Freedom Principle Black History Month Special: Cumbia in Colombia

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With respect to February’s Black History Month, The Freedom Principle presents four programs of musical genres borne from diverse origins. In doing so, we continue a tradition here at CJAM of recognizing the contributions to the arts of peoples from the African diaspora, experiences which impact and help define our global culture. Click for more information on the first, second, and third parts of the series.

Cumbia left the countryside of the Atlantic coast in the 1940s, moving to the urban centres to become the dance of the middle and upper class. Its distinctive loping beat entrenched itself as distinctly Colombian. The Discos Fuentes label was started in 1934 by Don Antonio Fuentes. The label grew to include everything in-house – the recording, the pressing, cassette manufacturing, printing and distribution. The label remains the oldest and still largest label in Colombia. Discos Fuentes continues to work their back catalog, releasing and re-releasing various compilations and combinations all the time, often with album covers which attempt to project a certain sexuality. The effort on the covers, however, is mute to the dynamic grooves that pop from the tracks of the great cumbia rhythms within.

Cumbia in Colombia airs live on Friday February 28, 2014 from 5:00-6:30pm.

Freedom Principle Black History Month Special: Congolese Rumba – The Rhythm of Independence

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With respect to February’s Black History Month, The Freedom Principle presents four programs of musical genres borne from diverse origins. In doing so, we continue a tradition here at CJAM of recognizing the contributions to the arts of peoples from the African diaspora, experiences which impact and help define our global culture. Click for the first part and second part of the series.

The backlash of Cuban son montuno across the Atlantic had a profound impact on the African continent. Nowhere was this more the case than Belgian Congo where it played a strong role during the Congo Crisis (1960-1965) and after independence. Pioneered by Joseph Kabesele (Le Grand Kalle) who composed “Independence Cha Cha” and nurtured by the sorcerer of the guitar, Franco Luambo and his T.P.O.K. Jazz, Congolese Rumba stormed the continent to be adopted in countries from Kenya to Cameroon. The music represented an Africa free of colonial rule and served as evidence of the excellence which could be derived from Africa’s own in expressing freedom from oppression.

Discover the sounds of Congolese Rumba Friday February 21, 2014 from 5:00-6:30pm.

Freedom Principle Black History Month Special: Chimurenga (Music of Struggle)

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With respect to February’s Black History Month, The Freedom Principle presents four programs of musical genres borne from diverse origins. In doing so, we continue a tradition here at CJAM of recognizing the contributions to the arts of peoples from the African diaspora, experiences which impact and help define our global culture. For the first part of the series, Desert Blues – A New Generation of Griots, click here.

In 1970s Rhodesia, a cultural reawakening occurred which brought pride back to the Shona majority. The cry of revolution against the British administration was led by the music of Thomas Mapfumo. Recorded in the midst of a guerilla war to overthrow the white minority leadership, the soundtrack was released as “Hokoyo!” meaning “Watch Out!” Borrowing from traditional Shona songs, Mapfumo transcribed the sounds of the mbira (African thumb piano) to guitar and the tripping rhythms of the hosho (cowrie shells tied around the ankle) to the drum kit hi-hat. The resulting ‘Chimurenga’ music (chimurenga means struggle) propelled a revolutionary war resulting in independence. Free elections were held in 1980 followed by a celebratory performance by one Bob Marley in the newly established Zimbabwe.

The Chimurenga (Music of Struggle) Special airs on Friday February 14, 2014 from 5:00-6:30pm.

Freedom Principle Black History Month Special: Desert Blues – A New Generation of Griots

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With respect to February’s Black History Month, The Freedom Principle will present four programs of musical genres borne from diverse origins. In doing so, we continue a tradition here at CJAM of recognizing the contributions to the arts of peoples from the African diaspora, experiences which impact and help define our global culture. The first in the series is Desert Blues – A New Generation of Griots on Friday February 7, 2014 from 5:00 – 6:30pm.

No contemporary music appears as valid to the struggle of freedom than that which currently comes from the desert of north Africa. The tuareg have been in a fight for independence for over one hundred years. The current rebellion, started in 2006, hit a peak in 2012 when armed militant factions of Islamic fundamentalists fleeing Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya brought increased instability to regions in northern Mali and Niger. In communities that were infiltrated, shiria law was established effectively outlawing music. Fearing persecution, many musicians fled to neighbouring countries to continue to record. Consequently, 2013 saw an influx of superb releases feeding a global appetite for “Desert Blues” with lyrics expressing both anger for the unstable political situation and a devout love for their African homeland.

Freedom Principle Top Ten of 2013

The Freedom Principle (Tom Fleming)
Top Ten Releases of 2013
(airing 5:00pm Friday, January 3, 2014)
CJAM 99.1 FM

The music of northern Africa (Mali, Niger, etc.) must take centre stage in any 2013 year ending list of world music. Either driven from their native land for artistic reasons or remaining to face prosecution including death, the musicians of north Africa continue to resist militants and imposition of sharia law to produce the most important and politically poignant music on the planet.

Here is The Freedom Principle’s list for top world releases in the order in which they were released…

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