I just got word of a remarkable internet-radio experiment out of Cape Town. The Pan African Space Station was a 30-day musical intervention broadcasting music from global Africa, and greater Cape Town, from September 12 (Biko Day) to October 12, 2008.
Some of the most beautiful, interesting, and cutting-edge developments in melody and rhythm are coming out of contemporary Africa, and the musical traditions being blended in PASS’s broadcasts – well, you can’t help but smile. In the archive, you’ll find a live performance by Madala Kunene in a slave church, with guitar and choral vocals, that is especially beautiful and stirring. Sampling from the rest of the archive, you’ll experience West African melodies, Francophone savoir-faire, American jazz and electronic music, and tribal rhythms converging all at once. It’s an endlessly fascinating look into African-based musical traditions – like jazz and hip-hop – that were formulated in America, now returning and becoming adapted and developed and accented by Africa once again.
And if you’re not too fond of it, I guarantee: your grandkids will love you for turning them on to this station. They’ll think you’re the coolest.