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Sirius XM's Crank Radio Gives Go-Go Music A National Platform

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

There is a new national audience for go-go music, the sound, style and funky beats home-grown right here in Washington, D.C. Earlier this month, satellite radio listeners heard this debut.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SHORTY CORLEONE: You're listening to "Crank Radio."

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yeah. Yeah. You are officially inside the crank zone, where go-go is life and life is go-go.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: "Crank Radio" on Sirius XM is cohosted by producer and Rare Essence alum Charles Garris, also known as Shorty Corleone.

Shorty, welcome to the program.

CORLEONE: Lulu, how you doing?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I am doing really well for hearing your voice. And the other co-host is DJ and producer Rico Anderson.

Thank you for joining us, too.

RICO ANDERSON: Hello, Lulu. How are you?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I am well. Shorty, you and Rico have been trying to get this off the ground, I think, for about a decade, right? I mean, how did you guys convince Sirius XM to pick up the show, finally?

CORLEONE: Oh, man - consistent persistence.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Persistence overcomes resistance.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is a true thing. Rico, tell us about the show. How do you sort of divide up the hosting with Shorty?

ANDERSON: I pretty much take on the musical side of it and the production side, primarily. Shorty is - does a lot of the speaking roles on the show, so he's more of the vocal host. And then I come on and do the crank mix kind of like in the middle of the show. And we interact with each other a lot, but we don't do a whole lot of talking because we just like to have a lot more of the music playing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Early on in your debut show, there's a clip from a very famous go-go fan. Let's hear it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MURIEL BOWSER: When you come to D.C., you will know that it is the law of the land that go-go is the official music of Washington, D.C.

CORLEONE: Muriel Bowser.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's right. There she is.

CORLEONE: That was our go-go trivia, Lulu. Good job.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let me ask you this. Go-go has become political. It was at the center of a conflict over gentrification in D.C. What does the music say about the place that it comes from? Tell people who don't know about go-go music why go-go music is so awesome.

CORLEONE: Go-go music is the fabric of Washington, D.C., and everybody has their own emotional story of how they were introduced to go-go - if it was from their parents, an uncle or relative, a next-door neighbor. At one time, you - soon as you walk outside, you would hear the soundtrack of the city playing, which is go-go music.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What is it, though, about go-go that's different, that makes it so from this place?

ANDERSON: I think what it is is that it's the combination of - you have Afrocentric beat. You have the Spanish influence with the Latin percussion. It has inflections of jazz and gospel and then the call and response of the crowd and the band - just that whole combination of all of those elements.

CORLEONE: And Lulu, it's a party. It's a nonstop, have a good time...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That it is.

CORLEONE: ...Unwind from your day, leave all your troubles at the door and, you know, let your freedom of expression take place. And get your one-two step on, you know?

ANDERSON: Exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CORLEONE: Shoutout to DJ Rico Anderson for that crank mix. What up, Ric?

ANDERSON: What up, Shorty? What's happening?

CORLEONE: Oh, man...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This show is on Saturday and Sunday nights. Even though it's only been on since January 16, what's been the reaction so far?

CORLEONE: It's crazy, Lulu. We were out yesterday doing some promo shots. This guy saw us. He said hey, you the radio guys, right?

ANDERSON: That was kind of interesting. Outside D.C., we've been getting a lot of love as well. We've been getting great responses online. We've had people that have hit us up from the West Coast. We've had people that's hit us up from North Carolina.

CORLEONE: Sweden.

ANDERSON: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wow.

CORLEONE: Japan - there's a go-go night in Japan. So we'll have a window to the world, and we're supporting everything go-go and inviting the world into our community, our culture, our sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU CAN'T MUTE US")

DON'T MUTE US COLLABORATION: (Singing) When we're united - say what? - the go-go beats the power. Yeah...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Washington, D.C., was a majority-Black city, and go-go was a huge part of that. What do you think music's place is in being an ambassador, an emissary for, you know, sort of the essential D.C. experience and the history of the city and its present?

CORLEONE: You know, our goal is to keep the music a lot but also shed light on the historical forefathers of go-go, but create a platform for the new creatives, you know, the new music producers, the new bands. Like, we have a heavy presence with Bounce Beat (ph), you know, from TOB to TCB to New Impressionz, the ABM. And they have a creative sound that is keeping the torch alive with go-go. So we're covering the basis of the music genre and all of the acts, including rappers, R&B go-go singers, you know? We're keeping the whole genre of music alive with "Crank Radio."

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is Shorty Corleone and Rico Anderson, co-hosts of "Crank Radio" on Sirius XM.

Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Lulu.

CORLEONE: Thank you, Lulu. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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