Sunday, May 02, 2010

RIP Charlie Gillett

One of the highlights of my Saturday trips home from DJing has been BBC's "A World of Music", hosted by Charlie Gillett. Soft-spoken, incredibly knowledgeable, the sounds he managed to find were always exciting, and even stuff that was forty and fifty years old, just because it was unknown, sounded fresh and new. So, I was saddened to hear last night that Gillett (pronounced GILL-ett, not jill-ETT) passed away last month. They have yet to replace him for what is probably the excellent reason that there is no one to take his place.

Whether it was traditional Bulgarian music updated for a recording session, finger-style guitar players from western Africa (Mali and Senegal in particular produced wonderful finger-style guitar, some of the best recordings done back in the mid-1960's, usually in France), or pop music from Israel, Vietnam, or even Bollywood, Gillett had it, played it, and conveyed his love for it to his listeners.

Last night, they replayed a show from last September in which Gillett featured music that been huge hits in America and Britain and Europe, but originated in either Caribbean nations or in Africa. Included in the playlist is this marvelously funky number from 1972. The band is from Cameroon, a country with a special place in my own heart (my sister was a Peace Corps volunteer there in the very early 1980's). "Soul Makossa" combines their love of American soul/funk and traditional Cameroonian dance in its title. The rhythm is infectious, that bass line just slides around, slick and funky as anything by Earth, Wind, & Fire or Ohio Players. This is a remix for dance clubs.

While I am sure there is a backlog of shows that will be able to fill the time slot (i:30 am Central Time), until a new host is found, new sounds coming on the scene, plus the wonderful variety of sounds out there will have to wait.

Virtual Tin Cup

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