Fat Tuesday is coming right up on February 28th, so don't be caught unawares! Prepare thyself for the unleashing of New Orleans' creative potential with a psyche-up session on this week's edition of the Mothership Slight Return. American culture owes more to the people of New Orleans than we could ever begin to understand, so let's celebrate those immeasurable contributions with Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Luis Russell, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bo Dollis & the WIld Magnolia Mardi Gras Indian Band, Allen Toussaint, Betty Harris, The Meters, Cyril Neville, Dirty Dozen, Hot 8, Treme Brass Band, Liberty Brass Band, and . . . you get the picture!
- Thursday 8-10pm
All aboard for two hours of African-rooted music and news from around the world, people!
This is a show where we track the footprints left by African people and their descendants on the music they touched -- everywhere they went, from one end of the world to the other. This is a space for dusting off old relics and test-flying the hottest new cuts from the most soulful, talented and masterful working musicians of today and yesteryear. From traditional African music to modern African, Caribbean, afro-latin, New Orleans, blues, jazz, soul, funk, rhythm & blues, rock & roll, reggae, folk, standards, singer-songwriter, classic country, political hip hop, boogie, gospel, fusion, americana, discarded pop, music from every corner of this Earth, and more (think Sun Ra!), it's all here.
And being that my DJ handle and the name of my show are nods to Jimi Hendrix and Parliament-Funkadelic, you'll be sure to hear regular contributions from those all-time heroes and their many associates. So from the planet-forging liquid magma that seemed to drip from Jimi's strings to the extra-terrestrial ecstatic dance spasm plasma that the Pfunk Army got all over us, we're all about spanning the spectrum of what the galaxy has to offer us around here.
So if you have a hunger for some high-intensity cultural exposure in a free-form sonic format, and you don't mind picking up a few profound lessons about human history along the way, then there's nothing to it but to clamber aboard, mates! Do ensure that your seat tray tables are in the upright *and locked* position, and that your lap belts are found low & tight across your waist. Then let's find out, together, where the good ship can take us next.
Feel free to contact me with requests, suggestions, comments, etc. at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mothership Slight Return's Blog
Musical prodigy, Woo Warrior, Outer Limits Keyboard Wizard, and All-Time Funk Champion Dr. G. Bernard Worrell, Jr. (a.k.a “Bernie Worrell”) transcended his earthly form on Friday. This guy composed a concerto at 8 years old and had dramatically altered popular music forever by the time he was a young man.
Worrell and his cohorts in the Parliament-Funkadelic ("P-Funk") Army got a hold of my musical mind at a very tender young age, turned it upside down, and shook it vigorously until the dust bunnies all fell out. Then they poured in their liquid light interplanetary funk-marinade elixir, sealed up the lid, gave it one more shake for good measure, and sent me on my way. I have never been the same. Nor has the world.
P-Funk shares something in common with Bowie. Like David, Worrell and his compatriots (most notably Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, and Eddie Hazel) are so influential that most of the time, you don't even know that they're there. As the fish is not aware of the water in which she swims and breathes every moment of her life, we listeners also cannot measure the impact that musical Titans like Worrell and Bowie have had on the shaping and education of our ears. This was especially true of the Wizard of Woo, whose contributions didn't draw the audience's attention the way that Clinton and Collins' stage antics and costumery did, but he was the composer, arranger and conductor behind so much of P-Funk's discography - and the keyboard alchemist behind so much of their other-worldly sound - that the P-Funk, quite literally, never could have existed without him.
P-Funk is among the most widely sampled musical entities in popular music's history. Their lyrics and beats and hooks and riffs and melodies are so commonly found at the heart of commercial radio hits that one could be forgiven for concluding that people decided to stop making new music after the P-Funk came along. Because, why bother? No one could ever be funkier or more raw or more real than they got. And at the backbone of this massive musical assault on your D'VoidofFunk, no-dancin' ass were the dancing fingers and the luminous musical mind of one Bernie Worrell, the Wizard of Woo.
Thank you for everything, Bernie! Ride in Uhuru, my Bright-Shining Guide through the Gaping Void.
This Week: The African Banjo, from its birthplace through its American journey to modern innovations with Frank Abrams
This week on the Mothership Slight Return, we explore the African origins of the American banjo, trace the instrument's cultural journey in Asheville and across Appalachia and beyond, and hear about some of the instrument's latest innovations from this week's guest, resonator banjo inventor Frank Abrams. We will hear African banjo tunes, African-American banjo music, hear from Mr. Abrams about his invention, and listen to his live performances on his signature banjo of some classic American banjo standards. Please help me give a warm welcome to Frank by tuning in and educating yourself about this iconic African - and American - instrument.