Afropop worldwide is your source for music and stories from the African planet. We explore the the world through sound, from the ancient past to the cutting edge present, combining music, history, and culture. Distributed by PRI.
Brazilian broadcaster, producer and music aficionado Béco Dranoff returns to Afropop Worldwide with a set of great new music from South America's music cauldron. We'll hear current sounds from Bahia, Sao Paulo, Rio and Belo Horizonte, including Caetano Veloso, Afrocidade, Lucas Santtana, Ze Manoel, Da Cruz, Jadsa and more. Produced by Béco Dranoff and Sean Barlow.
Technology is one of the great drivers of musical change, and often one of its least understood. In this episode, we explore the synthesizer, looking closely at the history of this ubiquitous (and often debated) piece of musical technology, and investigating how and why it was first used in a variety of African musics. Enabled by groundbreaking record reissues by synth pioneers like William Onyeabor (Nigeria) and Hailu Mergia (Ethiopia), disco stars like Kris Okotie, and South African superstar Brenda Fassie, we take you back to the '70s and '80s, listening to the birth of a distinctly African electronic sound. Produced by Sam Backer. APWW #676
South Africa is one of the biggest dance music nations, and now it seems like the whole world is dancing along to its amapiano (piano/yanos) beats, a genre that blends its kwaito roots with house, jazz and its signature log drum. Afropop Worldwide first explored amapiano's origins and growing popularity in October 2020, since then, the genre has seen explosive growth outside of South Africa. A combination of factors, such as: a fresh unique sound, social media, the African diaspora, hard work, and a bit of luck at the right time, has put Amapiano on the global stage. Amapiano is proving to be a genre that has both depth and breadth, but is it here to stay? We tackle this question, and explore how this homegrown sound is winning over the hearts of audiences across the world. We also speak to two of its rising stars: Teno Afrika and Luxury SA. That's all in this episode, Amapiano to the World. Produced by DJ Kix. APWW #867
From Paris to New Orleans and Boston, Haitian musicians are shaking up the music scene. The island's powerful Africa-rooted culture—from celebratory rara and sensuous kompa to the deep well of vodun songs—has become a global force. In this program, we spend time with racine music veteran Lolo Beaubrun of Boukman Eksperyans, and his rising star son, Paul Beaubrun, both on a swing through New England. We also meet Paris-based Moonlight Benjamin, and hear recent New Orleans-tinged music from Lakou Mizik and RAM. Finally, we meet Tjovi Ginen, a pan-African band featuring the provocative and humorous spoken words of Boston-based Haitian educator and animator Daniel Laurent. A romping update on all things Haitian. Produced by Banning Eyre. Originally produced in 2019 APWW #806
Afro-Sweden? Who knew? Over the past 60 years, a number of musicians from Africa and its diaspora have come to base themselves, or have been born, in Sweden. And recently, they have emerged as a collective voice in Swedish society. From the acoustic Mande folk of Sousou and Maher Cissoko, to the kaleidoscopic hip-hop of Timbuktu, and the smooth soul-pop of Swedish-born, Gambian-descended Seinabo Sey, there's definitely something happening in Scandinavia. On this program we speak with and hear recent music from a wide range of African and diasporic artists in Sweden, and get context from ethnomusicologist Ryan Skinner, who has immersed himself deeply in the Afro-Swedish scene for the past 15 years. Produced by Banning Eyre and Ryan Skinner Originally aired Oct 18, 2018 APWW #790
This year, we are launching a new tradition: a year-end episode that looks forward rather than back. We'll ask artists and others to tell us about something new they discovered in African music this year, something that points to the future. The answers range from rising- star artists, to changes in the industry, to revelations about artists and styles that have been around, just not noticed. We'll hear from Angelique Kidjo, Oumou Sangare, Fally Ipupa and many of the artists we met at WOMEX 2022. Produced by Banning Eyre. APWW #866
In hard times and boom times, people in Ghana know how to party. In this program, we hear the regional pop and neotraditional music that animates festivals, funerals and community celebrations across the county. We travel to the lush Volta region in the east to hear Ewe borborbor, agbadza and brass band music. In the northern city of Tamale, we hear Dagbani traditional music, hip-hop and pop, and visit the vibrant Damba chieftaincy festival in nearby Yendi. Back in the bustling metropolis, Accra, we get down to the latest pop hits and underground styles moving hips in the capital city. Produced by Morgan Greenstreet in 2018. Follow Afropop Worldwide on Facebook at www.facebook.com/afropop, on Instagram @afropopworldwide and on Twitter @afropopww. Subscribe to the Afropop Worldwide newsletter at www.afropop.org/newsletter/ APWW PGM #745
DJ Kix returns by taking us on a musical journey across Africa, showcasing some of the continent's formidable women who are quickly rising in the industry and making their presence known. In this episode we'll hear from: top Namibian MC, Lioness; Zimbabwean Afro-fusion artist, Gemma Griffiths; as well as Kaleo Sansaa from Zambia with her “sun-drunk” sounds and “solar-based” hip-hop; alongside Hibotep's experimental East African electro vibes and Rhita Nattah's Aissaoua-influenced Moroccan tunes. We're delving deep into what it's like being a woman in the ever-evolving and fast-paced contemporary African music scene. All this plus an incredible playlist of music by women who are breaking the mold in their own way, and inspiring all. APWW #852 Produced by DJ Kix
Foundational for Broadway and the movies, intertwined with jazz, tap dancing is a Great American Art. Strap on your shoes and shuffle along as we trace the history of tap and celebrate the Black artists and innovators who built--and continue to build this art form. From its murky origins melding African percussion and Anglo-Irish step dancing to tap's golden age and its ongoing evolution. Produced by Ben Richmond APWW #851
The 2022 global music exposition, WOMEX, went down in Lisbon, Portugal. For the second year running, most of the African-related showcases featured bands led by women. In this episode we meet Selma Uamusse from Mozambique and Portugal, Djazia Satour from Algeria and France, Pilani Bubu from South Africa, and hear 78-year-old Lia de Itamaracá, Brazil, positively blow away this tough-to-please crowd. And we'll hear from some guys as well, Fra! with highlife funk from Ghana and Aywa fusing Moroccan, French and Spanish grooves. Produced by Banning Eyre. APWW #865
Traditional Manding (Mande) griots living in France sit at the crossroads between Africa and Europe. Historically, their role has been to weave traditional, oral histories, often within music, to promote a united, peaceful society. As they have become part of the modern global community, each griot has their own way of staying true to these historical roles, while also broadening their appeal to multicultural audiences. In this program, we hear how these international troubadours spread their messages to the world by blending European music with the kora, the balafon, the guitar, and their own voices. Produced by Lisa Feder. APWW #864
Ladama is a collective of four female musicians and activists from Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the U.S. Drawing on traditions from all these countries and beyond, they create original music with the zest of soul, r&b and pop. In this podcast, the group visits the Afropop studio to perform and deconstruct key songs in their repertoire. Narrated and produced by Zubin Hensler.
Fifty-two years ago, the president of Senegal's nephew was putting together a band for his new, upscale Dakar nightclub, and he recruited a handful of musicians who are still together today. Bringing together elements from their homes across West Africa to the Afro-Cuban style of the time, the Orchestra Baobab became one of Dakar's top bands. From the rough recordings made in Club Baobab, to their 21st century revival, their music ranges from slow folk ballads to wah-pedal heavy psychedelia. We'll talk to members Rudy Gomis, Barthelemy Attisso, Theirno Kouyate, Balla Sidibe and more, and hear selections from a truly one-of-a-kind group, the specialists in all styles, half-a-century old and still evolving: the mighty Orchestra Baobab. Produced by Ben Richmond.
Nigeria is today the undisputed powerhouse of African pop music. Call it Naija Pop, Afrobeats, Afropop or what have you. The likes of Burna Boy, Wizkid, Yemi Alade and Tiwa Savage are giants on the scene. In this program we hear the latest from these and others, and sample action on the Afrobeat and Alté scene. We also speak with key artists in Nigeria and the U.S. about the rising social activism among Nigerian artists in the era of the EndSARS movement against police violence. Produced by Banning Eyre.
Currulao is the traditional music of Colombia's majority-Black, southern Pacific coastal region. In this episode, professor Michael Birenbaum Quintero describes how this performative practice has been used to grapple with modernization, dramatize Black politics, demonstrate national heritage and generate economic development. Currulao connects the past to an emerging future as the identification and role of race in Colombia has changed across multiple generations of musicians. Produced by Nathaniel Braddock.
They call Sam Mangwana "Le Pigeon Voyageur" - a roaming pigeon. He could also be called a rolling stone because wherever he lays his microphone is his home. In this episode, we behold the amazing return of rumba's living legend - Sam Mangwana. Produced by Georges Collinet. APWW #863
Papa Wemba, one of the greatest singers of the past African century, died on stage at age 66 in 2016. But his body of work, both in advancing Congolese rumba and innovating new African pop sounds, as well as influencing style, fashion and music production throughout Africa, is immense. In this episode we look back on an iconic career, drawing on some 20 years of interviews with the artist, and insights from Congolese music aficionado Lubangi Muniania. And, of course, the music!
In 1809, the population of New Orleans doubled almost overnight because of French-speaking refugees from Cuba. You read that right-- French-speaking refugees from Cuba -- part of a wave of music and culture that emigrated from east to west in the wake of the Haitian Revolution. We'll look at the distinct African roots of these three regions, and compare what their musics sound like today. This Hip Deep program, originally broadcast in 2005, is being repeated in memoriam the pathbreaking historian Gwendolyn Midlo Hall (1929-2022), who gave us the tools to understand the making of Afro-Louisiana. Produced by Ned Sublette. [APWW #467] [Originally aired 2006] Additional material: *) Read Gwendolyn Midlo Hall's autobiography, Haunted by Slavery: A Memoir of a Southern White Woman in the Freedom Struggle. *) May 13, 2021 conversation between Gwendolyn Midlo Hall and Kalaamu ya Salaam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIxq2msJsLQ *) March 5, 2021 conversation between Gwendolyn Midlo Hall and Kalaamu ya Salaam: https://vimeo.com/526784305/c853f32608 *) See the transcription of Ned Sublette's interview with Gwendolyn Midlo Hall: https://afropop.org/articles/gwendolyn-midlo-hall
The golden age of vinyl records is long past in Africa, but the market for rare and reissued African vinyl outside the continent has been growing steadily since the early 2000s. DJs and collectors have turned an obsession with rare records and forgotten gems from Cape Town to Tangiers into an international reissue and compilation industry, led by record labels such as Soundway, Strut and Analog Africa. This program explores some of the complex and shifting dynamics of neocolonialism, cultural ownership and audience in the African vinyl market. We'll hear stories from label owners, DJs and artists, touching on controversies around Nigerian disco funk reissues, new career opportunities for sometimes-obscure African artists, the unique vinyl culture in South Africa, and much more. Produced by Morgan Greenstreet and Alejandro Van Zandt-Escobar, with Nenim Iwebuke. APWW #749 Originally produced in 2017
Toots Hibbert was a titan of Jamaican popular music. With his harmony group the Maytals he indelibly changed the island's music scene in the early 1960s by infusing ska with gospel and went on to captivate overseas audiences by blending blues and funk with reggae, becoming one of Jamaica's best-known performers. Never Grow Old: A Salute To Toots And The Maytals is an homage to Toots, whose incredible career only ended when he tragically died of Covid-19 in September 2020, aged 77. On this show, producer David Katz will trace his evolution, using select archive interviews with the man. APWW #861
Yes, it's the age of South African House, Afrobeats, Afro R&B and the likes, but roots music lives on in South Africa. This show updates the Zulu pop music known as maskanda, with a look back at its history and a survey of the current scene--rich musically, but troubled by fan rivalry that can lead to violence and even deaths. We'll hear nimble ukapika guitar playing, heavy Zulu beats and bracing vocal harmonies. We'll meet maskanda legend Phuzekhemisi and veteran South African radio broadcaster Bhodloza “Welcome” Nzimande, long a champion of maskanda music and a would-be peacekeeper in the fractious current scene. We'll also hear from Zulu guitar legend Madala Kunene, and check out some of the recent gqom music that has largely replaced maskanda and other roots styles in the lives of young South Africans. Produced by Banning Eyre. [APWW #803] [Originally broadcast in May 2019]
The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is perhaps best known for sandy beaches and, recently, a catastrophic oil spill. It is also home to a unique folkloric pop music called sega. Sega is a product of an unusual history on an island that has been populated by humans for less than five centuries. In this episode we meet three musicians traveling the world to highlight environmental issues through music as part of the Small Island Big Song project. They take us deep into the history and current state of sega music. Narrated and produced by Banning Eyre
On a visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands in winter 2018, we took the pulse of the national music of St. Croix – quelbe. Rarely recorded, rarely exported, quelbe is an energetic form, led by sax or flute with percussion and banjo, and it fuels the traditional dance style, quadrille. St Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and sits alone 42 miles south of St. Thomas and St. John. That's part of why traditional music and dance forms have remained strong on St. Croix. Meet bandleaders Stanley Jacobs of Stanley and the 10 Sleepless Knights, and Dmitri Copemann of the Renaissance Band, who are cultivating a vibrant next generation. Produced by Marika Partridge and Banning Eyre. APWW #782 Originally produced in 2018
The latest music craze to hit South African dance floors is a dark, pulsating and energetic sound called gqom. For the past seven years, a young and technologically skilled generation in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, has created and finessed a sound that has the world hooked and wanting more. It is an entire cultural movement complete with distinctive dance moves and styles. We talk to some of the deejays and young producers of this genre, like DJ Lag, Citizen Boy and Distruction Boyz, as well as Gqom Oh! record label owner Francesco Nan Kolè to understand where gqom originated, how it's made and where it's going. We also look at how this rough and raw party music has evolved to accommodate a more commercial market. Produced by Akornefa Akyea in 2018 APWW #784
The square gumbe frame drum was created centuries ago by enslaved Africans in Jamaica. It traveled to Sierra Leone with freed Maroons from Jamaica's highlands in 1800. From there, the drum and its evolving, pan-ethnic music spread to 17 African nations. In this program we trace the history and legacy of this joyous and surprising music with field work in Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Mali. Produced by Banning Eyre in 2020. APWW #817
When Ugandan American writer and producer Jessica Kariisa moved to the San Francisco Bay Area early in 2022, she did not expect to find a thriving African music club scene where DJs spin the latest hits, be they Afrobeats from Nigeria or Amapiano from South Africa. In this episode, she goes deep to tell the story of how this scene emerged. Narrated and produced by Jessica Kariisa
In its 36th year, the Nuits d'Afrique festival in Montreal pulled out all the stops to meet the expectations of an audience that was hungry to see and hear some of the world's biggest stars. The Afropop team was there recording two nights of kora mastery, plus Gnawa roost from Moktar Gania, Haitian pop from Wesli, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force and more. The program is a deep dive and a solid salute to North America's best African music festival. Produced by Banning Eyre. APWW #859
Changüí is a little understood, loose and lively, community-based music of eastern Cuba. In this program we sample recordings from the 2021 box set Changüí: The Sound of Guantánamo, and hear from Gianluca Tramontana, the man who made the recordings. Rooted in Afro-Haitian music, pan-Caribbean styles, Spanish poetic traditions and more, Changüí emerged in the mid 19th century in plantations, not unlike the blues. We also hear from musician and scholar Ben Lapidus, author of the only English language book on Changüí, and we update the story with Changüí fusions into jazz, salsa and hip-hop. Prepare to dance! Produced by Banning Eyre in 2021 APWW #840
When Siama Matazungidi first heard soukous music on the radio in Kinshasa, Congo, it was as if the keys to a technicolor world of sound had landed in his lap. Though Siama's father wanted him to pursue the pious (and stable) life of priesthood, it was the guitar that became his place of prayer, and the dream of soukous stardom his calling. Of course, the pathway to manifesting a dream is never without detours and diversions. This is the story of Siama reaching beyond himself to create African music in America that connects audiences across time, traditions and generations. Produced and narrated by Abë Levine.
Inspired by Jamaica's dancehall music from the 90s and early 2000s, Zimbabwean dancehall music (Zimdancehall) started out as an underground subculture in the ghettos of Zimbabwe and is now the country's most popular genre. In this episode we'll trace the subgenre's rocky rise to the top and meet some of its founding pioneers: the likes of producer, Jusa Dementor, and recording artist, Sniper Storm. We'll also explore the hidden layers behind the upbeat party tunes to reveal questions about: social class, language, originality and cultural authenticity; and how these underlying factors may play into Zimdancehall's prospects in the international music market. It's a fascinating story of resistance and persistence—it's the Zimdancehall story. APWW #844 Produced by Christine "DJ Kix" Mwaturura
In the age of slick, international Afrobeats music, and especially its epicenter, Lagos, Nigeria, one would not expect to find a group of 20-somethings composing and performing classic highlife music. But that is exactly what the two brothers known as The Cavemen do. And they're finding success with the formula as well. Produced and narrated by Fay Fay.
Sometimes music can take you to places you've never imagined! That's what Afrofuturism does.… Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic that explores the intersection of African culture with science fiction, technology and the future, fusing magical realism with the beauty of Africa, beyond the clichés. The term was originally coined by Mark Dery (an American journalist working for The Washington Post & Rolling Stone). From the start, Afrofuturism was a child of music, born in the ‘60's in the boundless mind of Sun Ra, and it still shines in today's music of American artists such as Janelle Monae. Nowadays, Afrofuturism is flourishing in Europe and in Africa, constantly revitalized by artists who offer new perspectives to expand our idea of Africa. In this episode, we explore this boundless inner space and George Collinet is trans-connected to a futuristic nebula through a patchwork of stories, soundscapes, and various avant-garde music productions from the cosmos and elsewhere. The episode includes interviews with Ibaaku, Blick Bassy, Ikoqwe, Djely Tapa, Shabaka, Mélissa Laveaux, Afrotronix, plus Angélique Kidjo & Yemi Alade. Produced by Elodie Maillot.
As in so many African countries, Malawian hip-hop evolved from a marginalized and often disparaged form of music, to an underground sensation, to a mainstream phenomenon. In Malawi, it has also come to play a role in the nation's quickly evolving politics, serving as the voice of a burgeoning youth population. Ethnomusicologist Kenneth Lipanga unpacks the story, which he has studied deeply and experienced first-hand. Narrated and produced by Banning Eyre
Toronto is Canada's most cosmopolitan city--“like New York but mellower” in the words of Kofi Akah, son of the Ghanaian highlife legend Jewel Akah. Kofi is one of many superb African artists who have made Toronto their home over the years. That list is long, and it has included highlife star Pat Thomas, South Sudanese rapper Emanuel Jal, rising Congolese star Blandine, Malagasy guitarist Donné Roberts, and a hidden treasure of Ethiopian music, Fantahun Shewankochew. In this program, we take the pulse of Toronto's African scene through music and interviews with Kofi, Emanuel, Blandine, Fantahun and many more. Produced by Banning Eyre APWW #830
"Dakar Muse" takes us to one of the most exciting musical cities in Africa. We'll meet young stars on the Mbalax scene, Senegal's national music, including Tarba Mbaye, Sidy Diop, Sidy Samb and Pape Diouf. And we'll hear rappers making their mark in the huge Hip Hop scene including Dip Doundou Guiss and Ngaaka Blinde. Finally, we pay tribute to the brilliant Mbalax pioneer Thione Seck, who recently died of Covid-19. APWW #832 Produced by Sean Barlow
"The New York Sound of Latin Music" demonstrates how the metropolis transformed the music. Guest Ben Lapidus, author of New York and the International Sound of Latin Music 1940-1990, talks to Georges Collinet and Ned Sublette about how innovations in rhythm and instrument design joined with folklore, jazz, New York's education system, and urban multiculturalism to make a new, world-changing music. We'll hear Eddie Palmieri, Sonny Bravo, Larry Harlow, Jerry González and Fort Apache, Eydie Gormé, and many more. APWW #845 Originally produced in 2021 by Ned Sublette
Botswana is a large, landlocked country in Southern Africa, a vast stretch of desert and savannah between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia with a population of only 2.2 million. While widely overlooked internationally for their music, over the past 20 years Batswana have steadily built a diverse and fruitful local scene that includes traditional choirs, hip hop and kwaito, R&B and jazz and even heavy metal. While the biggest star in the country, Franco, packs stadiums with his Congolese-derived Setswana kwassa kwassa, Vee Mampeezy, Charma Gal and a host of aspiring stars champion a distinctly local fusion called house kwassa: a mix of rumba guitars, house beats and kwaito vocals. In this program we hear from Kabelo Mogwe of the popular cultural troupe Culture Spears; hip hop star Jujuboy; the metal band Skinflint; Afro soul singer Mpho Sebina and reformed house kwassa badboy Mingo Touch. We also head to a midnight recording session with young producer Zolasko and singer Naisi Boy and learn the insides of the Botswana music video industry with videographer Jack Bohloko. Produced by Lollise Mbi and Morgan Greenstreet in 2020 APWW #813
In 2018, the renowned music journal Fact boldly claimed that “the world's best electronic music festival is in Uganda.” In only a few years, Nyege Nyege has indeed become one of the hottest artistic hubs in East Africa, birthing two music labels that propelled local scenes, such as Ugandan acholitronix or Tanzanian singeli, across the globe. At the heart of this explosive universe lies a big house, known as “the Villa,” that almost constantly vibrates with sounds as musicians from the region and beyond tirelessly produce, exchange skills, and frenetically party until dawn. Despite reducing the Villa's bubbling flow, COVID-19 didn't silence it, and the house kept on nurturing its community of underground musicians. In this episode, producer Basile Koechlin takes us to the Villa to meet current residents and other members of the Nyege Nyege nebula. Through a patchwork of stories, soundscapes, and fresh musical releases, we hear more about this unique and strange place that came to host and generate a seminal part of the avant-garde of electronic music production in East Africa. Originally aired in 2021 APWW #843
Calypso and reggae have been mainstays of Grenada's musical culture, until the emergence of the distinctive Carnival-based offshoot known as jab-jab soca, and more recent hybrid forms embraced by a younger generation of musical practitioners. On this program, we explore how the island's tempestuous history has influenced its dynamic music scene, with testimony from leading Grenadian music figures, including calypso kings Ajamu and Black Wizard, members of the innovative group Moss International, jab-jab soca pioneers Tallpree and Mr Killa, and upcoming artists such as Sabrina Francis, a rising star who draws on soul, jazz, R&B and folk elements.
Known as Australia's music and cultural capital, Melbourne is a hub of creativity boasting a diverse arts scene. The African community in Melbourne has been growing with Africans from all parts of the continent bringing their fashion, food and music to the city. In this episode we'll explore African musicians and music curators who are making their mark in Melbourne. Expect to hear a blend of traditional African instruments by the Melbourne African Traditional Ensemble (MATE); funky jazz fusion by Black Jesus Experience; South-Sudanese modern rock by Ajak Kwai, and hip-hop from IJALE and Sampa the Great. We'll also meet the presenter of the longest running African radio program in Australia, Stani Goma. Guiding us through our journey of Melbourne's African music scene will be DJ Kix, bringing to light some of the nuances of migration, identity and life in Melbourne. APWW #836
The Afro-Roots Fest is Florida's state-wide celebration of Africa's global musical heritage. The 2022 edition featured a diva of Afro-Cuban jazz, Daymé Arocena, Sudanese American indie rock band Sinkane, Miami's own Latin music champions Cortadito celebrating their tenth anniversary, and more. We'll hear live highlights and interviews with the principles. Produced by Banning Eyre and Sean Barlow.
On this program, we look at Puerto Rican protest songs over the past two centuries, including Paracumbé's subversive bomba dances from the time of slavery, Las Barrileras 8M, an all-women drumming group demanding an end to violence against women and a new plena from Hector Tito Matos about the death of George Floyd. The past three years have been incredibly traumatic for Puerto Rico: two hurricanes followed by slow recovery efforts that led to the death of 3,057 on the island, a text message scandal mocking women's rights that eventually brought down a governor, the deaths of more unarmed Black men, women and children across the United States and of course the coronavirus pandemic. Producer Dan Rosenberg looks at how artists across Puerto Rico including Plena Libre helped in the healing process after Hurricane Maria by performing for those who lost their homes in the storm. We'll hear music from marches that led to the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosello. “We've been under attack from nature and bad governments and so many things since 2017, and from before, but 2017 made us more aware,” explains Nelie Lebron-Robles. “Here we are. One nation with a very distinct Latin American identity, very proud of who we are. We've discovered we can do anything that we propose ourselves to do.” APWW #816 Originally broadcast in 2020
When it comes to popular music, it's hard to top Brazil for variety, excellence and sheer volume. On this program, Georges Collinet welcomes co-host Béco Dranoff in Brazil. Béco is a producer, broadcaster and lifelong connoisseur of Brazilian music. He recently returned to Sao Paulo after some three decades in New York City. He takes us on a whirlwind tour of music produced during the pandemic, from funk to hip-hop, to mangue beat and cool singer-songwriters, it's a feast of new talent for Brazilian music fans everywhere. Produced by Sean Barlow. APWW #838 Originally broadcast in 2021
Salegy may be the most popular dance music of Madagascar. It's a churning, harmonious groove with spine-stiffening vocal harmonies that emerged from towns and cities of northern Madagascar in the mid-20th century. On a trip to Diego Suarez, we learn that salegy's older origins are both fascinating and mysterious. We meet young salegy stars Ali Mourad and Jacs, and speak with the genre's reigning legend, Jaojoby, on the roof of his nightclub in Antananarivo. Along the way we visit a music school in Diego and hear blazing guitar riffs and get a fingerpicking tour of the entire island from guitar maestro Hajazz. Originally produced by Banning Eyre in 2014
In today's pop music, everybody is a composer. But what about the classics? The songs that last? In this program we survey African musicians reinterpreting each other's songs, as well as songs from far outside their traditions. And we hear foreign takes on African diaspora music. From Louis Armstrong's “Skokiaan” to Alpha Blondy's “Whole Lotta Love,” it's a journey of discovery and rediscovery. Produced by Banning Eyre. APWW #854
In Jamaica, sound systems are more than just a stack of speakers blasting the latest tunes to an eager crowd. Over the last 70 years, they have come to represent the most common way that Jamaicans experience music. Sound systems have touched all levels of society in Jamaica, determining the island's popular taste and profoundly influencing the daily lives of its citizenry. This program explores the evolution of sound system culture, from the Jamaican genesis of the 1940s to its gradual impact on diaspora communities, and ultimately, its undeniable influence on the popular culture of nations overseas. Produced by David Katz and Saxon Baird. APWW #758
This Hip Deep edition, based on field work in Ghana, tells the story of how highlife turned into Afro-funk. Guitarist/composer/bandleader Ebo Taylor, at 77, is our principle guide, taking us to his hometown Saltpond to explore the roots of his complex sound, and recounting his highlife years, and his deep study of American jazz in London in the early 60s—all part of a remarkable mix. We also hear from Ghanaian Afro-funk pioneer Gyedu Blay Ambolley and other observers and veterans of this history. Among the figures that interweave this story are James Brown, his most successful African successor Geraldo Pino, and, of course, the creator of Nigerian Afrobeat (a variety of Afro-funk), Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Produced by Banning Eyre. [APWW #667] [Originally aired 2013]
In this episode, we trace the history of country music in Kenya, dating back to the 1920s and 30s when local populations first heard Jimmie Rodgers on early country western 78 records, to the current day, where the clubs of Nairobi are filled with rising stars bringing their own unique sounds to country music. Hear their takes on the hits of Don Williams, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and more. Tune in for an interview and performance from Kenyan country singer Steve Rogers, radio and tv presenters Catherine Ndonye and David Kimitho, music historian Elijah Wald, and Olvido Records founder Gordon Ashworth. Produced by Brandi Howell. APWW #853