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So, April 13 is the first day of the 2007 WTJU Rock and Folk Marathon, which is a pretty exciting time for those of us who have struggled through the awkwardness of the joint rock-folk-classical-jazz marathon, and we'll finally get a chance to show off some of the more interesting rock-related shows while, you know, requesting money from you. You should listen. And pledge some support.

Theres even a dance party DJ'd by all TJU DJs at the Tea House on April 21st.

But mainly, Way tight shows. Full schedule isn't online yet, but paper copies should be starting to show up in various spots around town. Heres what the Beard Hour is doing to help:

Time to Face the Sun: Afrobeat and Highlife in West Africa, 1960-1980
Sunday, 4/15, 4PM - 7PM

In the 1920s and 1930s, Highlife Music was born in Ghana. It was a combination of African Jazz, Congolese guitar sounds, Palmwine, Cuban and Latin music, and Ghanaian big bands and army ensembles. The music would eventually spread into Nigeria, and become prominent as a result of musicians like E.T. Mensah, Al Haji K. Frimpong, Victor Olaiya and their bands: the Archibogs, the Akazas, the Top Modern Stars, The Lebartone Aces, The Dandies, The Ramblers, The Tempos, The Rhythm Fadakas, The Titibitis, The Melody Maestros, The Rhythm Skies, and the Inter-Reformers. Along with Highlife-spinoffs like Juju and Guinean swing, West African music in the sixties and seventies would produce some of the most memorable and amazingly talented musicians and recordings to ever come about, in the nations of Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Benin, and Gambia especially. In the 1970s, the sounds of James Brown and American soul and funk music filtered into West Africa, and an even greater dimension was added to an already fantastic mixture of sounds and influences, resulting in the birth of afrobeat on the streets of Lagos, exemplified by Fela Kuti and the superhuman drumming of Tony Allen, as well as musicians like BLO, the Apostles, the Funkees, and the Stooges-esque Ofo & the Black Company. Join Nate, Adam, Mike and John, on Sunday, April 15th, from 4 PM until 7 PM for three Hours of fantastic West African music from the sixties and seventies, and hear funk and soul music in a totally new and different way.

Go Chubby Boy: Two Hours of Mannie Fresh and New Orleans Hip Hop
Sunday Night / Monday Morning, 4/16, 1AM - 3AM

For almost Twenty Years now, Mannie Fresh has been at the center of New Orleans Hip Hop, starting around the age of ten as a member of New York Incorporated, one of the first New Orleans Hip Hop Crews. In 1987 he started working with rapper Gregory D. The partnership would be somewhat short-lived, but their work would help to lay the foundation for New Orleans Bounce, the Hip Hop style that would eventually dominate in New Orleans. Mannie Fresh's own aesthetic has mirrored that of Bounce, but he has managed to make beats and songs that always sound unique and iconoclastic, creating a distinctly Southern hip hop that nonetheless sounds far removed from the music coming out of Atlanta or Texas. He's managed to remain engaging and interesting for his entire career, using his trademark high hats and old-school New Orleans horn lines, as well as his always hilarious intros and outros, working mainly with Cash Money artists like Juvenile, Lil' Wayne, and B.G, but also UGK, T.I. Mack 10, Young Jeezy, and Trick Daddy. Join Nate on Sunday Night / Monday Morning, April 16th, from 1 until 3 AM, as we hear from one of the greatest producers ever, the man who helped to put his own vision of the bottom of the map on the map.

Set Me Free: A Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized Retrospective
Tuesday, 4/17, 6AM-8AM

Throughout their five year career as a band, Spacemen 3 covered pretty diverse ground, ranging from fuzzy psychedelic rock'n'roll, lengthy experimental pieces, bluesy garage rock, hushed, somber songs, and rushes of distortion, all of which culminated in the masterful 1987 record 'The Perfect Prescription.' Tensions within the band, primarily between the two main contributors, Jason Pierce, or Jay Spaceman, and Pete Kemper, or Sonic Boom, were already apparent at this point., and while Spacemen 3 would make it through a few more releases, Jay Spacemen would ultimately leave to form Spiritualized. This would be an equally important and impressive band, creating a kind of distorted British psychedelic gospel unlike anything else. Join Nate on Tuesday, the 17th of April, from 6 until 8 AM, as he pulls from the major Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized releases, as well as live recordings and side projects, for a morning of repentance and healing. The church of Jay Spaceman will be in session.

And, I'm finally doing a Silver Jews Show
Wednesday Night / Thursday Morning, 4/19, 1AM-3AM

I never got around to doing an official sounding plug for this show but you know the deal: probably my favorite songwriter and the soundtrack to my entire tenure in this town. Hear me wrap up five years of living in Charlottesville with two hours of the Silver Jews.

91.1, y'all. Or you can always listen online