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le 04 février 2018


One thing I haven't posted about lately is my long abiding love for African music. Juju Music, Nigerian Highlife, Prince Nico Mbarga, Fela Ransome Kuti (& see Remain in Light, Branford Marsalis), Franco And Tabu Ley, King Sunny Ade, Ladysmith Black Mbazo (& see Paul Simon's Graceland), Jaluka (Scatterings), Hugh Masakela, Bombino (& see Black Keys), folk and pop music from Mali, Seychelles and Cameroon - and Caribbean musicians like Yellowman, Buena Vista Social Club, and Bob Marley and the various Wailer spin-offs: Rita Marley, Ziggy Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

Possibly my favourite group of all time, The English Beat, was deeply influenced by West African music, and by ska, Desmond Decker, Reggae and Punk. This group has had an amazing, quiet yet exciting influence on subsequent pop music, via David Wakeling, Pato and Rankin' Roger, The Specials and the Special Beat Service, General Public and Fine Young Cannibals! Tenderness! She Drives Me Crazy! Of course, they also influenced No Doubt, ska, and Reggae DJ Hiphop. I am a Beat aficionado!

Check out the albums by General Public - they are great.

One of the advantages of living in Madison, WI, was all of the concerts, including free concerts at the Student Union, and including the annual world music festival, as well as the community FM radio station, WORT. Filled with endlessly eclectic music, their schedule also included a Reggae show and an African music show every Saturday morning/afternoon! (I know the reggae show continues but I am not sure about the African show). I have to tell you, summer on the lakefront, with the Reggae show going on, made Madison complete LOVE! And there was always some damn Nigerian on the African show, showing off his latest vinyl and CD finds on air, sometimes dug up in Africa itself. THAT is research!

I was into African rhythms even before this, as I researched on my own, digging up anthropological recordings by the Smithsonian Institute! And so I was also into Afrobeat before I ever came upon NPR's wonderful weekly music show, "AfroPop Worldwide." Add to this the completely awesome weekly music show from Wisconsin Public Radio, "Higher Ground," and I have been NEVER WANTING in my supply of wonderful pop music from Africa!

Plus, ever since I was a kid, I have had a deep love of Al Green, soul, reggae, and so on - you might as well call me black. Like Van Morrison was black. Like Morrissey is black. BTW - I heard an interview of what's-her-name - the former singer from Yaz - on NPR. I totally think she should get together with Morrissey to put out an album of old 1950's "crooner" songs! Can I get a witness?!

And, I guess I am truly what all my present neighbours want to tell me I am: a terrible white-man racist. Because I actually studied Africa in college, because of my great love.

My great love.

So - NPR's, "World Cafe," did a, "Sense of Place," series on music from South Africa, which was so great. That included an entire hour with Johnny Clegg, best known for his renowned biracial group, Jaluka. I can no longer find any kind of podcast for entire hours from, "World Cafe." They just stopped doing that, apparently. IF YOU CAN FIND THEM, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

Because, I think it would be great for everyone to listen to this entire hour with Johnny Clegg, esp., my LJ friend, "space_66". Why? Because it tells the rollicking story of a white man breaking through Apartheid, just for the music that celebrates the soul of South Africa. (Suid Afrique - which I once tuned to on my short wave receiver as a very bored little, transplanted boy). The story reminds me of, "Slumdog Millionaire," among many other true-grit adventures. Cutting through fences. Knocking on walls.

More than this: During that interview, Clegg said something I wish I could quote to you, but I nether can find a transcript of the show. Promoting his latest album, "King of Time," he spoke of how every human being has to figure out how to make his or her way through time - making decisions, creating time, making time, choosing or losing. It would be a great quote if I could get it.

Well, this quote would fit well with my latest posts on TIME. Because that's what it is. This irrelevant musician babbles out some inane thing about time and finding your way, and it never really sticks to history - but it is all we are ALL about.

Afropop Worldwide.

We are the Scatterings of Worldlines.

Oh, mama - yey!

"I have a nose tuned to the smell of the death of an empire, and I smell it now."[3] - Dave Wakeling 2012 -  (The Beat, General Public).

Dave Wakeling and his California-based version of the English Beat band recorded two new songs that feature prominently in the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Dance of the Undead" which aired 26 March 2013. It features a zombie ska group called Rude Boy and the Ska-Tastics who come back to life in order to turn people into zombies and make them dance to ska music forever. According to an interview with the San Francisco Examiner, he said: "This was my first opportunity to do anything for television as a gun for hire, and I actually managed to record and mix two songs in 12 hours. It was like running at double speed with no brakes, but it was exciting, and Warner Bros. really loved them. So the zombies have a song called 'You’re Dead Right, Mate,’ and the Hex Girls have one called 'We’re the Good Bad Girls,’ which has a definite Ramones-Runaways vibe to it, but frankly, I’m really happy I did it, because I’ve always loved ‘Scooby-Doo."[2]

The English Beat on last.fm HERE.

BEAT Official Website.




Beat - What's your best thing?

Tears of a Clown video

YouTube BEAT video page!

Panda dancing wildly to AfroPop



Fela Kuti

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