Avant-Garde Africa

Pioneering Gambian musician, Bai Janha

Gambian pioneer of electric wizardry, Bai Janha

In celebration of Black History Month, we feature an hour of experimental music from Africa and the African diaspora.  Yes, African musical traditions run incredibly deep, but there is also a pressing need to acknowledge the amazing contributions that Africans have made to modern music around the world.  Blues, jazz, samba, cumbia, rock, funk, reggae, hip hop.. all globally dominant styles that originated in the struggle for freedom that Africans have faced since being forced from their ancestral homeland.  As we all try to make sense of the modern age of mixing, the African quest for cultural and creative freedom has indeed made the universe a much richer place.

Hear samba-funk, mystic chants, saharan-disco, bizarro-rap, interstellar jazz, and much more on…


Also on the program, a late-night interview with the wonderful UK-based singer/accordionist Anja McClosky, who discusses her victorious first tour through snowy BC and Alberta with guitarist Dan Whitehouse in support of their sublime new Still EP.  Hear the interview with Anja {{HERE}}

Craig Aalders )-( Music as Mystery

{Live Sonic Manipulation}

Live Sonic Manipulation!

No one can resist the almighty beat, but on the fringes of the modern musical landscape there is an entirely different beast that defies the comforting confines of rhythmic repetition.  Vancouver-based composer and sound-sorcerer Craig Aalders descends upon the studio this week to share his sublime shifting soundscapes and discuss the rich world of electro-acoustic music — where listeners are encouraged to rethink the boundaries of music and embrace the entire sonic spectrum.  Beautiful vibrations are everywhere, we just need to tune our ears to them.

Stream the broadcast [[HERE]]   And check out Craig Aalders’ bewitching new LP [[HERE]]

For the second part of the show, we travel to the digital shores of Singapore…

Try finding a photo of Singapore that doesn't include a skyscraper

a magical land of old-growth skyscraper forests

Singapore (aka Lion City) is a place of open mixing between Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and British culture.  This has produced a rich ecosystem of mutant styles and singular vibes.  Among the most interesting was a wild and flourishing rock ‘n’ roll scene in the 1960s.  More than simple mimicry, Singaporeans were taking cues from American musicians and adding their own genuine south-east Asian flavours.  Fascinating; an entire parallel universe of music happening alongside the psychedelic rock movement in America, yet entirely hidden from Western listeners.  For a good introduction to the vibrant 60s scene, check out the Sublime Frequencies compilation Singapore A-Go-Go.

The Stylers were one of the best and most prolific bands of the independence era, producing over a thousand records in at least five languages.  Ya ho!  This track mixes Hokkien vocals with surf guitar solos and handclaps:

Craig Aalders joins us on the trip through Singapore, as we uncover Singlish hip hop, sitar jams, experimental modern rock, Malay-style funk, and … French pop?

Stream the Singapore special [[HERE]].  Long live local music.. and the local reinvention of global music.

Sounds) Suppress)) Struggle)))


¡Música!  It will manifest inner strength and help transcend troubles of the material world.  In the case of Guinea-Bissau, a small, perpetually politically-handicapped nation of only 1.5 million humans, the odds against a music industry’s very existence have been overwhelming. ((Manecas Costa’s Paraiso di Gumbe (2003) is considered the first album recorded in the country.  Before then, Bissau-Guineans mostly recorded in Portugal, and neighboring countries Sénégal and Guinea))

Despite the hardships that the people have faced since independence from Portugal in 1974, Bissau-Guineans have created beautiful, culture-unifying music to express their quest for shared emancipation.  Some of the most exceptional music came out of the push for nationhood, as bands such as Super Mama Djombo provided the soundtrack for revolution.

This week’s program features nearly an hour of music spanning the first four decades of Guinea-Bissau’s existence.  The groups display many different degrees of blending between Portuguese and ethnic African influences (chiefly Mandinga and Fula).  I hope you hear something that moves you.

Listen to the sounds of Guinea-Bissau here.

Haunt your House Party

There can be no light without night.  Right?

To celebrate the coming of darkness, this week’s radio broadcast features many sinister sounds to help you awaken the spirits within the walls— including horror rap, drone rock, screamadelic surf, Caribbean shaman-folk, and of course, vampire disco.

Soul DraculaPlus a real oddity:  the world’s first ever electronic piece of music (or anti-music), somehow buried in an unmarked gravestone of historical significance, barely acknowledged as a truly revolutionary artifact.  The piece of music in question: a 1944 field recording made in Cairo of a Zar spirit possession ceremony.  Eerie enough already, but once original sound wizard Halim El-Dabh manipulated the recording using primitive filtration and reverberation techniques (literally moving walls) the piece takes on a truly surreal afterlife of its own.  Here is a sample:

Check out the Wandering Rhythms Halloween Special, but please give yourself a mini-exorcism in between each half-hour segment:

Part 1 ((listen))   Part 2 ((listen))  Part 3 ((listen))  Part 4 ((listen))

And who can resist this timeless slice of horror satire:

Earth Musik: the Best in the Universe?

Until we have affordable interstellar vehicles fueled by anti-matter, every day is Earth Day.  But this week’s broadcast fell on the officially sanctioned Earth Day, and as a bizarre twist of fate we were without internet in the studio for the entire show.  Coincidence, or terrific display of Mother Nature’s eternal wisdom?

a sight for the sore eyes of many space travelers

a sight for the sore eyes of many space travelers

Without internet capabilities, we were forced to postpone our scheduled trip to Nepal.  Instead, we give you a non-stop sonic survey of planetary vibes – visiting 16 countries in just over an hour!

Hear the Earth Day Mix HERE

Thank you, beautiful blue planet, for offering your endless abundance of warmth and resources.  We will continue to sing and play songs for you, and we promise to start cleaning up this mess we have made.  Next week, we visit the Himalayas!