Heavy Rotation
2:32 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:57 pm

Heavy Rotation is a monthly sampler of public radio hosts' favorite songs. Check out past editions here.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. It's time now for Heavy Rotation. This is our series where public radio hosts tell us about a song that they love. And this month's song is by an artist from Mali. His name is Habib Koite. The song's called "L.A."

Koite got to know Los Angeles while he was touring the United States, and his song found its way to a Emmanuel Nado. He's the host of "Africa Mix" on KALW in San Francisco. One instrument stood out for Nado. Here, it was the banjo.

EMMANUEL NADO: For many years, I have thought that the banjo was an American instrument.

(SOUNDBITE OF HABIB KOITE SONG, "L.A.")

HABIB KOITE: (Singing in foreign language).

GREENE: In fact, as Nado learned, the banjo is from Africa. The slave trade brought it to America.

NADO: I've never seen any African artists, or contemporary African artists, playing the banjo. And when I saw Habib Koite using the banjo in his latest album, I was so happy.

(SOUNDBITE OF HABIB KOITE SONG, "L.A.")

KOITE: (Singing in foreign language).

NADO: The lyrics are in the native language of Mali. Habib compares the landscape of Los Angeles to that of his native Mali.

GREENE: One part of the song is in English. It's a trip to the bar.

(SOUNDBITE OF HABIB KOITE SONG, "L.A.")

KOITE: (Singing) One shot, two shot, three shot, four shot, five...

GREENE: The song is "L.A." from musician Habib Koite. It was chosen by Emmanuel Nado. He's the host of "Africa Mix" on KALW in San Francisco. And you can hear more Heavy Rotation selections at nprmusic.org. This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.