Friday, December 30, 2016
Spain is a musical monster, so trying to pick out something to symbolize it would be like doing the same in the US, if for no other reason than Spanish is a language that far extends between the boundaries of any one country, including Spain. And they rock. Ever wonder what happened to Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Shakira et al? They all went back to their native language where they could be stars again, not runner-ups, and where they gather hits and likes that surpass Beyoncé and equal Taylor. And then there are the indies, playing away for love or money or--whatever...
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Cuban music, almost ALL Cuban music, is such a pleasure to listen to that any attempt to limit access to any one genre does a disservice to the rest, whether it's mambo, salsa, Afro-Cuban folk or whatever. But for a country somewhat lost in the past, it's refreshing to see it right in step with the best of modern trends. This ain't Ricky Ricardo...
Friday, December 23, 2016
I'll have to admit that I had a hard time finding music I like from Sri Lanka, where some of the most creative work comes from street buskers. I guess it's too close to Bollywood. It seems there's a new creative edge emerging, though, so good...
Thursday, December 22, 2016
You Tube is not the only place to find cool music around the globe. Good old-fashioned radio is still there and better than ever, IF you know where to look. This is a good place to start:
Then if you find something you like, stay there a while, and pretend you're a local. That's the best part of travel. If it's community radio, then that will be easy. Here's a good one I found in Wellington, NZ:
Happy surfing! Cheers, mate!
Then if you find something you like, stay there a while, and pretend you're a local. That's the best part of travel. If it's community radio, then that will be easy. Here's a good one I found in Wellington, NZ:
Happy surfing! Cheers, mate!
Monday, December 19, 2016
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Friday, October 28, 2016
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Like many places Cameroon's best music tends to be the old stuff, akin to the highlife of neighboring countries in West Africa, modern pop mostly booty twerking and crotch shots with predictable and labored vocal themes from hand-picked heartthrobs, BUT--this lady's different, creating her own genre with every song...
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Suriname is one of those collage countries defined by its ingredients: Native American, Dutch, East Indian, Javanese, and some Africans more African than Africa itself. Most of the best music is the local Afro-Carib hybrid genre 'kaseko', but there is some semi-tribal stuff that reaches even deeper than that for inspiration...
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Sunday, October 09, 2016
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Sunday, October 02, 2016
Switzerland is one of those strange European conglomerate countries, with four official languages, so no surprise that many, if not most, musicians there do their lyrics in English, with most of the rest in German. The decline of music on America has done wonders for music in Europe...
Saturday, October 01, 2016
Bulgaria is an interesting country, originally settled by steppes nomads, now considered one of the most traditional of Slavic countries. It's nice to hear a traditional song that seems so refreshingly modern and 'indie'...(as featured in the movie 'Jesus of Montreal')...
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Brunei is one of the world's great anomalies: an oil-rich Muslim kingdom on the edge of Borneo's jungle, which it shares with Malaysia and Indonesia. It's more interesting than you might think... (and no, I did not write this song; that's a different Hardee)...
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
This is too easy, picking something interesting from Syria, but Omar's irresistible, and Syria's so screwed up. Enjoy...
Monday, September 12, 2016
Foreigners who go to Brazil expecting samba and bossa nova might be surprised to find that the country has an indie rock scene as good as any. Not that there's anything wrong with Bebel Gilberto, but maybe something not so girl-from-Ipanemish would be nice. The lightness, the airiness, the breeziness, and the beachiness is still there...
Monday, August 29, 2016
Taiwan is largely lost in the shuffle of China's latter-day dominance, but they're still there, and not going anywhere soon, I'd bet. As if it's not impressive enough that they and the mainland both even have a genre of indie music, it's even more interesting to note how different the two genres are, the mainland's harsh and punkish, Taiwan's softer and reflective. Music is the window to a nation's soul...
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Tajikistan may seem like some insignificant tiny country out in the remote Central Asian region, with their most famous historical cities of Samarkand and Bukhara in modern Uzbekistan, but here are the origins of Persian culture, so don't judge all by the modern politics of expediency and survival. This is one of the most interesting cultures and histories in the world...
Monday, August 01, 2016
Bosnia is Europe's mixed bag: Serbo-Croatian language and Muslim religion. Of course, the countryside is still ravaged from the predations of the Bosnians Serbs, who effectively split the country in two. Bosnians persevere. I don't know about 'soul music', but this is a sweet song, no translation necessary.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Bolivia is not known for its Indie rock, at least not outside the region, better known for those aguayo-draped ch'ullo-capped sun-parched faces honking down on the bizniz end of a siku or quena, or strumming a charango or cuatro, all while hopping and dancing around the stage, seems rather quaint now, and hard to believe that this was once at the forefront of 'world music'. But alas and alack, they never changed nor advanced, nor forged new directions at the risk of failing. Even the Andean street musicians in Europe add electronics or mimic Carlos Nakai now, not Sukay or Inti Illimani. You gotta keep it fresh, and the best of Rock Boliviano does that, asi lo hacen...
Thursday, July 07, 2016
Okay--disclaimer time. Thailand is my second home, so I could go on and on about the music there--here--all night, and you might care, or not. SO: I'm going to tie into a current trend in the US and Europe in which Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band is one of the hottest things going in world and indie circles. BUT: they're not the first 'phin' band, nor the only, nor necessarily the best. This music is from Isaan, a world away from Bangkok, Samui or Chiang Mai. This is what they do. These guys call themselves 'PinRock', and that's pronounced 'pin', not 'fin'. You heard it here first.
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Benin is that other tiny West African nation, which, along with Togo, Ghana and Nigeria, defines the old 'Slave Coast'...and some of Africa's best music. This artist is an old school icon, usually just known as 'the ambassador'... enjoy...
Friday, June 24, 2016
Wow! Togo's history as a country may be a bit sketchy, but this guy King Mensah's songs are not. Whether you like the Christian imagery or not, this man is surely a prophet, in one of the world's smallest and poorest countries, equally as Islamic as Christian and at least twice that traditional animistic. I'm sold, and my interest in West Africa has surged greatly, after several aborted trips, and much disappointment. I hope you enjoy this music as much as I do.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Belize is the anomaly of the Caribbean: a British Commonwealth country on the Central American mainland, with equal parts Black 'creoles' and Latino 'mestizos' and sizable numbers of full-blood Mayas and super-mixed Arawak-speaking 'Black Carib' Garifuna people, one of the darling genres of 'world music' over the last decade or two, many thanks to Andy Palacio. But before they adapted it to international tastes, it was just good ol' booty-twitching 'punta rock' and that's what gave Andy his start. BTW the plural of 'Garifuna' is 'Garinagu' (or Kalinago, maybe?). The plural of 'Gi Mi Punta Rock' is apparently 'Gi We Punta rock'. Enjoy. This is a big improvement over the Belizean juke-joints I toured in 1977.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Tonga is one of the more hospitable of the Polynesian countries, a place where the locals just might be a little smoother than some of the others. And if the music sounds a bit Hawaiian, well, it should, since they're first cousins, even if separated by thousands of miles. They once sailed that route--in canoes. Kava is the drink of choice, and Polynesian is the language, of course. This is music to chill by...the beach...enjoy...
Monday, June 13, 2016
Belgium is the anomaly of Europe, the country that resulted from the push and pull of colonial powers flexing their muscles, comparing the lengths to which they would go, and usually coming up short. So Belgium is a mixture of Dutch and French (and a bit of Germany), Romantic and Germanic, and Capital of Europe, with the largest Muslim 'hood north of Tangier next to the largest red-light district south of Amsterdam. So English is often the language of choice in Europe's multicultural Trinidad, their Fiji, their Swahili coast on the North Atlantic, where mixed messages make interesting cultures. and so it is with the music, more often than not in the international lingua franca, more often than not in mixed genres, more often than not pretty darn good...
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Trinidad is something of an anomaly. Equal parts English, Spanish, African and Indian, this is something like the Fiji of the Caribbean, a (not-so-pure) Commonwealth creation. But the resulting mix can be as disappointing as it is inspiring. Frankly, for the birthplace of calypso and soca, I'd expect a better mix of music, but what's there is not bad, including these guys, who might actually best be considered as Canadian. Welcome to world music...
Friday, June 03, 2016
Belarus is part of that so-called 'axis of evil' of vestigial Communist countries that stretch from North Korea hop-skipping over remnants of the old USSR and fellow travelers. So maybe a satirical song about Karl Marx called 'Das Kapital' doesn't seem so strange, after all--or maybe not. It's all up in the air, countdown to springtime...
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Tunisia is famous for the mezoued, that bagpipe-like mouth organ that takes you away somewhere somehow, whether you like it or not, but there's much more than that to the eastern style of Maghrebbi music. Like neighbors Algeria and Morocco, Tunisia is more European than most Arab states, so that means many diverse influences and manifestations. Arab Spring started here, remember. Check out this guy's violin playing. And hang around for a few songs, and Emel will sing Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' for you, sublime...
Friday, May 27, 2016
If Barbados is the place, then Soca is the music, and Crop Over (Harvest Home) is the main event. This is Rihanna country, of course, so she's the star to catch in compromising twerking positions, but they're all pretty sexy, if you like that kind of thing. I remember it well, Barbados that is, so when my taxi driver said I'd be back, he just might be right...
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
A medley of their hit--album. Turkey is a tough country for me to find
music that I like. It's not traditional enough to have the raw
brilliance of their brethren Turkmen across the Caspian Sea, and not yet
modern or hip enough to get the true meaning or feel of indie music
that most of Europe contributes to nicely. In short, Turkey is between
worlds without clear direction. These guys Babutsa show a way out,
though, definitely worth listening to...
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Bangladesh is probably one of the world's least understood countries. From its previous alliance with Pakistan to its cultural Bengali kinship with Kolkata, there are no easy comparisons nor explanations. Bangladesh is sui generis, its own deal with its own brand. Though part of the Indian cultural subcontinent, Bangladesh is to SE Asia as Pakistan is to NW Asia, i.e. much less uptight, much more laid-back and accepting of an increased role for women, no veils required. And so it is with the music, too. Any country worth its counter-culture credentials has at least one classic rock superhero who can go experimental in order to inspire others to their own potentials. In Bangladesh that role is played by Faruk Mahfuz Anam aka James...
Monday, May 02, 2016
Turkmenistan is the connection between modern Turkey and the ancient homeland up near Mongolia, their linguistic cousins to this day. Unfortunately the country's political reputation places it about halfway between North Korea and Belarus. That's too bad, because otherwise it would be an interesting place to visit, I've just got a feeling...
Friday, April 29, 2016
The Bahamas has some pretty good music, though, as elsewhere, much of the older stuff is better than the newer. But what does this have to do with the 'barefoot bandit'? He ended up there after his youthful crime spree! I missed all this at the time, must've overslept...
Monday, April 25, 2016
Tuvalu just might be the place to go, if you want to experience truly natural Polynesian culture. Hawaii gets more tourists in a day then the entire population of Tuvalu, which is sinking, by the way, or rather: the waters are rising over them. Better hurry! Fafine tinogalli!
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Australia is legendary for its music, of course, on a per capita basis every bit the equal of the US or UK, Gotye or Tame Impala or Courtney Barnett ample proof of that. But who knew that Australia had a country music tradition complete with capital at Tamworth? And if American country music had its origins in the hillbilly traditions of Appalachia, this is pure 'western', complete with cowboys and sunsets. Best of all: they celebrate the land and rural life, far from the city and liking it that way. Move over, First Aid Kit. This is the real thing. Who cares if the cows are mostly sheep?
Friday, April 15, 2016
The United Arab Emirates is not generally where you go when looking for traditional Arab culture--that's Yemen. Nor is it where you usually go when looking for Arab popular culture--that's Lebanon. UAE is best known for its pampered princes, oil wealth and a resident population less than half of which is native-born--no connection there. Typical music in UAE consists of a dozen or more blokes singing what sounds like battle hymns of the republic, and the presence of women is almost nil, resigned to window dressing in the few music videos that feature an actual narrative. That doesn't mean there is nothing, though, and this lady embodies it well...
Friday, April 08, 2016
Austria is easily lost in the European shuffle, what with only 8.5 million souls, but once upon a time it was one of the main players, and not long ago it was. One of my early revelations as an international traveler was that, "We listen to the same music as you: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and all the rest." Huh? Can that be true? But why? Is rock-and-roll a condition of the English language? Hmmm... But that's not so true any more. As the American music scene stagnates, Europeans are taking up the slack. Maybe they just needed some time, yeah, that's it, time...
Monday, April 04, 2016
Ukraine has lots of good music, which you probably already know, if you're a fan of hard-rocking party-hearty Gogol Bordello or the mostly-femme-freak-folk project Dakha Brakha aka ДахаБраха that have both struck world music gold in the last decade or so. Interestingly the former is nowhere to be found on random searches of Ukraine music, though the latter is all over, as well as an apparent spin-off project Dakh Daughters (no, they're not really so ethnic themselves, but literally riffing on it). But I like Zapaska. She's fresh. The title of the song means "there are no fish."
Monday, March 28, 2016
Argentina is so lost in its own legend, that it's hard to find music there that isn't tango, or in some way related to it. So about the best that you can do is 'neo-tango' or some other such fusion genre that attempts to go beyond the typical sex-and-sultriness that qualifies as a musical genre when combined with the same three chords in the same minor keys over and over and over. That means Bajo Fondo or Gotan Project, and from there it's a toss-up. I get to talk about Gustavo Santaolalla or Lunfardo 'slanguage'. Both are ex-pat groups, the former in LA, the latter in Paris. Gustavo Santaolalla is a renowned award-winning LA producer and film composer in his own right, and on this song paired with Argentine rock legend Gustavo Cerati. Did I mention that Argentina also has rock music? BTW if you listen to much tango, you'll need to pick up some Lunfardo, in addition to Spanish, which specializes in 'vesre', reversing syllables to ensure exclusive intelligibility only with the inner circle, usually criminals. Thus 'tango' becomes 'gotan'. Get it? Clever, huh? Hmmm...
Monday, March 21, 2016
Uganda is one of the brighter spots in the sometimes-tortured continent of Africa, and this guy seems something like the Pharrell Williams of it, a pleasant surprise in a modern world where frequently the best music is old music, go figure...
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
If you're looking for some signature tune from a country as small as Antigua and Barbuda, you might just have to borrow a number from a nearby island that's even smaller, like UK colony Montserrat. But if you're thinking that this is just some cheap kitschy knock-off of David "Buster Poindexter/New York Doll" Johansen's 1987 US hit, then think again, because it's just the opposite: this is the original, the real deal, with some nice guit licks in the background, too...
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Sometimes to find a county's best work you have to travel in time,
not space. Such is the case with Uruguay, IMHO. Alfredo Zitarrosa is
something of a Uruguayan national treasure, with loyal fans all over
Latin America, but I'd never know that if I hadn't stumbled across him
after a fortuitous riffle through dozens of modern Uruguayan 'remixes'
and pseudo-hiphop and generic pop best described as EDM boom-boom-boom
with random lyrics slathered on for effect. Zitarrosa is a champion of
the common man, and his themes reflect that...
Saturday, March 05, 2016
Wow! Who knew that Angola (Angola!) had some of the trippiest music in the world c.1972? Os Gambuzinos or Os Mutantes? This was still Overseas Portugal at the time, of course, so maybe this was where European hippies went to get all freaky--or not. It stands in stark contrast to what is now a pretty grim music scene, variations on sex and rap and all that crap, full-on female ass-end crotch shots, macho male posturing, and soft-core porn posing as pop music. Oh well, at least it livens up the slum scenes, keeping the kids happy. Still, all in all, I prefer the 70's. Eu sou desta geracao!
Thursday, March 03, 2016
I feel that it's very important to review a film in a timely fashion upon its release, so as to add whatever two cents might be necessary or desirable to influence the narrative. So, considering that 'Floating Weeds' was released in 1959, I figured it was about time to rush out this review so as not to nudge up too close to my self-imposed hundred-year deadline. No problem: time to spare...
'Bird in the hand', 'two's company', 'pride goeth before a fall', 'like father like son', 'apple didn't fall far', 'honesty is the best—you get the idea. Call them cliché if you want. Or call them the classic themes of literature—and film: truth, goodness beauty, love, jealousy, pride, revenge, so on and so forth. No one called them cliches when Shakespeare articulated them brilliantly, and all he had were words. Now imagine Shakespeare in chiaroscuro...
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
With Uzbek music, the first challenge is to get the Russian out, in order to find what is really Uzbek. That's not so easy as it might seem at first, since Uzbek girls are cute, too (and almost everyone has Russian surnames)! But, in fact, the Russian language is not used much in the local music, though Russian-style pop music is a very popular genre, replete with longing looks, fabulous coifs and sad good-byes. But is it Uzbek? Then there are the old-fashioned 'classics', with their minor keys, clarinets and dirges. It's all good. When I was there, I listened to the radio by day, and hung out at weddings by night. But I like Feruza the best I think, she from Khorezmia, with ample Arab influence, video here with slices of Uzbek life. Compare to MGMT's 'Kids'...
Thursday, February 25, 2016
As the world homogenizes and pasteurizes itself into tasteless pap, Albania is like most other countries in their production of modern pop: 1) hire models, 2) select genre on random BS song generator, 3) press 'play' and danceable BS will be produced computer-like predictable and aggressive, OR: you can go to the old-timers, who still know how to play their instruments, and still have something to say, not just shamelessly ape the Western models who rule the world. These two blokes seem to define a previous generation and have survived the most paranoid Communist rule ever, which, if nothing else, always manages at least to (altogether now): STOP THE CLOCK! Sometimes that's good...
Monday, February 22, 2016
Jeez, I've never searched a country so long and so hard to find a song, any song, that I like in my life. Other countries in Asia are much more attuned to the subtle nuances of rock, pop and folk than Vietnam, where rock means metal, pop means saccharine schlock or pseudo-hiphop, and folk means the rather strait-laced stylings of traditional classical flute-string-and-drum bands. Then I found this lady, something like the Viet Joan Jett, if all goes well, and all in due time... Rock out!
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Algerian music is a reflection of Algeria itself: neither the syrupy strings of the conquering Arabs or the jangly guitars of the nomadic Tuaregs, Algeria is all about the Berbers--Amazigh, Kabyle, etc. But the best music has long been 'rai', even if you have to go to Marseilles to see it. Cheb Khaled may not be so 'cheb' any more--more like 'sheikh'--but he's still the king of rai music. Enjoy...
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
I'll have to admit that finding the musical heart of Vanuatu was no easy task. Is reggae somehow a universal island thing, or maybe even a Third World thing? It seems that way, exported and adopted world wide, long before all that 'urban rap' gained currency. Fact is that the Caribbean and South Pacific are very different places. Aside from that, 'string bands' seem most popular here, though not exactly what you might expect, i.e. guitars, etc. Fusion music is only appropriate for such a fusion culture, I suppose, something like Papuans having adopted Polynesian ways in varying degrees. Vanessa Quai herself on other songs seems like a Melanesian Whitney Houston, pre-fall, complete with churchly reverence. Check it out...
Thursday, February 04, 2016
I don't often go for Eurovision contestants, but when you're looking for music in a tiny country of 80K, like Andorra, then you have to take what you can get, and this ain't bad--perky and punky. Of course, as Catalan speakers, they're connected to the larger Barcelona-based culture outside, even to the point of singing in Spanish, or even English, just to make their point... which is: rock-and-roll, I think, as best described...
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Venezuela has a lot of good music, in all genres, including 'llanero' (country), pop and EDM. But what I liked best was this song, a tribute to their sketchy past, but with a very Andean feel, not typically Venezuelan on first listen. There are many renditions and remixes, but I think this is close to the original...
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Monday, January 25, 2016
Wales is that forgotten little country (did you know it was a country?) tucked under the UK's left wing on the UK's left coast and left there to prosper or rot, like it or not, earliest of the non-English additions, so approaching from another Angle, Celtic and proud, determined but not loud... and not Gaelic. Ireland and sometimes Scotland get all the Celtic sympathy, but Wales is more traditional IMHO and likely predates it, the two languages dissimilar enough to indicate a notable degree of separation in time if not space, but you're not likely to hear anyone speaking 'Irish' (Gaelic) there, much less complete with radio radio, but you will find exactly that in Wales, found it cruising through on the train to the ferry port, in fact, wasn't even looking, so there! That was then 2003 fast forward to now and I'm looking for Welsh music, sorting through all the genres, generally ballads for the most part, with the occasional punk and the inevitable Celtic-woman-like show act, God help us. Then I found Cate. Wait a minute; I've heard this before--but where? KCRW, of course. And yes, she can do it in Welsh, too, all night long, figure our son would look just like me and the daughter just like her, you know the rest... move over, Enya...
Friday, January 22, 2016
This is interesting: and pretty darn good, too. I'm not sure where the African DNA comes from, but I'm guessing the slave trade. Seems it ended in these parts not so long ago--oops! The most interesting part of Bahrain's music in general is the syncopated clapping which seems to pop up everywhere almost any time. Enjoy.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
This is my vote for modern successor to Ros Sereysothea; song and singer definitely reminds me of the good old days of Sinn Sisamouth and others, just straight-ahead R & R Asian-style, with no self-conscious aping of the latest trends overseas, good news since a decade ago seems they were reduced to cheap imitation of Thai pop--yuk!
Saturday, January 16, 2016
If you've heard any Yemeni music at all, it's probably Yemen Blues, the Bill Laswell-produced ode to all things blue and all things Semitic, Hamitic, and Cushitic, the middle Eastern cacophony of cultures that forms a strong third branch of world music, after sub-Saharan African and Latino. There's only one problem: it's really not Yemeni. It's Jewish Yemeni. Not that it's hard to find 'real' Yemeni music. It's not. It's only hard to find a name attached to any of it. So I chose this video as representative, since it shows scenes I witnessed every day while there, including my hotel. I hope it's still there.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
If music is the universal language, then finding each country's sweet spot for sweet talk and sweet music is the fruit of love's labor. The Internet is a universe composed of Swiss cheese, though, of course, so the long winding roads only lead forever inward--to frequent dead ends. It's there, though, if you look hard enough, and often in the strangest places. In Zambia I found it in church. In Azerbaijan I find it at weddings, no big shock since that's where I ended up hanging out every night in Samarkand, with similar culture. Azerbaijan is the missing link of Turkish culture--the link between east and west, from the eastern Asian homeland to the modern western sorta-European Turkish state. You get the feeling that the whirling dervishes here are real, not just tourist programs. Enjoy.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Like so many countries, the best music in Zambia is not necessarily the newest. Unlike many others the best I can find comes straight from the mouth of babes, invoking the words of the Christian God, utilizing the universal language of music. You can get religion fast this way...
Friday, January 08, 2016
Is China ready to rule the world? If the quality of their indie rock is any indication, then they just might be. This is not C-pop, mind you, nor any other mass-produced cutie-bootie schlock pop, just good ol' R & R, the kind that makes you realize why you came in the first place...
Wednesday, January 06, 2016
Part of the problem in finding good music from countries where you've never heard any before is knowing where to start. Generic YouTube play-lists that say 'Armenian music' don't necessarily yield much, generally the schlock or Westernized pseudo-hiphop that pervades the world these days, fine if you like that, but not much of a clue to the country itself or its culture. For that it's best to refine the search, e.g. Armenian folk music, which will get you some more authentic vibes... enjoy...
Monday, January 04, 2016
Well, Zimbabwean music has probably seen better days, to be honest, talking about the breezy vibes of Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Mukadota and others, some still alive, others still kicking, but all is not lost, as evidenced by the efforts of this young lady, who somehow has managed to buck the reigning 'urban' trend for a return to Zimbabwe's roots in the countryside, hearts and minds not lost in all the crime sex and violence of cities. Let's blame it on the rapacious government of Mugabe--yeah. On the other hand, I found some lovely Botswana music that also crosses borders, and genres...
Sunday, January 03, 2016
Despite all efforts by the central Chinese government and Han Chinese culture to overwhelm the Tibetan culture and populace, somehow they manage to survive, and infect the rest of the country with their quest for freedom and independence. It's a double-edge sword, after all, and a two-lane highway...
Saturday, January 02, 2016
If my goal right here right now is to get a glimpse into culture(s) through the lens of its popular music, then Afghanistan is a supreme challenge right off the bat. After viewing dozens of videos and listening to the same number of songs, almost nothing was revealed--until now.
Most seem to be made in studios and on sound-stages in hermetically sealed enclaves in well-guarded neighborhoods, no 'students', i.e. Taliban allowed. The music is mostly generic schlock-pop from well-tried formulas featuring well-coiffed celebrities, most of whom probably haven't tasted the dust of Kabul in years.
The few external scenes are of Dubai or London or Samarkand, fer Chrissakes! You'd never even know that there's a real country of real people fighting a real war for real reasons--until now. Kudos to Seeta Qasemi now only for her good voice and her good music, but for her good taste in narrating a story of her country. Long live Afghanistan, one of the most interesting countries of the world!
Friday, January 01, 2016
It's always New Year's Day somewhere. My theory is that you can tell more about a country and its place in the world from its music than any other cultural aspect. I'll test that theory in the coming days--should be interesting! In the case of Kampuchea, I'd say that they're reviving from their darkest darkest days of the Khmer Rouge in fine style, especially with music, which is beginning to rival the good old days of the 70's...