Space Needling

Photo: David R. Frazier Photolibrary, Inc./Alamy

A show called “Mo’Glo” recently started airing at midnight on WNYE 91.5 FM, New York’s city-owned radio station. Tune in, and you’ll hear its “modern global” music—the baile funk from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas or the Afro-Peruvian electronica of Novalima or the Sri Lankan–British rapper M.I.A.’s off-kilter dancehall. “Mo’Glo” fits the station’s mission to provide programming for the city’s “diverse immigrant communities”—but it’s coming from Seattle, thanks to a deal with public-radio station KEXP. Nina Roberts spoke to Darek Mazzone, the “curator” of “Mo’Glo,” about what he plans to teach us in the big city.

What’s “Mo’Glo”?
It’s kids making music outside the studios, on their laptops, mixing their parents’ music with what they hear on the streets. New York is actually one of its epicenters, from all the different populations coming in and out of the city.

So why don’t we hear it?
A lot of radio in New York I find very nostalgic. I mean, how many times have I heard Led Zeppelin going into Frankie Valli going into Eddie Money? When you look at the history of radio and music, punk rock and hip-hop were around for years before radio jumped on it.

Do you think New York music fans don’t experiment enough?
Yes, and it’s sad. I equate it to cuisine. If you are willing to try Tibetan, Thai, French, Greek, Japanese, Chinese food, why don’t you try it with music? People get lost in their four blocks. Sometimes it takes stepping back to see the bigger picture. New York has such a richness of arts, culture, music, but New Yorkers seem to be lazy, like, “Eh, whatever, they’ll be back.” When I visit my friends, I’m like, “Let’s go here,” and they’ll say, “Oh, no, it’s too far away.” I say, “What are you talking about? It’s fifteen minutes on the subway!”

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Space Needling