Category Archives: Multilingual songs
Posted by Lyn McCarthy
Hello, Salut, Guten Tag, Yah Soo, Hola! Well that’s about the extent of my language skills I’m afraid. But it didn’t stop me putting together a show on MULTILINGUAL SONGS. Because one of the things that I miss about living in Sydney, I must admit, is the multicultural community. Sure, up here in Byron Bay we have a sprinkling of residents from other countries and certainly we have a lot of overseas visitors but, let’s be honest, it’s very much a white bread kinda town. So, I’ve been inspired to create a playlist where each song features two or more languages in the lyrics. Read on and see what I’ve got in store for you!
We opened the show with Joel Gray’s classic greeting from the stage show, and the film, Cabaret: WILKOMMEN. That one had three languages in there: English, French and German. Here’s the incomparable Joel Gray in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film version. Brilliant.
Get ready because German industrial metal band Rammstein will soon be here for the Big Day Out concert. They slide from German into English to make their point about US cultural imperialism on AMERIKA. Absolutely awesome video btw.
Punk gypsies Gogol Bordello, mixed Russian and English, to discuss the cultural revolution, in their own particular style, on SALLY.
I also welcomed some very special visitors into the studio this week. Hailing from Scotland, but citing influences from all over the globe, Orkestra del Sol take the brass band to a whole new level. We’re talking high energy swinging sounds with Balkan, Oompah, New Orleans and Gypsy flavours. They performed three original numbers live in the studio, which was a real treat.
I introduced Orkestra del Sol with the track CALYPSO COLLAPSO, from their album Moveable Feast. Here they are performing that track to a bemused audience at Edinburgh back in 2007:
Next it was Sigur Ros with HOPPIPOLLA, which is Icelandic for “Jumping into Puddles”. But you knew that, right? Onto the African continent with Amaswazi Emvelo and his track from the compilation album The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, INDODA YEJAZI ELIMNYAMA, which translates as “The Man in the Black Coat”. And then it was Cajun band Buckwheat Zydeco with MA TIT FILLE, from the soundtrack to the film The Big Easy.
Sergio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas combine for a great version of Brazil’s most famous song MAS QUE NADA which, I understand, is Portugese for “But that’s nothing”.
Those obligatory French lessons at school must have come in handy for the Talking Heads on PSYCHO KILLER and Blondie on DENIS. Look, it was a toss up as to whether I should show you either of their video clips but when Deborah Harry dresses in a swimming costume with a guy’s jacket over it and does her ‘sex on a stick’ routine, well how could I resist? And she does include more French words than David Byrne does, so points for that.
Two more great multi-lingual songs: Ian Dury & The Blockheads with HIT ME WITH YOUR RHYTHM STICK and The Pogues with the highly infectious FIESTA.
O SAYA, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, only losing out to another song from the film Slumdog Millionaire. In Hindi and English, its from A.R. Rahman and rapper M.I.A.
Reggae group The Abyssinians prove their devotion to the Rastafarian homeland of Ethiopia with a refrain in Amharic on their song SATTA MASSAGANA. A perfect companion was Yothu Yindi’s TREATY – the first ever song, in an Aboriginal language, to gain extensive international recognition.
The Dixie Cups offered a catchy piece of Creole on IKO IKO. That was also from The Big Easy soundtrack. Another soundtrack worth collecting is the one for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. In a classic scene, from the film, John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s characters kill it on the dancefloor to Chuck Berry’s C’EST LA VIE (YOU NEVER CAN TELL): “I wanna dance, I wanna win, I want that trophy, so dance good.”
Calexico is the name of a town on the US/Mexico border and it’s also the name of an alternative country band that I really like. Their song BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE, features some pretty sexy French singing from chanteuse Marianne Dissard.
The late, great Kirsty MacColl embraces both Spanish and English on IN THESE SHOES. It’s from her album, Tropical Brainstorm. Here she is on Later with Jools Holland in 2000:
Isobell Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s song DEUS IBI EST features both English & Latin. The Latin section is actually lifted from a very well known hymn, Ubi Caritas and Deus Ibi Est translates as God is there. They are such an intriguing duo, aren’t they? They’re like dark and light, but somehow what they produce is just perfect. You can find this track on their album Ballad of the Broken Seas.
Here are two Francophiles who have something to say: Jonathan Richman wants you to GIVE PARIS ONE MORE CHANCE and the wonderful Blossom Dearie asks COMMENT ALLEZ-VOUS? I love both these artists for the same reason – their supreme wit and subtlety, combined with a certain camp charm.
We closed the show with Youssou N’Dour and Nenah Cherry and their hit song 7 SECONDS. It’s trilingual with N’Dour singing Wolof (The Senegalese language) and French with Cherry singing in English. The song is about the first 7 seconds in the life of a newly born child before they become aware of the violence in the world. Let’s contemplate that as we head off into 2011.
Next week’s theme will be FOREVER YOUNG. i.e. I’ll be looking at the music that the baby boomer generation has grown up with, and still supports. The list will feature the bands that we listened to in the 60s, who are still touring and raking in the dollars. I’m inspired by the fact that Iggy Pop will be headlining the youth event, The Big Day Out, this month. And at Easter we have the Blues Fest’s line up of Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and Jethro Tull making it look like a Baby Boomer’s convention. What is it about this generation that refuses to take it easy and retire? Tune in and we’ll try and work it out together.
Big thank you to the Orkestra del Sol who entertained us in the first hour of the show. And I’d like to wish you a peaceful, loving and positive 2011.
Here’s this week’s playlist:
Willkommen – Broadway: The American Musical [Disc 4], Joel Grey
Amerika – Reise Reise, Rammstein
Sally – Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, Gogol Bordello
Calypso Collapso – Moveable Feast, Orkestra Del Sol
Hoppipolla – Takk…, Sigur Rós
Indoda Yejazi Elimnyama – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto – Volume One, Amaswazi Emvelo
Ma ‘Tit Fille – The Big Easy Soundtrack, Buckwheat Zydeco
Mas Que Nada – Timeless, Sergio Mendes feat. The Black Eyed Peas
Denis – Atomic: The Very Best Of Blondie, Blondie
Psycho Killer – Talking Heads, Talking Heads
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll – The Essential Collection, Ian Dury and The Blockheads
Fiesta – The Best Of The Pogues, The Pogues
O…Saya – Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack, A R Rahman & M.I.A.
Satta Massagana – Satta Massagana, The Abyssinians
Treaty – Radio Mix – Tribal Voice, Yothu Yindi
Iko Iko – The Big Easy Soundtrack, The Dixie Cups
C’est La Vie – Pulp Fiction Soundtrack, Chuck Berry
Ballad of Cable – Hot Rail, Calexico
In These Shoes? – Tropical Brainstorm, Kirsty McColl
Deus Ibi Est – Ballad Of The Broken Seas, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
Give Paris One More Chance – Jonathan Sings!, Johnathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Comment allez-vous? – Blossom Dearie, Blossom Dearie
7 Seconds – The Guide (Wommat), Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry
Next week: FOREVER YOUNG
Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, Australian music, Cabaret, Calypso, community radio, general, Movies & Music, Multilingual songs, music, Music - New Wave, music - nostalgia, pop, punk, Radio Program, reggae, rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized, World music
Tags: A.R. Rahman, Amaswazi Emvelo, Australia, Blondie, Blossom Dearie, Blues, Bob Fosse, Byron Bay, Cabaret, Calexico, Chuck Berry, country, David Byrne, Deborah Harry, Gogol Bordello, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Isobel Campbell, Joel Gray, John Travolta, Jonathan Richman, Jools Holland, Kirsty MacColl, M.I.A., Marianne Dissard, Mark Lanegan, Multilingual songs, music, Nenah Cherry, Orkestra del Sol, pop, Quentin Tarantino, radio, Rammstein, rock, Sergio Mendes, Sigur Ros, Talking Heads, The Abyssinians, The Big Day Out, The Black Eyed Peas, The Dixie Cups, The Pogues, Theme music, Uma Thurman, Yothu Yindi, Youssou N'Dour