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.
We are the Scatterings of Worldlines.
Oh, mama - yey!