Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tropical Tunes

The West Indies were really a happening place back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. First, there was calypso, then ska, then cadence, then an oddly named rhythm peculiar to Barbados (the Spouge), then salsa, to name a few... First they were popular on their home island and then some became really popular abroad, usually in "the mother country," i.e.; the nation that controlled the island during the colonial period, such as England for Jamaica, France for Martinique, and the Netherlands for Curacao. Most of the island stars knew this: if you wanted to be an international star, you had to go to England, France, or the Netherlands in order to record for the international market and in order to make it big. And most stars did this gladly as it would lead to bigger and better things.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Beautiful Covers

Sometimes the cover song sounds even better than the original, and sometimes the language it is rendered in can make it even prettier. Often just the singer's voice can do the song justice, as in the cover of "I Started a Joke" by the band, "De Opels," from Barbados. I know nothing about the band except where they are from, but the lead singer's voice is gorgeous. You may recognize some of the tunes and others you might not, but all the same they're beautiful.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Where Do You Get Your Music?

Nowadays mostly the internet... I just type in a name and usually find something. The hardest way to go about finding music is to type, say, "Algeria" and "1960s." You really need to have a name of a band or a singer if you want to find music from a particular place. The stranger and more exotic place (let's say Andorra) the harder it is to find music. And sometimes it is hard to find singers from a particular country, for example, Ireland, because they might often record in another country (England) and people might not realize the band is not really British. This commonly occurs on the Decca and Pye labels. Same with many artists who were considered "French" back in the 1960s...they might have recorded in Paris, but they were really from another country, such as Morocco. I usually get my music from various blogs and Soulseek, which is a downloading portal.

Back in the days before unusual music (at least unusual in the United States), was readily available online, I would special order, usually through for LPs and CDs. I bought at least 10 or so LPs from Hungary over a short period of time and I was probably helping to support the guy I was buying from over there. To tell you the honest truth, I've been to a record store in a foreign country only once, and it really wasn't a record store, even. It was a vintage clothing store in Talinn, Estonia, that sold some records, and I bought a Jaak Joala (a popular 70s singer in Estonia) EP. I have been to Europe three times. I normally don't buy vinyl in Europe just because it's hard to bring it back to the US. The furthest I ever bought any records from was Singapore, which was a bit of a nightmare... the guy agreed to send me 4 7-inch records of Chinese artists, but I had to send him US$100 in cash, and it took at least two or so weeks to get there from Texas. It was a great day when he finally got the dough and he told me he could hear me sigh with relief all the way in Spore. He and I are still friends today (that must've been 8 or so years ago) and he is a major figure in the history of the music business in Singapore.

Downloading music is a daily occurrence in my life. Nearly every day I download something, either on Soulseek, from Youtube, or any of the various blogs I visit. I could not live without music. Someone asked me once how come music was so important to me in my life and I really had no idea how to answer that question, and I still don't have an answer but that's fine. Music makes me happy and that's enough.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teen Idols

Every country around the world has that special girl or guy who is young, has a great voice, and really appeals to that nation's teenagers. Teen idols. The girls worship the guy singers and the guys think the girl singers are hot stuff. Most teen idols usually have a period in which they are famous for a moment but some remain famous long into their adult hood, and many often remain in music but doing other things such as conducting an orchestra (Rulli Rendo, from Peru) or being a DJ and an actor (Anders Nelson from Hong Kong).

Anders Nelson (Hong Kong) - Out of Sight (used with kind permission)

Rulli Rendo (Peru) - Chinita Linda (used with kind permission)

Vaclav Neckar (Czechoslovakia) - Motejl modrejl (Donovan, "Mellow Yellow")

Rob de Nijs (Netherlands) - Ritme van de regen (Cascades, "Rhythm of the Rain")

Ted Herold (West Germany) - Ich Brauch Keine Ring (Elvis Presely, "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck"_

Sylvie Vartan (France) - Gong Gong (Ikettes, "I'm Blue")

Arlette Zola (Switzerland) - Stop Pour M'embrasser

Carol Kim (Vietnam) - Cai tram em cai

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beat Feet

I already did a post about the twist, but I started thinking of other dances and thought it might be nice to do a blog on dances that were popular around the world and thought of the best tunes for those dances. There were dances like the Madison, the Hucklebuck, the Pony, Mashed Potato, Locomotion, the get the idea.

Royal Showband Waterford
Tony Ronald
Sven Ingvars
Tina Banon
Mashed Potatoes
White Kicks
Monn Keys
Hand Jive
Cinque di Roma
Dimitar Yosifov
Drafi Deutscher
Do the Slop
Counts Four

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Singing In Tongues

Today I decided to share songs in several languages that might be peculiar to someone for whom the only spoken language is English. Basque, Romansh (a Romance language spoken in a few villages in Switzerland), Latvian, Bulgarian, are just some of the languages sung in this post. Most of the songs are clearly recognizable and a few aren't.

Credits: Dundurs (Latvia), Gaya (Azerbaijan), Gila Adari (Israel), Elly Vilhjalms (Iceland), Gil & Leonia (Switzerland; Romansh singers), Estitxu (Basque singer, Spain), Pirats (Catalan singers, Spain), Y Trwynau Coch (Welsh singers, Wales, Britain), Virginia Lee (Afrikaans singer, South Africa), Diego Varagic (Serbian singer, Yugoslavia), Royal Sprites (Thailand), Dave Carroll (Greece), Alberto Gemeerts (Suriname), Emil Dimitrov (Bulgaria), Dolly Roll (Hungary)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interesting Instrumentals

I'm usually not a fan of instrumentals, I prefer singing. However, there are certain instrumentals that really get my attention. Here are a few interesting instrumentals, some that make you sit back and wonder if it was really a rock band playing them:

Sir Henry & His Butlers (Denmark)- Cosmorama

Toussaint McCall (USA) - Saigon to San Francisco

Theo Schumann Combo (East Germany) - Pussta Beat

Hector (France) - Tchang

The Law and The Sandy (Thailand) - Paradise in Bangkok

Meteors (South Africa) - Afrikaans Beat

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Radical Renditions

Rock musicians can wreck havoc on old classic tunes, sometimes in ways that the original composers never intended or would have even dreamed of. For example, a classic rock tune can be rendered into a waltz, or an old French chanson can be made over into a pop tune. Here are a few radical renditions of tunes:

Tritons (Italy) - Rock Around The Clock (Bill Haley and His Comets, "Rock Around The Clock")

Les Classels (Quebec, Canada) - Les Trois Cloches (Edith Piaf, "Les Trois Cloches")

Kertukai (Lithuania) - Ilgas Plonas Techasietis (Kingston Trio, "Long Tall Texan")

Tonis Magi (Estonia) - Chicago (Paper Lace - "The Night Chicago Died")

Hugues Aufray (France) - Jambalaya (Hank Williams - "Jambalaya")

Monday, February 6, 2012

Songs You Didn't Think Could Be Translated

I said earlier that one way for an English-language hit to become popular in another country was to have the song be sung in the local languages of those countries. This proves that even the oddest songs could be translated. Here are a few interesting song translations:

Arto Sotavalta (Finland) - Voitko Lopetta (Monkees, "Randy Scouse Git")

Wence Ponce (Mexico) - Relampago Azul (Lou Christie, "Lightnin' Strikes")

Plastic Bertrand (Belgium) - C'est Le Rock and Roll (Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, "Walk Like A Man")

Su Kramer (West Germany) - Nachts in Manhattan (John Travolte, "Grease")

Rita Chao (Singapore) - Black & White (Chinese version) (Three Dog Night, "Black & White")

Pierre Lalonde (Quebec) - Tous les gens (Sly & the Family Stone - "Everyday People")

Herreys (Sweden) - Ingenting Som Hindrar Mig (Matthew Wilder, "Break My Stride")

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let's Do The Twist

Everybody did the twist in every country in the world, even in far-flung places suchas Hong Kong and Greenland. Chubby Checker first danced the twist in the US in 1959, but it soon became an international dance. Here are a few covers of the twist:

Michelle Richard Clem Sacco Chum Kem Billie Tam
Michele Richard Clem Sacco Chum Kem Billie Tam

Michelle Richard is a very famous French-Canadian singer from Quebec. Clem Sacco is an Italian singer, Chum Kem introduced the twist to Cambodia (legend has it he learned it in France), and Billie Tam is a Chinese singer from Hong Kong.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More Popular Abroad

A few singers and groups were much more popular abroad than they were in the countries from whence they came. For example, a rather obscure British band called The Deejays was much more popular in Sweden than they were in England. Another case is that of the New Zealand singer Jay Epae, who was popular in New Zealand, but his hit tune, Putti Putti, was wildly (and maybe unexpectedly) popular in Scandinavia, particularly in Finland and Sweden. Here are some bands/singers who couldn't hack it at home but suddenly became popular abroad:

Deejays - "What'cha Tryin to Do?" (From Britain, popular in Sweden)

Jay Epae - "Putti Putti" (From New Zealand, had a HUGE hit with "Putti Putti" in Sweden and Finland)

Cook da Books - "Silverman" (80s band from Britain, more popular abroad, especially in France and Hong Kong, best remembered as "that band in La Boum")

Les Surfs - "Reviens vite et oublie" (This 60s group was originally from Madagascar but was much more popular in France. This song is a cover of "Be My Baby.")

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How a Hit Song From One Country Becomes a Hit In Another

Did you ever wonder how an English-language song became a hit in another country where English wasn't the native language? Well it's simple: have a local artist sing the song in his/her native languages. English songs you've heard a thousand times sounds refreshing in another tongue. Here are some examples:

Giovani Giovani (Italy) - Bimba Mai (Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons, "Big Girls Don't Cry")

Gao Ling Fong (Taiwan) - Copacabana (Barry Manilow, "Copacabana")

Finlanders (Finland) - Gimme Dat Ding (Pipkins, "Gimme Dat Ding")

Ros Sereysothea (Cambodia) - Wooly Bully (Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs, "Wooly Bully")


I am back after a long hiatus spent trying to figure out how to add music to this site. Now I finally figured out how. As divshare is the easiest for me to use at this time, that's the program I will be using.