Afropop Expert Georges Collinet's Favorite Tunes

Collinet is one of the foremost experts on African Pop music and perhaps the best-known broadcaster on the African continent. He shares his personal playlist as part of Tell Me More's series, 'In Your Ear.'

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Before we get to my commentary, how about a little music break. Let's go to our occasional segment we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask guests on our program to tell us what they listen to when they're trying to relax or find inspiration. Today we get the personal playlist of Georges Collinet. He is one of the foremost experts on African Pop music or Afropop. He's probably the best known broadcaster on the African continent. And here's was playing in his ear:

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M YOUR PUPPET")

GEORGES COLLINET: Hello, I'm Georges Collinet, of Afropop Worldwide. My favorite tunes that are always crawling in my ears and my feeble brain are. (Singing) I'm your puppet. Pa-pa-da-da-da. Pa-pa-pa.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M YOUR PUPPET")

JAMES AND BOBBY PURIFY: (Singing) I'll do funny things if you want me to. I'm your puppet.

COLLINET: That's by James and Bobby Purify. And I remember them because they were people of when I came to America the first time, that's one of the songs that was just haunting me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M YOUR PUPPET")

PURIFY: Darling, you got full control of your puppet.

COLLINET: I could live without it and I couldn't - I had to listen to it all the time. And after that I met Ali Farka Toure when I was doing my show. And Ali Farka was a sound engineer in Bamako, Mali. And one day I went to see him when I was doing one of these tours for the United States for the Voice of America and Ali was there and said, oh my god, Georges Collinet. Wow. Unbelievable. And we started talking and he said you want to listen to my record? I said well, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ALI FARKA TOURE, GUITARIST: (Singing) (Foreign language spoken)

COLLINET: It sounded like one of those Mississippi blues people. I said what is this? This is not blues. This is not Malian music. He said no. Of course it's the Malian music. I mean where do you think that comes from? It comes from Mali. I mean all these people, the John Lee Hookers, and all these people, they are all from Mali.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

COLLINET: And Ali Farka Toure was really - I was so lucky to see him just before he died.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

COLLINET: And then the other thing is when I was a crazy young man during my Voice of America days in the '70s, I used to listen to: and they call the wind Mary. And that was Jimi Hendrix. Man, Hendrix, oh, unbelievable.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "WIND CRIES MARY")

JIMI HENDRIX: (Singing) The tiny island sags downstream. 'Cause the life that lived is, is dead. And the wind screams Mary.

COLLINET: I liked him because he was one of the - you know, it was one of these days, this time where we were all turned on. And by turned on it doesn't mean that necessarily that you had you were taking drugs or anything. But all the environment, all the music and everything else was turned on and it was just a fabulous era.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "WIND CRIES MARY")

HENDRIX: (Singing) And with his crutch, it's old age, and it's wisdom.

MARTIN: That was Georges Collinet telling us what's playing in his ear. And if you'd like to hear my conversation with Georges Collinet that we had recently, please go to our website, go to NPR.org, click on the Programs tab, then on TELL ME MORE.

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