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.
The Other Afro-Latino: Hidden Sounds from Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay
Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian musical giants have long enjoyed the spotlight, yet throughout Latin America there are other black enclaves producing some of the New World's most vibrant music. Their stories have gone untold for far too long. In this episode, Afropop explores these lost sounds, starting in an Ecuadorian desert valley where African and Andean traditions have mixed seamlessly into fiery dance music. Then we're off to mangrove-studded Esmeraldas to search out the last marimba legends living on the jungle waterways. We continue to Bolivia, where a tiny black minority uses their music to fight for recognition by the indigenous government and last, we'll listen to the driving carnival music of Uruguay, candombe. Tune in for exclusive interviews and recordings by everyone from marimba master Papa Roncon to Candombe-jazz legend Hugo Fattoruso. Produced by Marlon Bishop.
[Originally aired 2009]
Umm Kulthum - The Voice Of Egypt
Umm Kulthum has been called the greatest singer in the Arabic speaking world in the 20th century. Born in 1904 the humble daughter of an Egyptian village imam, she went on to become a glamorous Cairo celebrity in her 20s, and soon after that, a cultural icon whose monthly live radio broadcasts brought much of Egypt to a standstill. She turned high poetry into popular culture. She extended musical forms with her virtuoso, extended vocal improvisations. Combining historical, religious, literary and musical passions, she inspired an enduring sense of national pride and left a legacy for the ages. Millions gathered for her 1975 funeral. With Umm Kuthum biographer Virginia Danielson as guide and guest, this program explores the life and music of a musical legend. Produced by Banning Eyre.
[Originally produced in 2005]
2020 has been a year like no other. Tours and concerts have been cancelled, and future plans remain up in the air. Just the same, a great deal of fantastic music has emerged from Africa and the diaspora. In their annual tradition, Georges Collinet and Banning Eyre take stock of the year’s offerings, covering an ever-growing array of styles and artistic movements. Not exactly a “best of the year” show, but you can be sure to hear artists and sounds you won’t find anywhere else! Produced by Banning Eyre.
New Sounds From Nigeria 2020
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, Tiwa Savage, Olamide and Fireboy DML are giants on the scene. In this program we sample the latest from these and others, and sample action on the Afrobeat 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.
Reggaetón and Race
The dembow, the beat behind reggaetón, is much more than just a backdrop for a night of partying and dancing. The style of music, widely associated with Puerto Rico and forged from a mixture of Jamaican dancehall, Panamanian reggae en español, and American hip hop, has always existed as a form of social and political resistance, and continues to do so in 2020. And as such, it has endured constant attempts to criminalize, censor, and police both the music and those who consume it, from the early tape-confiscations by Puerto Rican law enforcement in the 1990s underground scene to the present day, arguing its hypersexual content. In this episode we speak with Latin and Caribbean music scholars and social workers to break down the racist and sexist undertones of the genre's constant policing, as well as examples of songs by artists such as Tego Calderón and Ivy Queen, that counter these assumptions. We also take a couple of detours to explore how this music, and these criticisms, manifest in the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Produced by Luis López.
Sao Paulo Migrations: Hybrid Musical Resistance in Brazil’s Alpha City
Brazil’s economic and artistic powerhouse, São Paulo is a true megapolis, being the largest city in Latin America and fourth largest city in the world. Built on successive waves of immigration, it’s a melting pot of cultures, viewpoints and musical beats with a flourishing alternate arts scene that includes vibrant poetry slams, renowned street art and an incredible array of music forms that push against established hierarchies of race, class, gender and sexual orientation. In this dramatically unequal city, hybrid cultural expression happens spontaneously, fusing ancient and modern, local and foreign, traditional and avant-garde.
Produced in São Paulo by David Katz (and completed remotely following travel bans), this program surveys the São Paulo soundscape to explore dynamic facets of its musical resistance. Beginning with some background information provided by historian Rodrigo Bonciani, we hear songs from northeast migrants that tried to make sense of their adopted city in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, including Tom Zé and Caetano Veloso, as well as Itamar Assumpção of the resident Vanguarda Paulista movement. Then, committed hip-hop specialist DJ Dandan guides us through the rap scene of the 80s, 90s and beyond, before acclaimed artists explore the influence of soul, funk and other global forms on their work, including the producer BiD and singers Aricia Mess and Curumin, the latter taking a closer work at the challenges and rewards of living and working in such a place. The reggae underground is revealed through testimony from Yellow P of Dub Versão sound system, Dani Pimenta of Feminine Hi-Fi and Lys Ventura of Fresh Dancehall, along with producer/bassist Victor Rice and drummer/producer Bruno Buarque. Then, the rich avant-garde scene is illuminated by words and music from Anelis Assumpção and members of Bixiga 70 and Metá Metá, and there are musings on the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the city’s hopeful future.
Overall, the listener is immersed in the broad diversity of São Paulo’s intense music scene, making it entirely clear that the city has become the most important site of contemporary music culture in Brazil during the new millennium.
Produced by David Katz
All images copyright ©David Katz