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MULTILINGUAL SONGS

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

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

THE ENVIRONMENT

I love the major prize in BayFM‘s Subscriber Drive this year. It’s a trip to Broome and the Kimberley, in conjunction with the Save The Kimberley action group. So I thought it was a great opportunity to create a playlist  on THE ENVIRONMENT.

We opened the show with a locally produced track from a group of young people who are concerned about climate change. They came together at a hip-hop recording workshop in the country town of Kyogle in 2007. The result: PROTECT THE WORLD. The kids were aged between 11 and 17 and wrote the words on the spot and played all the instruments. Check it out:

Another  song about the environment that really hits home is GASOLINE from Sheryl Crow. She’s so great when she’s singing about something substantial, isn’t she?

The Cranberries  tell us that TIME IS TICKING OUT: “We’d better think about the consequences, We’d better think about the global senses, The time went out, the time went out.”

Cerrone’s song SUPERNATURE was released in 1977 and crossed over to both pop and soul charts. An interesting bit of trivia: the lyrics were written by a young Lene Lovich, although she wasn’t credited.

Gorillaz is a band that fascinates me with its merge of music and art. They have a brilliant site, so rather than me babble on here about them, go to www.gorillaz.com. Right now I’m listening to their  PLASTIC BEACH album. The track of the same name features Mick Jones & Paul Simonon from The Clash. Say no more.

Way back in 1971 Marvin Gaye broke ground with his song MERCY MERCY ME (the Ecology). It’s from his album, What’s Goin’ On and features The Funk Brothers on instrumentals and a leading sax solo by Wild Bill Moore. Brilliant stuff. Here’s Gaye at the Montreux Festival, 1980:

The John Butler Trio’s song SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE was only released in Australia. It came out in 2004 and is an interesting blend of funk, rock, blues, roots and the traditional sound of a jam band.

An absolute classic is Joni Mitchell’s BIG YELLOW TAXI: “They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot.” With that one line, Joni Mitchell created an everlasting metaphor for the ongoing effects of industrial development on the natural world. Big Yellow Taxi is one of the great environmental laments of the modern age, a breezy little tune that describes a world where DDT is used freely and trees are relegated to a museum.

I thought I might include some Kraftwerk for all the techheads and others (like me) who love this highly influential band from Germany.  RADIOACTIVITY is perfect for this week’s theme:

Neko Case suggests that you NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON MOTHER EARTH. It’s from her Middle Cyclone album. A prophetic follow up came from The Beach Boys with DON’T GO NEAR THE WATER:

Tegan and Sara are a Canadian duo (they’re actually identical twins). I love their song OUR TREES. A perfect follow up to that was Jack Johnson’s ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH.

Despite what Michael Stipe says about this song being about oppression, I always thought that the R.E.M. song, FALL ON ME, was about acid rain and it’s effect on the environment. Well I suppose you have a right to feel oppressed when governments keep refusing to do anything substantial about climate change.

Singer songwriter Missy Higgins is politically pro-active and it was great to air an interview with her during the show about Broome and the Kimberley. Here’s an extended version of that interview from the Save the Kimberley site:

Another activist/musician is, of course, Ben Harper. His song EXCUSE ME MISTER is just so relevant right now, with its mention of pollution of our waterways. Are you listening BP?

John Mayer is WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE. Me too John, me too.

Massive Attack were encouraged to get into the recording studio in 1991 to record their debut album Blue Lines, by Nenah Cherry. She consequently sang back up on our pick from this album, HYMN OF THE BIG WHEEL. In this clip Deborah Miller, who tours with Massive Attack on a regular basis, does a brilliant job of back-up/support.

MONKEY GONE TO HEAVEN, is a song by the American alternative rock band, the Pixies. It’s from their 1989 album Doolittle.  The song references environmentalism and biblical numerology and was the first Pixies song to feature guest musicians:  two cellists, Arthur Fiacco and Ann Rorich, and two violinists, Karen Karlsrud and Corine Metter.

Our final song of the day was one I’d like to dedicate to all those lost in Pakistan’s devastating floods: Jackson Browne with BEFORE THE DELUGE.

I’d like to thank everyone who subscribed during Theme Park over the last two shows. Thank you so much! We’ll be drawing a winner for our Camp Quality holiday at Possum Creek Eco Lodge on next Tuesday’s show, so tune in then. And if you want to go into that draw, and you haven’t subscribed yet, that’s Ok. When you do subscribe just say that Theme Park is the show you want to be acknowledged on. We’ll give you a shout out next week. Good luck to all of you. I hope that you are lucky enough to win one of the daily prizes, the additional prize for business subscribers of 30 radio spots, or the major prize of the trip to the Kimberley.

I’d love to hear from you with your requests for next week’s show when the topic will be SPRINGTIME. Can you believe its almost here? Yay!

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Protect the World – Kyogle Kids

Gasoline – Detours, Sheryl Crow

Time Is Ticking Out – Wake Up And Smell The Coffee, The Cranberries

Supernature – Cerrone

Plastic Beach Ft. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon – Plastic Beach, Gorillaz

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) – What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye

Something’s Gotta Give – Triple J’s Hottest 100 Volume 12, The John Butler Trio

Big Yellow Taxi – Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell

Radioactivity – The Mix, Kraftwerk

Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth – Middle Cyclone, Neko Case

Don’t Go Near The Water – Surf’s Up, The Beach Boys

Like The Weather – MTV Unplugged, 10,000 Maniacs

Our Trees – Tegan & Sara

Anything But The Truth – To The Sea, Jack Johnson

Fall on Me – Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M.

Going North – Missy Higgins

Excuse Me Mister – Fight for Your Mind, Ben Harper

Waiting on the World to Change – Continuum, John Mayer

Hymn Of The Big Wheel – Blue Lines, Massive Attack

Monkey Gone to Heaven – Wave of Mutilation: The Best of Pixies, The Pixies

Before The Deluge – Late For The Sky  (Gold Disc), Jackson Browne

Next week: SPRINGTIME

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

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