For years I’ve been a subscriber and reader of the Songlines magazine - a place to learn about some amazing new music from around the world. I get to travel quite a bit for work and have had the chance to come across great new and old music from the countries I’ve visited. But thanks to Songlines, I’ve discovered, bought and enjoy some fantastic music.
This could be a place to share new and old music from around the world.
Reggae was probably the first dipping of my toes into those waters which was soon followed by ska, rocksteady, calypso, soca, etc. More recent favorites would include Manu Chao, Tinariwen, Bombino, and Mdou Moctar. I also remember watching Earth To MTV which featured artists from around the world, though no one artist stands out in my memory. I just knew that I enjoyed a great deal of the videos I watched even though I couldn’t understand the lyrics.
I think being from Brazil is enough to contribute to this my own way.
I was never a big fan of Brazilian music, tbh, but growing up it was impossible not to be heavily exposed everywhere you go to an awful lot of real quality stuff you guys have probably never heard about (I say “quality stuff” because I can truly make a difference between “what I like or don’t like” and “what has or doesn’t have great quality objectively speaking”).
I’ve liked almost only exclusively rock and its variations for over 30 years now, and I came to appreciate some Brazilian rock too, mostly from the 80s – some of us call it BRock, the “Brazilian Rock” explosion of the 80s. The 90s were also prolific in that area.
For the more lyrics-inclined audience, of course, there will always be a language barrier. But if you want to appreciate the music, we’ll have different flavors for you to try. If you want more ska-infused stuff, possibly the best Brazilian band of all time is Paralamas do Sucesso – they can count something like 30-40 bona fide hits. If you like new wave, then more punk inclined, there’s Titãs (my second favorite). We usually label “pop rock” an infinity of other bands that hail from that era. As an example of just new wave-oriented songs with a good guitar and melodic work, there’s Lulu Santos. If you like a more British post-punk type of thing, much more lyrics-oriented too, with somewhat poor instrumentation, but nice melodies, there’s Legião Urbana (I’m not a big fan).
Of course I grew up with some stuff everyone has heard about: “Aquarela do Brasil”, sure, Tom Jobim and bossa-nova and samba and all. We got MPB with people like Caetano Veloso and Chico Buarque and Gilberto Gil too, dozens of good names and interesting people. I just don’t pay much attention to all that, never did. It’s not what moves me.
My point is just that there’s a whole other ecossystem here that people around the world usually don’t get to know. If you feel like exploring, I’ll be happy to write more.
I grew up listening to Italian music, it began with folk songs my parents knew. Later on, music from other parts of the Mediterranean as I met people from the area. I started listening to Reggae & Ska music in the 80’s. Thank you @cliffonthemoon for bringing world music to this site, appreciate the videos you post in other threads.
Growing up in eastern Sri Lanka, like @Gargumma, I too was never a fan of the Tamil music that was blaring all around - nearly all of it playback music from Tamil language films from Tamil Nadu, India. The ethnic divide meant that this music was being listened to in Tamil-populated parts of the country, while the Sinhala community were either listening to music by Sinhala artists or Bollywood music or both. Then there was the Hindu devotional music - also blaring loud from temples around town.
The teenage rebellion was to listen to western music - to a young Sri Lankan ear, back then, there was the music heard all around, and then there was the other, where Michael Jackson, Madonna, Jim Reeves, Elvis Presley, Duran Duran and Bob Marley were all one. Discovery of genre difference came later.
Having lived away from Sri Lanka for over 17 years now, I’ve started to dip in a bit into these sounds. Strangely, the interests came, not from nostalgia, but curiosity rekindled from exposure to music from other parts of the world.
Interesting how one sometime comes full circle through a non-linear route (doesn’t make geometric sense that!)
I have vague memories of a very nice pop song, guitar driven that I heard while in Paranaguá in 2001. Of course shazam didn’t exist yet, and I never knew what it was (for I while I thought it could be Jota Quest). Can you take a guess what it could have been, a very popular pop song at the time playing often on the radio?
UPDATE: Sorry, I didn’t elaborate cause I was in a bit of hurry then. I’m not at all into Jota Quest, but can easily understand their appeal. They do sound all round and perfect and easy to deal with, you know.
I think around that time, 2001, one of their biggest hits was playing nonstop on the radio. It was “Fácil” (“Easy” – the chorus goes “Easy, extremely easy, for me and everyone to sing along to”, and he’s talking about the song itself). It was a pretty poppy, quiet, guitar-driven song.
They had other big hits nationwide, and I happen to be friends with the guy who wrote one of their biggest, “O Sol” (“The sun”, by Antônio Júlio Nastácia, my friend), which follows pretty much the same formula.
Ivo Demchov is a Bulgarian singer songwriter performing artist, he appeared on XFactor in 2018. He got through a couple of rounds on that talent show with mixed reactions, I’m not sure how far he went on from there. He’s a beautiful performer.
Thanks for this list, I’ve been listening to selection # 9: such a beautiful voice and a lazy guitar creating genuinely soothing tunes. Although the artist is Norwegian she actually sings in English, reminds me a bit of Sarabeth Tucek.
My oldest brother usually spent around 6 months or so out of the year in Costa Rica and ended up having a second residence there in the coastal town of Cahuita. I believe he first visited Costa Rica in the early 90s where he performed with a troupe. He became a huge fan of Walter Ferguson, a locally based calypso performer that passed at the age of 103 back in February. I have had the good fortune of visiting Costa Rica twice over the years (1999 and 2010) but I never saw Walter Ferguson perform. He would record his music on cassette which he would sell to tourists and fans. A few years back, someone started an effort to track down those tapes. More on that and Walter here: