Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Traveler Brings the Global Funk:


The new episode of our weekly internet radio show, Six Degrees Traveler is now up on Apple i-Tunes (under the "Eclectic" or the "Electronica" sections of their radio page) or at http://www.live365.com/stations/sixdegrees.

On this week's program,we feature global funk from around the planet with sweaty grooves, both classic and brand new from India, Africa, Brazil, Jamaica, Latin America and the Middle East. Featured artists include Fela, Fort Knox Five, Mongo Santamaria, Thievery Corporation (remixed by Louis Vega), Alice Russell (remixed by DJ Smash) and many others.

I never had a chance, I was bitten by the "funk bug" at an early age when one of my brother's friends baby sat for me when I was around 8 years old. Somehow that evening we wound up watching a music show on television and my still developing, highly susceptible, unprotected brain was exposed to James Brown in his prime. Suddenly there was "Mr. Dynamite", shouting,grunting, strutting and performing splits while I watched in slack jawed wonderment. I don't remember what song he performed that night but I do remember thinking it was just about the coolest thing I had ever been exposed to. When it was all over and the commercials came on, my baby sitter turned to me and said "pretty good huh?" and all I could do to respond was to silently nod my head in the affirmative. I had been infected by the funk virus directly by "patient zero" himself "The Godfather" himself. The funk is merciless!

Later in my life when I was working at listener sponsored radio station, WORT in Madison Wisconsin, I got screamed at over the phone by a livid female listener because I was playing James Brown's "Hot Pants". It seems she found the recurring line, "woman got to use what she got- ah to get just what she need- ah" incredibly offensive and grounds for having me thrown off the air. "What do you want me to do" I wanted to tell her "The funk is not politically correct". Instead, I simply apologized and told her I'm sure James meant no offense. The funk is an equal opportunity groove thing.


As the years have gone by and my interests have expanded greatly into music from around the world, I have been gratified to find that the musical funk virus has successfully spread to all corners of the globe. Most people are aware of Africa's love affair with funky grooves and it seems that somewhere along the line Fela and James Brown had a pretty substantial mutual admiration society going on, which enriched BOTH of their music output. Less familiar to many world music fans might be the psychedelic funky grooves that can be found in various eras of music from the Middle East, Jamaica, India and of course, all over Latin America. Of course the tradition is alive and thriving to this day and the funky grooves just keep pouring out from around the planet. This week's radio show is just further proof- the funk is timeless.

Check out the full playlist

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