February is upon us and I hope everyone is keeping warm. Here in Chicago I knock on wood every day that the winter has been pretty mild thus far.
Anyhoo…onto business. This month’s theme is: Music – Past, Present, & Future. The Listenings for this month are below.Thanks to our Chicago PBClubber, Beatrice, for suggesting the Song Exploder selection. Don’t forget to use the comments section below to let us know your thoughts on the selections this month.
Song Exploder, Episode 57: Natalia Lafourcade “Hasta la Raiz.” Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. This episode features Natalia Lafourcade. She has won eight Latin Grammys, including three for the song Hasta la Raíz, which won the 2015 Song of the Year and Record of the Year, as well as Best Alternative Song. In this episode, Natalia breaks down the writing and recording process for the track, which borrows from a traditional Mexican folk music called huapango, but also still includes a Juno synthesizer and a pop sensibility.
99% Invisible, Episode 194: Bone Music. 99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. This episode goes back in time to 1950s Soviet Russia when citizens craved Western popular music—everything from jazz to rock & roll. But smuggling vinyl was dangerous, and acquiring the scarce material to make copies of those records that did make it into the country was expensive.An ingenuous solution to this problem began to emerge in the form of “bone music.”
Switched on Pop, Episode 08: Radio Africa. Switched on Pop is a podcast about the making and meaning of popular music hosted by musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding. They break down pop songs to figure out what makes a hit and what is its place in culture. In this episode they report live from Kenya, where they search for African pop that is making its way into global dance music. The barriers to producing high quality audio are reduced to merely owning a laptop. Now, regional artists are reaching a global audience. They spoke to Blinky Bill, leader of the dance/pop/hip-hop group Just A Band, about their unique sound that attracts fans from Tokyo to Nairobi. And they also speak to Jeff Maina, lead designer at Waabeh, the Spotify for African content.