listener.  Find out for yourself this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Sunday September 10, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards at, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): Some dubby and jazzy reggae, 1970s salsa dura from four countries, new Afropop by Kavita Shah and Idrissa Soumaoro, Johan Hugo's very best African productions, and Swahili and Lingala rumba from Kenya.

September 5, 2023

Charts Aug 28 - Sep 3, 2023

WRIR World's NACC Top 10
1 JANTRA | Synthesized Sudan: Astro-Nubian Electronic Jaglara Sounds From The Fashaga Underground | Ostinato
3 LALALAR | En Kotu Iyi Olur | Bongo Joe
4 IDRISSA SOUMAORO | "Sababou" [Single] | Mieruba
5 SINTAYEHU BELAY | Tsedey [EP] | Muzikawi
6 ETHIOCOLOR | Ethiocolor | Muzikawi
7 CONJUNTO GUANTANAMO | "Loma De Belen" [Single] | Nganga
8 ETRAN DE L'AIR | Live In Seattle [EP] | Sahel Sounds
9 YORUBA SINGERS | Ojinga's Own | Soundway
10 LUAMBO MAKIADI FRANCO | OK Jazz 66 Ans | Air Monde Culture

September 1, 2023

Can you feel my love buzz?

Gaye Su Akyol, the Patti Smith of Turkey, launches her first tour of the USA this month, including a stop on September 12 at Jammin Java, a coffee shop and listening room in a Vienna VA strip shopping center, right between a mattress store and a Walgreens.  It seems like an ideal venue for Akyol's surreal Anatolian rock -- this is, after all, the woman who titled her 2018 album Consistent Fantasy Is Reality.
Unfortunately I can't be there for what should be a mind-blowing presentation.  But if you're considering a road trip (and you should), give a listen to Akyol's new single this week on Global A Go-Go.  It's a cover of Nirvana (and Shocking Blue too), in English and Turkish, released by Nirvana's old label Sub Pop.

Also this week (Sunday September 3, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards at, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): Ethiopia's contemporary Azmari bards, more East African sounds from Somaliland and Sudan, Niger's Etran De L'Aïr caught live, Cuban son montuno, and a Colombian champeta dance party.