Off The Beaten Path Radio Show Every Monday 10pm to Midnight with Host Victoria z on KPFA 94.1FM
Artist / Song Title / Album / Label
Bangdata / El Pacino / Maldito Carnaval / Rockolito
Cesaria Evora / Bondade e Maldade / Osunlade presents the Yoruba Soul Mixes / BBE
Beats Antique interview
Beats Antique / The Porch / Elektrafone / Antique
Beats Antique interview
Beats Antique / Cat Skillz / Elektrafone /Antique
Natacha Atlas / Makaan (Beats Antique Remix) / Mounqaliba – Rising: The Remixes / Six Degrees
See-I / Soul Hit Man (The Funk Hunters Remix) / See-I Remixed / Fort Knox
Da Cruz / Boom Boom Boom (Kush Arora Remix) / Boom Boom Boom Remixes / Six Degrees
Mara Hruby / Take Off Your Cool / From Her Eyes
Carmen Rizzo / Take Me Over / The Space Left Behind / Electrofone
DJ Cam California Dreamin / Seven / Inflamable / K7
Fat Freddy’s Drop / The Camel / Dr Boondigga & the Big BW / The Drop
The Lijadu Sisters / Life’s Gone Down Low / Danger / Knitting Factory
The Glitch Mob / Dream Within a Dream / Drink the Sea / Glass Air
The Echocentrics / We Need a Resolution / Echoland / Ubiquity
Art Konik / Clap / Vendetta Society / Art Konik
Natacha Atlas / Makaan (Nickodemus & Spy from Cairo Remix) / Mounqaliba – Rising: The Remixes / Six Degrees
DJ Rekha & Dave Sharma / Pyar Baile f. Zuzuka Poderosa & Meetu Chilana (Hindi only mix)/ single / Bazaar Bass Music
Dr Israel / Ghetto Defendant / Ghetto Defendant / MOD Technologies
Interview with DJ Sep of Dub Mission / fromerly of Off The Beaten Path
Dr Israel / Slaver / Ghetto Defendant / MOD Technologies
Jahdan Blakkamoore / We Won’t Break / Babylon Nightmare / Lustre Kings Productions
Interview with DJ Sep
Jahdan Blakkamoore / Proverbs Remix / Babylon Nightmare / Lustre Kings Productions
Interview with DJ Sep
Dr Israel / Armagideon Time / Inna City Pressure / ROIR
See-I / Dangerous (Subatomic Soundsystem Remix) / See-I Remixed / Fort Knox
The Glitch Mob / We Swarm (Beats Antique Remix) / Elektrafone / Antique
Fat Freddy’s Drop / The Raft / Dr Boondigga & the Big BW / The Drop
Leftfield / Chant of the Poor Man / Rhythm & Stealth / Sony BMG
Sola Rosa / Humanised f. Bajka / Get It Together / Melt Pot Music
Sola Rosa / Get It Together / Get It Together / Melt Pot Music
Ocote Soul Sounds / En El Temblor / Taurus / ESL Music
Da Cruz / Boom Boom Boom (Da Cruz Dancefloor Subversiva Mix) / Boom Boom Remixes / Six Degrees
Grace Jones / Devil Dub / Hurricane / Pais America
Hello Seahorse / Ginebra Dulce / Lejos. No Tan Lejos / Nacional
Girl In A Coma / Transmission / Adventures in Coverland / Blackheart Records
Girl In A Coma / As The World Falls / Adventures in Coverland / Blackheart Records
Santogold / Shove It / Santogold / Downtown
J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science / Go To Work f. Pimps of Joytime / Undercover / OM
Interview with J Boogie of J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science (http://jboogie.com/)
check out J’s fan contest here: http://on.fb.me/JBoogie_fan_contest
J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science / Magik f. Aima the Dreamer & Raashan Ahmad (Egyptian Lover Remix) / Undercover / Om
J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science / No Freedom f. Afrolicious & MC Zulu (Kush Arora Remix) / Undercover / Om
J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science / El Ritmo f. Duece Eclipse & Caipo of Bang Data (DJ Sabo Remix) / Undercover / Om
Interview with J Boogie
Rocky Dawuni / Walls Tumbling Down (J Boogie Remix) / Hymns For the Rebel Soul / Aquarian Records
DJ Theory & J Boogie / Take Your Time / Heartbreak Presents Moombahsoul Vol III / White Label
Al B Sure / Night & Day (Moombahsoul Remix) / Heartbreak Presents Moombahsoul Vol III / Warner
Interview with J Boogie
Captain Planet / Dame Agua / Cookin Gumbo / Bastard Jazz
Boogat/ El Hueso / unreleased
Miguel Migs / The System f. Capleton / Outside the Skyline / Om
Interview with J Boogie
J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science / Space & Time f. Gina Rene & Rich Armstrong / Undercover / Om
See-I / Dangerous / See-I / Fort Knox Five
The Electric / Sometimes / Life Is Moving / OGS
Thunderball / Low Down Weather (Empresarios mix) / 12 Mile High Remixed / ESL Music
Empresarios / Bailando / Bestia EP / Fort Knox
Mr Scruff vs. Kirsty Almeida / Pickled Spider / Turntables on the Hudson Vol 8 / Wonderwheel
Now that the archive is no longer available on the KPFA site, I am updating this post with the interview as originally aired.
Here is a bit of the interview with Zuzuka that didn’t air on Oct 31st. The first part, she talks about the cover of Katia Flavia she performed at Tormenta Tropical in September 2011. The song is by Fausto Fawcett, a man with a mad crush on Farrah Fawcett. She talks about her love of Fernanda Abreu. In the second one she shares her musical influences.
Here is the Fausto version:
And Fernanda’s version (this is the semi official version and not the unofficial soft porn version also available on youtube:
If you aren’t familiar with Walter Kitundu can read a bit about him and the MacArthur Genius Award he just received on SFGate and listen to an MOTW interview & performance with him performing along with Robin Sukhadia as Field.
Back in July 2004, I received a request to interview Field. The description peaked my curiousity. Tablas and phonoharp? I didn’t know what that was but I wanted to hear it. Robin Sukhadia and Walter Kitundu came in for live studio performance and interview at KPFA on July 13, 2004. Click here to listen to Field’s performance and interview. Check out the pics below to see the instruments Walter brought in to the studio.
I sound really silly and giddy during the interview with Field because it was just so cool and exciting to be there. The instruments Walter builds are just so fascinating and exciting to look at it brings out the little kid in you. The whole time I just wanted to jump up and down in giddy excitement. (Then the kindergartener in me wanted to push him aside screaming ‘my toy, my toy, i wanna play!’ Ok, that didn’t go through my head but the phonoharp is that cool it would be fought over in a group of big kids.)
Fortunately, I am not alone. I went to a performance this year. The room was a bit empty but as he played and people saw what he was playing, they came and stayed. When he stopped the kids of all ages immediately zoomed in on him and his instruments asking questions and wanting to touch his phonokora and phonoharp. The instruments incite excitement and curiosity – two very good things. Walter has a sweet quiet demeanor which changes when he talks about his instruments. He gets all crazy maniacal and foams at the mouth. Just kidding. He doesn’t do anything of the sort but does share some interesting thoughts about his instruments and music. You can check him out for yourself on Sparks.
P.S. He takes great photographs of nature – mostly birds. He has some amazing close ups and action shots.
P.S.S. Walter Kitundu & Robin Sukhadia are performing at the Sangati Center on Nov. 22, 2008
I had the opportunity to interview Batista for Carnaval this past May. I checked out his performance. He put on a good show and was comfortable onstage. I didn’t find much information online but found enough information on him and it turned out to be an interesting interview covering some of my favorite topics. We sound a little disoriented (at least I was feeling it) because we were right behind the stage where Frankely’s set had just started. You can listen to the performance and interview here. The performance starts at around 61to 62 minutes into the special broadcast and the interview starts at around 78 minutes.
Interview & Live Studio Performance
May 22, 2006
Susana Baca – Vocals
Sergio Valdeos – Acoustic & Requinto Guitar
Juan Medrano Cotito – Cajon
David Pinto – Double, Electric & baby bass
Hugo Bravo – Percussion
The session starts with two songs from her latest album “Travesias”. First is Viento Del Olvido followed by Siempre, a song wrought with emotion – the emotion that comes with asking your querido to be there during your final moments of life.
The tenderness & beauty of her voice envelopes you when you hit play on the machine. In person in her concerts are no different. Susana Baca comes out to the stage; she extends arms wide as if to give you, the audience, a tender virtual group hug. She sings with a love, a real passion, for the music she interprets. Her voice & her band envelope you in the beauty of their music.
VZ: Welcome to KPFA.
SB: Thank you very much Victoria. I’m happy to be on your show.
VZ: Thank you, I’m not sure you understood what I just said but (laughter)…it’s all good. We just heard various songs from your new disc, Travesias (Voyages). It’s the fourth CD you’ve released with Luaka Bop. On this CD you sing…on the last CD you sang in English but on this one you sing in Spanish, French, Haitian Patois, Neapolitan and English.
SB: And no…in Portuguese. (Laughter)
VZ: Oh yes, I forgot the Portuguese. You have always interpreted songs written by poets. On this CD I notice the presence of poets and composers from places like Peru, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, and Chile. I notice that you chose politically engaged composers – many of these were exiled from their respective countries of birth. Was this an intentional choice of yours? How did you choose these songs? Was there a particular theme?
SB: I don’t know…I journey around the world and…I sometimes come across feelings and textures that move me…they speak to me and make me want to sing them, you know? I’ve had the opportunity of enjoying the sensitivities of people like…this Greek woman who spent her exile on the Black Isle during the Greek dictatorships. This woman – Da? – produced a piece on Neruda. So I have some poems by Neruda put to music by this woman. Then there is Guillermina…on our CD that…there are things that coincide on this CD. There is a desire to cross paths, to make a connection with other peoples, with other sensitivities. I sometimes have felt a bit of the limitation of language and I try…I want to achieve a much stronger closeness than that which can be ordinarily attained – do it through the music, you know.
In that sense Travesias is very, very ambitious. And it’s true; you are making me realize that many politically outspoken composers are brought together on this CD. I have much to say. I love what we chose of Violeta Parra’s. It’s a song that obsessed me intensely. We didn’t do the whole song because it carries tremendous emotional weight – so we did three of the five verses. Then there is a song that seems to be thanking God for all he has given us…for the life he’s given us. It’s tinged in irony and double meaning, like all Afro Peruvian songs are. There are songs completely coated in double meaning sung by slaves or blacks – sung by us – that intend to connect with someone like us but that won’t be understood by other people. In the case of Merci Bon Dieu, God is apparently being thanked, yet in fact it talks about there not being enough food to eat, and that the maize hasn’t grown sufficiently or if it has they still can’t get to eat it. So…thank you God for the misery…that’s a strong statement!
And I remember hearing this song on the radio about twenty years ago and falling in love with it. In those days we would tape stuff off the radio. (The importance of radio…some day I should talk about that.) So we taped it and I learned it…I looked for the pronunciation because it was in Creole. And when we were going to debut it in New York some three years ago we happened to be traveling in this taxi. The taxi driver was this very black gentleman, and we started rehearsing the song in the taxi. I was with Ricardo. So we start rehearsing and I start singing, and the driver turns around and says, “that is from Haiti,” and begins speaking in French. And then he starts singing with us. The guy was Haitian and it was his song! What a way to connect…music is so beautiful; it connects you with others like that. It connects you with people that aren’t necessarily intellectuals, poets, or poetry connoisseurs. It creates bonds with common folk who feel it and that’s what is most beautiful about looking for and finding these songs, and finding that they are connected.
I invited Marc Ribot to play on this CD. And when I sent him the demo he flipped out because one of the songs belonged to his guitar teacher Franz Casseus. Marc has produced a whole project on the works of Franz Casseus. And it so happens that Merci Bon Dieu is by Franz Casseus. So everything keeps on linking up and linking together…it seems magical.
VZ: Yeah, that is very magical. It’s miraculous how we make these connections without intending to.
SONG ID: MERCI BON DIEU
VZ: After putting out so many CD’s you still seem to feel the need to promote Afro Peruvian culture. Has the attitude towards indigenous people and blacks changed in Peru? Or is there still a level of silence…in English we call it internalized hatred, a hatred towards being black or indigenous?
SB: The reality is that…I still feel there exists insecurity and a relationship between poor, black and indigenous. You know? So there is relationship between this and people sometimes hide, they sometimes hide what they feel, what they express. So I believe the importance of highlighting forgotten cultures is a never-ending priority…on…on the radio waves…invade. Invade it because the there were so many years of silence. So we must compensate for that silence.
On an emotional front, I will always want to open up more space for that silenced history and that silenced music. I feel its dissemination is wider now, its receiving commercial attention and all that. But the connection to that human being is missing, the one who is listening to it on some corner somewhere – that lady or youngster who says, “Yeah, I’m black. I am a mix of indigenous and black, and this is what I am. And I have worth.” It’s important. It’s very important.
Of course, up until a few years ago I was very preoccupied and felt like I was on a mission…doing this important work of showing the world, of showcasing Afro Peruvian music and culture on big stages around the world, as I’ve had the chance to. Interestingly, now that my music is well known, there has been a boomerang effect back in Peru as well. Young musicians in Peru who have my music and material as a frame of reference are now also looking inwards and searching for the roots and are creating their own styles of expression. They are combining electronica with cajones. They are combining rock with Afro Peruvian music. So there is a new scene emerging that fills me with happiness. This…this shows it wasn’t in vain. It wasn’t in vain.
And now, with the new album Travesias, I felt I wanted to open myself up a bit more to the world. I wanted to reach out to other frontiers, cross other borders. So I looked for love songs, poems that coincidentally always speak of women, of the beauty of women. This was also a conscious choice. Why? Because I heard many, many songs as a child that spoke horribly of women. So I feel that, through knowing some incredible women, as Silvio Rodriguez’ song says, “There is no story that can hold them back.” So I feel I will always sing to women’s beauty, to women’s power, because I have known extraordinary women, because I know extraordinary women.
VZ: I’m glad you gave me that piece of information because I wanted to ask you about that. I’ve noticed you always sing love songs written by men for women, right? And sometimes, when female interpreters sing those songs they change the gender. So…
SB: [Laughter] I don’t like that. [More laughter] I don’t like it and I think it’s beautiful to say…for example in Pensamiento, “tell her I think about her even if she doesn’t think about me.” That’s what the author said! Plus, the author was…his nickname was Teofilito but it was Rafael Gomez. So, this gentleman was at a party and he was trying to court this woman and he refers to her through a flower’s name so that no one will notice. So, who are we to modify that? You can’t change that; you don’t have the right to change that. You have to sing it with the same emotion…
VZ: Well done is what I say.
VZ:Your comments lead me to another question. Many years ago you and your husband founded an institute, Negro Continuo. I wanted to know how that institute is doing and if you are still involved in it.
SB: Yes, we are very immersed in it. So immersed that we have decided to move the Negro Continuo Institute. We are moving it 100 kilometers out of Lima, to the coast….to a place where sugar cane and cotton were grown and exploited. Both of these are powerful symbols of the work slaves endured, of the economic abuse, of the abuse of worker’s rights – and this place eventually became a cooperative. The plantations were expropriated and converted into cooperatives, but without any formation or preparation – they were simply laws passed at a particular political juncture. When…what do you call it when…they pass a law…I’m forgetting the name. But it’s something that looks good on the surface but doesn’t tackle the root of the issue. In other words, they instituted an agrarian reform but didn’t give people the education and training to move it forward. So that cooperative has had to focus on simple survival. It’s a very poor place with a very rudimentary economy where people are peasants and fishermen/fisherwomen. It’s an impoverished place. Since they are also few in numbers, they have no worth politically speaking. So no one heeds them any attention. We’ve gone to live there. We’ve set up shop there. We moved Negro Continuo there. We are in the process of building a cultural center. It’s going to include a museum. It has a
documentation center and will have a small recording studio to access the talent of some of the young folks there. You can find them there, working on their stuff.
But it isn’t just a cultural project – we are becoming part of the community. Gaining an understanding of their necessities. They said it themselves, “You are an important person. The president honored you when you won the Grammy. Could you please tell him that we need a drainage and sewage system?” The freeway was going to cut straight through the town. The community was able to stop this. The community now has a drainage system. A pre-school meal hall has been set up with German assistance. So many beneficial things have been achieved for the community. So we plan to go work there to promote a revival of the culture, to foster and grow the talent that exists there.
VZ: It’s great that you have been able to provide that kind of support.
SB: Culture, society, and reality…it’s imperative that artists…if we only inhabit our fantasy worlds, the beauty of making music, the happiness of creating it, if we don’t….that’s not the only thing out there. Many wrongs are taking place around us. An artist needs to be conscious of and interacting with that reality.
VZ: We only have a little time left and I want to ask you about…you came to the U.S. in August of 2005 to study at Tulane University. I believe you were going to do research on the music of the African Diaspora, as well as study Louis Armstrong’s music. Can you tell us a bit about that?
SB: Yes, the importance of African-Americans in music. And also the social component. It’s a co-scholarship I’m sharing with Ricardo Pereira (her husband). I did the first five months. I had the chance to be in New Orleans in August. At the time, there were festivals taking place all over the city. I had never been in New Orleans before. It was my first time and I was very happy to be in a place whose hero is a musician and black. So, for me it was…I was writing these letters to Cotito. Juan Medrano ‘Cotito’ is the percussionist – he plays the cajón. And I told Cotito, “This is our city. We have to come sing here.” Then the tragedy of Katrina struck and those were very, very sad months. I still feel pain when I think back to that moment that we, that the world, experienced by seeing New Orleans – a beautiful city with its people, musicians and culture – abandoned, completely abandoned. We couldn’t believe that in a country like the U.S., with the capacity and infrastructure to deal with all sorts of challenges…I couldn’t believe so many days passed and New Orleans was ignored, I mean there were people rescued days later who had received no food aid whatsoever. How doctors had to struggle just trying to save their patients’ lives. That story, I believe the true story of what went down in New Orleans needs to be documented.
VZ: Yeah, that was an incredible tragedy.
SB: In the end, I believe the residents of New Orleans will know that the American people – the American people – the people rushed to the Red Cross to donate medicines… it’s the government that neglected New Orleans. Not the people. The people rushed to their aid. I saw it in Chicago. They rushed to help and donated what they didn’t even have to…to solve the problems New Orleans was facing. In any case, I was luckily able to continue my scholarship at the University of Chicago. They courteously opened their doors to me. I stayed in Chicago. That university has the most important archives on music from New Orleans in the Chicago area. So I continued my work…but I will forever carry the pain of witnessing the destruction of New Orleans.
VZ: And you are now using everything that you researched at the University of Chicago in your work…
SB: Yes, soon I expect to present some of that work. The neatest thing is to encounter areas of musical coincidence, which are things that we still…we still need to research in more depth…I don’t feel comfortable speaking to it directly. I am not a researcher; I’m just a curious person. And I’m getting a chance to study the work done by historians – true researchers. It is very serious work. So I don’t dare say more other than that we will be bringing musicians from New Orleans and Afro Peruvian musicians together. And that coming together will not only be a passionate musical encounter, it will also express a connection with the past, the present and the future of music. That’s what I feel. KPFA is obviously invited to this event…
VZ: …Thank you. So what comes next after this tour? Are you thinking of another album?
SB: Well, we have to finish the work on New Orleans. We have…we have a collaborative project pending with a modern dance group from Chicago, Luna Negra. We will put on a collaboration that…we will put on a workshop that showcases Afro Peruvian dance and then will do two concerts together in Chicago in November. The musicians and the dancers from Luna Negra will be under the direction of Eduardo Vilaro. That’s a collaboration that has me very excited.
As to my work in Peru…I have to…it’s…that work happens like droplets of water, you know? Singing in Peru is very, very challenging. Why? Because we demand a certain level of professionalism. So our presentations need to be on the same level as they are all over the world. Our shows back home need to reflect the same quality as a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. In other words, the show can’t be half assed simply because we are performing in Latin America or in the Third World, you know? It can’t be. It has to have the same stature. And we are up to the challenge. But, there is a lack of production…the technical infrastructure, those details needed for a good concert, you know? That’s the struggle we are facing. And I’m very stubborn.
VZ: I want to thank you for joining us today. Talking with you and listening to your musicians has been an honor and a privilege. Before we sign off, can you tell us who your musicians are?
SB: Well, I’ve been working with this group of musicians for many years. At this point we aren’t just colleagues, we’ve become family. I am a godmother to some of their kids; I’ve been the matron of honor at weddings…we are very, very connected. A lot of love exists between us. And that comes through in our music. Sergio Valdeos is the guitar player, and he is probably the youngest of the group. He was the last one to join the group, yet he’s been with us for about five years. Juan Medrano “Cotito” is in charge of the Afro Peruvian percussion and plays the cajón –an instrument that occupies a central role in our music. I’ve been working with him for about…20 years. David Pinto is the musical director and he plays the double, electric and baby bass. Hugo Bravo plays all sorts of percussion and creates the shades and nuances that are so necessary to…express our music, you know? I have a very strong spiritual connection to him. He comes from a village on the northern Coast of Peru, Sana, on the Lambayeque, that occupies a very important place within the African Diaspora. And then there is Fico Hoyle who is our sound engineer and who we see as another musician within the band. He is a musician who does his thing and plays his part while controlling the switches in the sound booth. So that’s the band…there’s a bigger group of people who work with us as well, but that list is too long to enumerate.
VZ: Thank you for telling us a bit about the musicians.
You have been listening to an interview with Susana Baca here on KPFA 94.1FM. Thank you Susana.
Fernando Fico Hoyle – Sound Engineer for Susana Baca
Michael Yoshida – KPFA Sound Engineer
Elena Pena – Tour Manager
Mateo Nube – Transcript Translation