World Music with Deirdre Saravia

Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM

World Music with Deirdre Saravia takes you on a musical journey to some of the world’s most fascinating places.   From China to Brazil and the Balkans to Indonesia, World Music will introduce you to sounds from a world far from your own.  A world traveler herself, the Belfast, Northern Ireland native introduces each piece with details about the music, the musicians and the culture that produced them.

Saravia credits the work of performers like Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon for bringing world music to the attention of American audiences, but she has also seen a change in attitude in America towards foreigners.

Today foreigners feel more comfortable in celebrating their uniqueness, and as a result, there is a burgeoning interest in world music. "Not understanding the language is no longer a problem," says Saravia. "People enjoy the music for the beat, the instrumentation."

Though each World Music show is built around a central theme, it will rarely center on one type of music. Saravia strives for variety, though there will always be a connection between the songs she plays; music from as many as 15 countries can be represented in the same show.

"You come to learn that people are basically the same throughout the world," she says. "They sing about the same things."

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see Deirdre's World Music Picks, a closer look at some of the most notable world musicians.

I recommend two ways of listening to Tanya Tagaq's latest record, Retribution. One is with eyes closed, given over wholly to the experience of a dense, immersive collection of sounds unlike any sounds on any other albums in your collection. The other is with eyes open, standing in front of a mirror, with one hand on your throat. The former is to better appreciate this record as a shockingly inventive achievement in music production. The latter is to better appreciate the marvel of the human body.

Derek Gripper was a musician with a problem. He'd been playing classical music since he was 6 years old — violin, then piano and finally guitar. He was poised for an international career as a classical guitarist. But he remembers going to the homeland of one of his favorite composers, Johann Sebastian Bach.

"It felt kind of strange," he says. "It felt strange to be in Germany playing Bach to them."

It was just two years ago that Mauritanian vocalist Noura Mint Seymali hit the international scene — but now, it's hard to imagine the scope of African music without her. The singer and her band blow listeners away with giddily woozy and dreamlike vocals; blistering guitar played by her husband, Jeiche Ould Chighaly; and the grounding elements of Ousmane Touré's bass and Matthew Tinari's drums.

Los Angeles musician Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker had a problem: A few years ago, he was asked to tackle the weighty subject of Latin American modernism in sound. His response was to invent a new persona, and to restrict himself to a spare and specific set of tools. Under the new name Frankie Reyes, he set off to record a dozen instrumental versions of Spanish-language ballads and waltzes from the 1930s through the '60s, using only a vintage analog synthesizer.

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