April 19, 2024

Ritmo realidad

WRIR's Spring 2024 Fund Drive is now underway -- we're hard at work toward raising $45,000 by Saturday April 27th to power Richmond's community radio station for another six months.   Thank you for your previous donations to Richmond Independent Radio and for your continuing support if you're a monthly donor!  I'm writing to encourage you to make a contribution once again this spring, if you can.  Become a monthly donor by clicking this link: https://bit.ly/3QnrP5H.  Or make a one-time donation to WRIR here: https://bit.ly/3FnagN1.

April 15, 2024

Charts April 8-14, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 JEMBAA GROOVE | Ye Ankasa/We Ourselves | Agogo
2 CONGO FUNK! SOUND MADNESS FROM THE SHORES OF THE MIGHTY CONGO RIVER | various artists | Analog Africa
3 SINKANE | We Belong | City Slang
4 DELE SOSIMI AND THE ESTUARY 21 | The Confluence | Wah Wah 45s
5 PROJECT GEMINI | Colours & Light | Mr Bongo
6 FLORENCE ADOONI | "Uh-Ah Song" [Single] | Philophon
7 LIRAZ | "Haarf" [Single] | Batov
8 AUSECUMA BEATS | Dakar Bamako | Music In Exile
9 EMAHOY TSEGE MARIAM GEBRU | Souvenirs | Mississippi
10 AZIZA BRAHIM | Mawja (Wave) | Glitterbeat

April 11, 2024

O Lord, increase my bewilderment

If you saw the late, great Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band last fall at the Richmond Folk Festival or last spring at Get Tight Lounge -- Hisham Mayet made that happen.
 
Hisham produced all three of Baba's albums for Sublime Frequencies, the record label Hisham co-founded, and he was Baba's road manager for that epic American tour.  Hisham also produced the first recording of Omara Moctar aka Bombino, the Tamasheq desert blues guitarist who's now an international star.
 
Along with his audio work, Hisham Mayet is also a film maker and photographer who describes his ouevre as "folk cinema."  This year the James River Film Festival is screening two of Hisham's movies: The Divine River, a record of music, ritual, life and landscape along the Niger River in Mali and the Republic of Niger, and Oulaya's Wedding, which takes you inside the week-long wedding of the daughter of Western Sahara's most famous family band, Group Doueh.

The films will be shown at the Byrd Theatre on Saturday April 20 at 11:30 AM.  This week, one lucky Global A Go-Go listener will win a pair of tickets to the screening, and all Global A Go-Go listeners will get to hear a set of music from the two documentaries.

Also this week (Sunday April 14, 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): New Ghanaian music from Jembaa Groove and Florence Adooni, the South Bronx's fabulous Ghetto Brothers, brand new singles by Altın Gün and Liraz, more sounds of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Senegal and Mali meet Australia in Ausecuma Beats.

April 9, 2024

Charts April 1-7, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 SAHRA HALGAN | Hiddo Dhawr | Danaya
2 MERCI YAYA BONGO: LES GROUPES D'ANIMATION FEMININS DU GABON, 1982-1989 | various artists | Secousse
3 NEWEN AFROBEAT | Grietas [EP] | Lichens Family
4 CONGO FUNK! SOUND MADNESS FROM THE SHORES OF THE MIGHTY CONGO RIVER | various artists | Analog Africa
5 LA YEGROS | Haz | X-Ray
6 TOGO SOUL 2 | various artists | Hot Casa
7 DYNAMQ | "Khamsa Degiga" [Single] | River Nile
8 JOY, THE | "You Complete Me" [Single] | Transgressive
9 ORQUESTA AKOKAN | "Con Altura" b/w "TKN" [Single] | Daptone
10 OLUKO IMO | Glory Of Om | Soundway

April 5, 2024

Keep the culture

Sahra Halgan's back story is so compelling that it can be a distraction from her brilliant music.  She was a nurse on the front lines of Somalia's civil war when her own country's air force dropped bombs on her home town of Hargeisa in Somaliland, driving her and thousands of others into exile.
 
Then she was a faceless refugee in France for 24 years, working as a cleaner and a cafeteria worker, raising five children, and playing music as a side hustle.  In Lyon, Halgan connected with a couple of open-eared local musicians and this trio (now a quartet) has honed a remarkably organic sound that you could call East African post-rock: They're muscular, angular and soulful, recognizably Somalian yet unlike anything else from there or anywhere else.

Halgan's new album Hiddo Dhawr (Keep The Culture) is named for the music venue she opened in Hargeisa in 2013.  You'll hear three songs from the album, my favorite album so far in 2024, this week on Global A Go-Go.

Also this week (Sunday April 7, 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): South African a cappella, Gabonese singing in praise of maximum leader Omar Bongo, a ticket giveaway to see the twangy soul-cumbia band LA LOM at Richmond Music Hall on Tuesday night, Oluko Imo's Trini Afrobeat and new dancehall South Sudanese style from Dynamq.

April 2, 2024

Charts March 18-31, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 AFRICAN BROTHERS BAND INT. OF GHANA | Locomotive Train (Keteke): Meko Tarkwa! Meko Tarkwa!! Meko Tarkwa!!! | BBE
2 ADAMA YALOMBA | Tanou | Remote/Studio Mali
3 OMAR SOULEYMAN | Erbil | Mad Decent
4 MERCI YAYA BONGO: LES GROUPES D'ANIMATION FEMININS DU GABON, 1982-1989 | various artists | Secousse
5 AUSECUMA BEATS | Dakar Bamako | Music In Exile
6 MEKLIT | Ethio Blue [EP] | self-released
7 JEMBAA GROOVE | "Makoma" [Single] | Agogo
8 SAMI GALBI | "Rruina" [Single] | Bongo Joe
9 PAT THOMAS | "Gye Wani" [Single] | Soundway
10 AZIZA BRAHIM | Mawja (Wave) | Glitterbeat

March 29, 2024

Hold your lover tight

It's highlife time once again on Global A Go-Go.  We'll dig into more than a half-hour of the genre on this week's program, starting with a new single from Berlin's Jembaa Groove that quotes Kwame Nkrumah, the first prime minister and first president of Ghana.  You'll also hear a track from Soundway's forthcoming Ghana Special 2 compilation and one from a new reissue of the African Brothers Band led by a great friend of WRIR, the late Nana Kwame Ampadu.
 
Also this week (Sunday March 31, 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): New Sahrawi music by Aziza Brahim, some unlikely ska versions, the French Caribbean roots-rock of Delgrès and new Arabic electronic dance music by Sami Galbi and Omar Souleyman.

March 19, 2024

Charts March 11-17, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 ABDALLAH OUMBADOUGOU | Amghar: The Godfather Of Tuareg Music, Vol. 1 | Petaluma
2 BACAO RHYTHM AND STEEL BAND | BRSB | Big Crown
3 BIDAIDE | "Batua" b/w "Love Me And Give Me Up" [Single] | Matasuna
4 MARCO FLORES Y LA JEREZ | "El Botecito" [Single] | Nacional
5 MARK LEGGETT | "Road To Mali" [Single] | Earthsonix
6 BARIS MANCO | Sakla Samani Gelir Zamani | Turkishvinyl
7 CEM KARACA | Nem Kaldi? | Turkishvinyl
8 MEXICAN INSTITUTE OF SOUND | Algo-Ritmo: Mexican Institute Of Sound Hits 2004-2024 | Soy Sauce
9 ANA TIJOUX | Vida | Victoria Producciones
10 OKAVANGO AFRICAN ORCHESTRA | Migration | self-released

March 15, 2024

Introducing La Perla

La Perla is a voice-and-percussion trio from Bogotá Colombia, home of one of the most organically interesting music scenes in the world right now.  Their music is rooted in traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms like cumbia, chalupa and mapalé, but it's written and performed by 21st century women who also have their ears on punk, rap and EDM.
 
La Perla is coming to Richmond this spring: They'll be performing at the Get Tight Lounge on Saturday May 4 (I recommend putting that on your calendar right now), and earlier that afternoon they'll be playing live in WRIR's Studio C during our Cause & Effect radio program.  This week on Global A Go-Go I'm going to introduce you to La Perla's music, with two songs from their 2022 debut album Callejera and some related sounds.

Also this week (Sunday March 17, 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): Anatolian rock chestnuts from the 70s, a set of cumbia that will get you moving, guitarist Mark Leggett channels Ali Farka Touré and Baaba Maal, rockin' desert blues including the wonderful new compilation of Abdallah Oumbadougou, and the cinematic psychedelic soul of Barcelona's Bidaide.

March 12, 2024

Charts March 4-10, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 MEKLIT | Ethio Blue [EP] | self-released
2 ARY LOBO | 1958-1966 (Limited Dance Edition No. 19) | Analog Africa
3 DAYME AROCENA | Alkemi | Brownswood
4 NGWAKA SON SYSTEME | Iboto Ngenge | Eck Echo
5 FOREST LAW | "Ooo, I" [Single] | Bongo Joe/Total Refreshment Centre
6 KOKOKO | "Mokili" [Single] | Transgressive
7 FRANCO LUAMBI MAKIADI | Presents Les Editions Populaires | Planet Ilunga
8 AZIZA BRAHIM | Mawja | Glitterbeat
9 LES AMAZONES D'AFRIQUE | Musow Danse | Real World
10 CONJUNTO GUANTANAMO | "Guitarra, Tabaco Y Ron" [Single] | Nganga

March 7, 2024

Music for maids & taxi drivers

Forró is the country music of Brazil's northeast region; it's been called "music for maids and taxi drivers."  It's classically played in the trio format: Sanfona (diatonic button accordion), zabumba (bass drum) and triangle (yeah, triangle).  If this reminds you of a Louisiana Cajun or zydeco band -- yes, the styles of music are closely related.  To urbanize your forró, maybe add a horn or two.

This week on Global A Go-Go (Sunday March 10, 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) you'll hear a whole set of forró, including a couple of tracks from the terrific recent Analog Africa compilation of the recordings of Ary Lobo.

Also this week: Currulao from Colombia's Pacific coast including the debut recording of De Mar Y Rio, new Cuban son montuno from Conjunto Guantánamo, the Brazilian psychedelic groove of London's Forest Law, and new Afro-dance music from Kokoko! and Ngwaka Son Système from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

March 5, 2024

Charts Feb 19 - Mar 3, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 TIKEN JAH FAKOLY | Acoustic | Chapter Two
2 LONDON AFROBEAT COLLECTIVE | Esengo | Canopy
3 BLACK TRUTH RHYTHM BAND | Ifetayo | Soundway
4 ABDALLAH OUMBADOUGOU | Amghar: The Godfather Of Tuareg Music, Vol. 1 | Petaluma
5 SHAZALKAZOO | Chorba | Asphalt Tango
6 DELGRES | Promis Le Ciel | Discograph
7 AKAE BEKA | Living Testament | Before Zero/Trinity Farm
8 SORCERERS, THE | I Too Am A Stranger | ATA
9 FRANCK BIYONG | "Oladipo (feat. Chief Udoh Essiet & Tony Allen)" [Single] | Afrolectric
10 MARCO FLORES Y LA JEREZ | "Mi Jerez" [Single] | Nacional

March 1, 2024

Fakoly koumba, Fakoly daaba

The new releases are coming fast and furious in the first quarter of 2024, and I've been out of the office a lot so far this year for travel.  So it's time to catch you (and me) up on some of the best new music of the young year.
 
This week on Global A Go-Go (Sunday March 3, 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), it's nothing but new releases: I've got reggae, Caribbean and Latin groovers, international brass bands, Mande music from West Africa (including two songs from Tiken Jah Fakoly's new unplugged album Acoustic), new sounds from East and North Africa, and Afrobeat lined up for your listening pleasure.

February 19, 2024

Charts February 12-18, 2024


WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 AFRIKA MUYE MUYE! TANZANIAN RUMBA AND MUZIKI WA DANSI 1968-1970 | various artists | Recordiana
2 OTAVA YO | Loud And Clear | ARC
3 NATHALIE JOACHIM | Ki Moun Ou Ye | Nonesuch
4 FRANCK BIYONG | "Oladipo" (feat. Chief Udoh Essiet & Tony Allen) [Single] | Afrolectric
5 NEWEN AFROBEAT | "Es La Vida" [Single] | Lichens Family
6 MAMA SISSOKO | Live | Mieruba
7 WAGADU GROOVES: THE HYPNOTIC SOUND OF CAMARA 1987-2016 | various artists | Hot Mule
8 ORGONE | Chimera | 3 Palm
9 DIEUF-DIEUL DE THIES | Dieuf-Dieul De Thies | Buda
10 SUPER BITON DE SEGOU | Afro Jazz Folk Collection Vol. 2 | Mieruba

February 16, 2024

Platinum anniversary

Believe it or not, this week marks the 20th anniversary of the first episode of Global A Go-Go.  This radio show started on February 23, 2004 on WRIR's webstream, almost a year before we began broadcasting on 97.3 FM, and it's the longest running program on our station.
 
I wish I had a recording of that first show, but I first started archiving Global A Go-Go about six months later: radio4all.net/series/Global%20A%20Go-Go?page=30
 
I do have a copy of the first tracklist, though.  We couldn't add our playlists on the WRIR website yet, so the DJs were instructed to post them on LiveJournal (remember them, the Russian-owned competitor to Facebook?).  Somehow my account is still up there: global-a-go-go.livejournal.com/?skip=35
 
To mark the anniversary, I've gone back to that tracklist and selected a few songs to play once again.  Fortunately they're still good!  Of course, I have some new stuff for you as well (Franck Biyong from Cameroon, Chile's Newen Afrobeat and Russian folk-rockers Otava Yo), plus a listener request for Hugh Masekela.

And I'm giving away a pair of tickets to see a band that I played quite a bit back in 2004: the great Celtic punk band Flogging Molly, who will be at the National on Wednesday February 21.  So tune in, enjoy the reminiscences, and win tickets!

February 14, 2024

Charts February 5-11, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 LAGOS THUGS | Chaos | Immensum
2 MAMA SISSOKO | Live | Mieruba
3 WAGADU GROOVES: THE HYPNOTIC SOUND OF CAMARA 1987-2016 | various artists | Hot Mule
4 SAHRA HALGAN | "Sharaf" [Single] | Danaya
5 JEMBAA GROOVE | "Dabia" [Single] | Agogo
6 GHETTO BROTHERS | Power-Fuerza | Vampisoul
7 EXTRA MUSICA NOUVEL HORIZON | Conduite A Tenir | Universal Africa
8 AFCON 2023 | various artists [EP] | CAF
9 AZUKA MOWETA AND HIS ANIOMA BROTHERS BAND | Nwanne Bu Ife | Odogwu Entertainment/Palenque
10 DIEPKLOOF UNITED VOICES | Harmonizing Soweto: Golden City Gospel & Kasi Soul | Ostinato

February 9, 2024

Let it be known

An internet image search for "Lagos thugs" will bring up dozens of press photos of young Nigerian men carrying improvised weapons in the streets of West Africa's largest city, above stories decrying their uncivilized behavior.  No matter whether they're looting or protesting police violence, it seems like they're all called Lagos thugs.
 
A young Afrobeat ensemble has co-opted this dismissive pejorative for their band name.  It's their way of tweaking the powers that be: The real thugs in business suits and uniforms, Nigeria's ruling elite who in the last six decades have managed to turn their country into Africa's wealthiest failed state.
 
On their debut album, Chaos, Lagos Thugs are made as hell and they're not going to take it anymore, just like their forefather Fela Kuti.  You'll hear both the Thugs and Fela this week on an all-African episode of Global A Go-Go (Sunday February 11, 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), along with new music from Sahra Halgan (Somaliland), Jembaa Groove (Ghana via Germany), Mama Sissoko (Mali) and much more.

February 6, 2024

Charts Jan 22 - Feb 4, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 WAGADU GROOVES: THE HYPNOTIC SOUND OF CAMARA 1987-2016 | various artists | Hot Mule
2 LONDON AFROBEAT COLLECTIVE | "Freedom" [Single] | Canopy
3 MAMA SISSOKO | Live | Mieruba
4 IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE | "Got To Be Who U Are" [Single] | Merge
5 LAGOS THUGS | Chaos | self-released
6 CHERRY BANDORA | Back To The Taverna | Rebel Up/Rumi Sounds
7 ANA TIJOUX | Vida | Victoria Producciones
8 GHETTO BROTHERS | Power - Fuerza | Vampisoul
9 MOHAMED ERREBBAA AND TAGNA GROOVE | Hali | self-released
10 TP ORCHESTRE POLY-RYTHMO | Le Sato 2 | Albarika Store

February 3, 2024

Orgasmatron

Richmond loves throat singing.  I know this to be true because there's usually a throat singing band at the Folk Festival, and they're always the band everybody is talking about during and after the Festival.
 
Well, throat singers aren't just for the Folk Festival.  The Alash Ensemble (Richmond Folk Festival class of 2013), from the Republic of Tuva in Russia, will be back here on Monday February 12 performing live at In Your Ear Studios (more info here: jaminc.org/the-other-worldly-sounds-of-alash-the-tuvan-throat-singers).  You'll hear Alash's music this week on Global A Go-Go along with some other like-minded polyphonic singers.  And one of you will win a pair of tickets to the Alash show that I'll be giving away during this week's program.
 
(What's throat singing, you might be asking?  It's the production of two or more notes in a single vocalization.  Probably the part of the world that's most famous for its throat singing tradition is northeast Asia, specifically Mongolia, China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Russia's Republic of Tuva.  Canada's Inuits, Japan's Ainu, Buddhist monks in Tibet and India, and Sardinians also practice throat singing.  And Popeye the Sailor Man's speaking and singing voice is produced with throat singing techniques.)

Also this week (Sunday February 4, 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): New Anatolian rock from Berlin's Cherry Bandora, the latest from the beyond-category Hazmat Modine, and a very funky second hour featuring new music by London Afrobeat Collective and great new reissues of Benin's Orchestre Poly-Rythmo and the South Bronx's Ghetto Brothers.

January 23, 2024

Charts January 8-21, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 SOFIA KOURTESIS | Madres | Ninja Tune
2 ADAMA YALOMBA | Tanou | Remote/Studio Mali
3 MITO Y COMADRE | Guajirando | ZZK
4 EL BUHO | Ton Ton [EP] | Shika Shika
5 CHICAS! VOLUME 3 1963-1982 | various artists | Vampisoul
6 MAMA SISSOKO | Live | Mieruba
7 KOSMO SOUND | "Yomala (feat. Imane Geumssy)" [Single] | Zephyrus
8 MARVIN GAYE AND KIM WESTON | "It Takes Two (Boomrush Backup remix)" [Single] | Boomrush
9 FRANK LONDON'S KLEZMER BRASS ALLSTARS | Chronika | Borscht Beat
10 ANTONIO GAVRILA | Tango Suite Buenos Aires | Zoho

January 19, 2024

Tango can not exist without fantasy

Antonio Gavrila is a 27-year-old pianist from Romania who is obsessed with the music of Astor Piazzolla, the person who invented nuevo tango in the 1950s by bringing improvisation, counterpoint and dissonance to the Argentine tango tradition.  Gavrila went to Buenos Aires to record his first band album Tango Suite Buenos Aires with the members of Pablo Ziegler's combo; Ziegler was Piazzolla's long-time pianist.
 
You'll hear the spectacular results on this week's edition of Global A Go-Go, along with music by Piazzolla, Ziegler and Evan Lurie, the last of whom will be performing his nuevo tango compositions for the first time in 30 years at the Big Ears Festival this March.
 
Also this week (Sunday January 21, 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 whole lot of new music, including gnawa-rock from Kosmo Sound and Shay Hazan, the Afro sounds of Newen Afrobeat, Oliver Nayoka, Afriquoi and Adama Yalomba, a reggae remix of Marvin Gaye, Locobeach's cumbia, Toco's samba-soul and the Balkan and klezmer brass of Džambo Aguševi and Frank London.

January 9, 2024

Charts Dec 11, 2023 - Jan 7, 2024

WRIR World's NACC Top Ten
1 NUSANTARA BEAT | "Kota Bandung" b/w "Layung" [Single] | Bongo Joe/Lamunai
2 SOUL OF CONGO, THE: TREASURES OF THE NGOMA LABEL | various artists | Planet Ilunga
3 NUSANTARA BEAT | "Djanger" b/w "Borondong Garing" [Single] | Bongo Joe/Lamunai
4 EXTRA MUSICA NOUVEL HORIZON | Conduite A Tenir | Universal Africa
5 GENERAL DEFAO MATUMONA | Hommage Au General Defao | Le Monde Des Artistes
6 ARY LOBO | 1958 - 1966 | Analog Africa
7 SAMI GALBI | "Dakchi Hani" [Single] | Bongo Joe
8 BOUNALY | Dimanche A Bamako | Sahel Sounds
9 IPHUPHO L'KA BIKO | Azania [EP] | We Are Busy Bodies
10 LONDON AFROBEAT COLLECTIVE | "Topesa Esengo Na Motema" [Single] | Canopy

January 5, 2024

In memoriam 2023

I have one more program looking back at the year 2023, then it's full speed ahead into the future on Global A Go-Go.  I'd be remiss, though, if I didn't take a couple of hours to remember some of the great musicians from around the world who passed away last year.
 
Some of them received tributes on this show when they passed, like Baba Commandant, Stella Chiweshe and Ferus Mustafov.  Others, like Shane MacGowan and Sara Tavares, I meant to recognize but just ran out of time to do so at year end.  And others I didn't hear about until I sat down to research the subject.

Every song on today's show (Sunday January 7, 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 performed by or otherwise directly associated with someone who died in 2023.  All of these people made a lifetime's worth of brilliant music that the rest of us can enjoy in perpetuity, so let's enjoy the memory of their rich lives together this week.