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15 American Pop Hits That Aren't in English

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 23, 2015 10:00pm | Post a Comment
In the United States there is no official language and in roughly 18% of American homes, one of hundreds of languages other than English is primarily spoken -- all of which, unless they're indigenousshould be considered "foreign languages." In Los Angeles, everyday you can hear pop songs on the radio in Cantonese, English, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese and although I often find that pop music is better when the lyrics are unintelligible, only a handful of pop songs in a language other than English have made the journey onto the pop charts -- here are fifteen (or so).






Harry Choates's "Jole Blon" (1946, French



Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)"



Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)" (1958, Italian







Ritchie Valens's “La Bamba” (1959, Spanish)


上を向いて歩こう



Kyu Sakamoto's "Sukiyaki" -- originally  "上を向いて歩こう" or "I Look Up as I Walk" (1961, Japanese)






Soeur Sourire's "Dominique" (1963, French) 


Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin



Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's “Je T’Aime … Moi Non Plus” (1969, French)






Mocedades
“Eres Tu” (1973, Spanish)






Plastic Bertrand's “Ça Plane Pour Moi” (1977, French) 


Nena's "99 Luftballons"



Nena's "99 Luftballons" (1984, German






Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" (1987, German) 






Los Lobos' "La Bamba" (1987, Spanish)






Enigma's "Sadeness (Part I)" (1991, Latin and French) 






Deep Forest
's "Sweet Lullaby" (1992, Baeggu)






Los Del Rio's "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" (1996, Spanish) 


Shakira LA Tortura

 

Shakira with Alejandro Sanz's “La Tortura” (2005, Spanish)




 

Psy's "Gangnam Style" (2012, Korean)
*****
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Amoeba Hollywood World Music Top 10 For October 2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 7, 2010 11:25pm | Post a Comment

1. Shakira-Sale El Sol
2. V/A-The Roots of Chicha 2
3. Yann Tierson-Dust Lane
4. V/A-The Lost Cuban Trios of Casa Marina
5. V/A-Fania Essential Recordings
6. Jane Birkin-Di Do Dah
7. Natacha Atlas-Moungaliba
8. Seu Jorge-Seu Jorge & Almaz
9. Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg-S/T
10. Spanish Harlem Orquestra-Viva La Tradicion

Without any surprise, Shakira’s Sale El Sol took the top spot on October’s chart. Likewise, I expected The Roots of Chicha 2 & Yann Tiersens Dust Lane to chart in the top five. The big surprise was The Lost Cuban Trios of Casa Marina at number four, which could have done better had the store not run out of stock so quickly. Fueled by a powerful PRI The World piece, this collection of unreleased music by forgotten Cuban boleros struck a chord with the NPR crowd and everyone seemed to be asking for it. We have been dealing directly with Ahi-Nama, the indie label who released The Lost Cuban Trios, for years. They mostly release modern Cuban music such as Timba, Cuban Reggaeton & Salsa, so it was a surprise to me that they released some vintage Cuban music. A nice surprise for us and I’m sure for Ahi-Nama as well.

At number six and nine are two Jane Birkin reissues by Light In The Attic Records, who are doing a fine job with reissues, including one of my favorite non-World Music releases, El Gusano’s Fantasia Del Barrio (review coming soon). Live shows in L.A. helped out Natasha Atlas (#7) and The Spanish Harlem Orquestra (#10). At number five is probably the best Fania Records compilation ever released for a DJ; Fania Essential Recordings, released by Strut Records is all bangers, no filler in the bunch! On both CD & vinyl, there is no reason to sleep on this one, unless you have all those collectible tracks already.

November 22nd will bring us the new Calle 13’s Entren Los Que Queiran, which has the group collaborating with all sorts of legends from around the world such as Toto La Moposina from Colombia, Maria Rita from Brazil, Susana Baca from Peru, Suen Kuti (son of Fela Kuti) and Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. You always have to expect the unexpected when it comes to Calle 13.

Out now is the AfroCubism release. This pairing of Cuban and West African musicians was supposed to happen years ago but was canceled when the West African musicians couldn’t get their visas into Cuba. With all that recording time booked, Nick Gold from World Circuit Records recorded a bunch of older Cuban musicians and made a little record called The Buena Vista Social Club. Now, almost fifteen years later, the project is finally completed and released. Buena Vista alumni Eliades Ochoa and his Cuarto Patria pair with the likes of West African musicians such as Toumani Diabate and Bassekou Kouyate. Should be worth the wait.

Amoeba Hollywood World Music Top Ten for September 2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 6, 2010 11:41pm | Post a Comment

1. Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg- Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg (CD/LP)
2. Seu Jorge-Seu Jorge & Almaz (CD/LP)
3. Luis Miguel-S/T
4. V/A- The Afrosound of Colombia (CD/LP)
5. V/A-Afro-Beat Airways
6. Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos-Cantan En Español
7. V/A-Pomegranates (CD/LP)
8. V/A-Let’s A Go-Go!
9. Enrique Iglesias-Euphoria
10. Jacky Chalard-Je Suis Vivant Mais J'ai Peur De Gilbert Deflez  (CD/LP)

There wasn’t much movement from last month’s top ten to this month. The only newbies were the funky prog-rock of Jacky Chalard’s Je Sus Vivant, Mais J'ai Peur De Gilbert Deflez (B-Music/Finders Keepers) and, on the other end of the spectrum, the latest by romantic Latin Pop singer Luis Miguel, which landed him in the third spot. Also, compilations such as The Afrosound of Colombia, Pomegranates and Afro-Beat Airways benefited thanks in part to Amoeba’s latest edition of the Music We Like book, with heavy praise given to each release by the staff from all three Amoeba stores. Get your copy of Music We Like at any Amoeba store or you can view it online.

A few September releases  worthy of mentioning that didn’t make the top ten are the latest from The Nortec Collective, Bulevar 2000, Natasha AtlasMoungaliba and Issac Delgado tribute to Nat King Cole, entitled L-O-V-E. On the vinyl front, we had the reissue of Milton Nascimento and Lo Borges' classic Clube Da Esquina. Original copies of the LP go for collector's prices. For fans of Peruvian Chicha, we have the limited edition LP of Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical, Ranil's Jungle Party.

 Speaking of Chicha, The long awaited Roots Of Chicha Vol. 2 comes out on October 12th and it's just as good as the first. The best way to describe Peruvian Chicha is as a mix of Cumbia rhythms and Andean melodies with surf and psychedelic rock guitar. It was performed by many popular Peruvian party bands played during the 60’s and 70’s. Some of those groups still exist today, playing updated versions of their hits. Outside of Peru, many bands are picking up the style and doing their own version of it, such as Chicha Libre (New York/France), Los Chinches (England) and La Chamba (Los Angeles), just to name a few.

I saw Joan Soriano a few years ago on the Bachata Roja tour. A bit younger than the older men he was touring with, he pretty much stole the show. His latest album, El Duque De La Bachata, is out and also comes with an hour-long documentary on Joan’s life and music. The sublime romantic songs on Soriano’s album are the perfect cure for all Pop Bachata currently being written for tweeners and housewives.

Also out this month: Two more Fania re-issues -- La Perfecta Combinacion by Johnny Pacheco and Pete Rodriguez and Right On! Ahi Na Ma! by Pete Rodriguez, out October 12. Also out on October 12th is Rita Y Los Misterios' Juidero, which I wrote about last month. October 19th brings us what will probably the biggest release Latin release for October. Shakira’s Sale El Sol is an all-Spanish release, minus the English version of the single “Loca” featuring Dizzee Rascal. Other collaborators on Shakira's new album are Urban Merengue sensation El Cata, Residente from Calle 13 and Argentine legend Gustavo Cerati, who unfortunately has been in a coma since May, when he had a stroke on stage during a concert in Venezuela.

Marxist Tales 3: Falling Stars, or When Art Imitates Art

Posted by Charles Reece, January 5, 2009 11:00pm | Post a Comment

Madonna falling in Rio back in December got me to thinking, naturally enough, about Mulholland Dr.'s use of "Llorando," Rebekah Del Rio's Spanish cover of "Crying." There's a lot of gravitas to gravity -- with one slip, the reality of artifice can be exposed. At the club Silencio, when the character of Del Rio (played by Del Rio) falls, but her singing continues, David Lynch is playing around with Bertolt Brecht's epic theater and his notion of estrangement. By having the work remind the audience of the layer of representation intervening between them and the emotions they're experiencing, Brecht hoped to create a more politico-rationally engaged experience -- that is, one of empathy, not sympathy (the former being of intellectual understanding, not the latter's identification).


However, Lynch turns estrangement on its ear by using lip-synching as the emotional crux of his film. If you'll remember, the scene occurs at the point where the fugue world of Betty is fracturing, and the reality of Diane is seeping in. Diane had killed her lover, Camilla, out of jealousy, replacing her in the dream with the amnesiac Rita. Of course Rita can't remember who she is, because she's a manifestation of Diane's oneiric state, a displacement of Camilla, with all the bad stuff repressed. As Rita, she's a ghost, pure desideratum, or Diane's objective (objectified) correlative of the real deal. (In fact, the same applies to Betty; she's Diane's idealized self.) Just as the illusion of the film's representational quality is most exposed (Lynch's "eye of the duck" scene), Betty and Rita begin sobbing -- and (provided the Silencio sequence works properly) the audience along with them.


Lynch has the audience identifying with his characters' experience of the distancing effect. The more one becomes cognitively aware of what's going on (say, knowing what's coming next in the narrative through repeated viewings), the more the emotive impact of the scene. The two dream projections, Betty and Rita, are doppelgängers of Diane, and (through identification) reflections of our own contemporary existence in what Guy Debord called the society of the spectacle. We all exist as objectified projections of others while projecting our own images on them in return. The rub is that often what we desire and who we believe ourselves to be are thoroughly mediated by spectacle (our own images are no more our own than the other's image of us). Being made aware of specular (representational) mediation as Brechtian theater attempted hardly solves the contemporary dilemma between what's real and what's merely manufactured. Awareness of artifice is no longer sufficient to counterprogram mass desire (if it ever was), since a lip-synching existence has become an object of dreams. Gravity's truth hasn't hurt the fanbase of the following stars, any more than that of Madonna's.

Beyoncé


Shakira


K-ci & JoJo

The show goes on independently of the stars, just like a perpetual motion machine. Increasingly, we're less likely to feel shame at the antics of Milli Vanilli, instead dreaming of getting such a choice gig. What's really most prized, the face or the voice behind the face? Beyoncé can actually sing, but that's not really why she's famous. Her voice is a phony justification for her star image. The what's-their-names behind Milli Vanilli could sing, too, but fat lot of good that does them now. In other words, "hips don't lie."

Anyone under 60 probably has some level of sophistication regarding the construction of images, but this generalized awareness can lead many to be skeptical of an image's falsity. Living in an age where the medium is the message creates a parity between the real and illusion, making such a determination an agnostic guessing game of which is which. Consider that there was much debate on YouTube as to whether WWE impresario Vince McMahon was really hurt during the obviously staged destruction of the set around him:


As professional wrestlers will tell you in these supposedly sophisticated times, just because wrestling is pure commodity, staged for our entertainment, doesn't mean that they don't really get hurt. These wrestlers acknowledge the truth in Lynch's film: artifice is painful, regardless of whether we know it's false. Aware of the image people have of him, Pauly Shore pulled an Andy Kaufman-esque stunt playing into the mass desire of wanting to see him get punched:


Clearly, Shore was inspired by the internet infamy achieved by Glen Danzig when his macho image got neutered:


Whereas Danzig was probably embarrassed, Shore's intent was, like Madonna's voice in Rio, just to keep his fading stardom continuing as long as possible -- that is, regardless of whether he looked like a coward or a wimp. Being seen is the desire, 'as what' is irrelevant. (The strategy can work.) That's why we can see former Guns 'N Roses drummer Steven Adler sucking on a bong, crying about how Slash hasn't called him on Celebrity Rehab. And it's why some dumb fucker on Cheaters or COPS will sign a release form. When the dream being bought and sold is nothing more than cheap spectacle, devoid of content, where does that leave us? Somewhere in the precarious space of this young actress playing Helen Keller:


Feeling sadness at Diane's awakening to the role she's been playing out in her slumber demonstrates that there's something very real in her identification with images. Del Rio's falling begins to ground Diane's imaginary weightless existence with the moral ramifications of the choices she made in pursuit of the fantasy. Here, Lynch uses the identification with fiction in its most enlightened sense, to reflect our current state of being. As a dialectic between mass media and identity, eventually the desired spectacle will trip over reality. To borrow an analogy from Plato, we can either lift the stick out of the water to see that it's not actually bent, or we can continue to leave it there.

Parts I and II.