Here’s my second entry in my “Awesome music from around the world” series, featuring great music from India, Zimbabwe, Finland, Iran, and six other countries. Enjoy!
11. France: Carla Bruni — Quelqu’un m’a dit
I asked a friend about music from France, and she said “everyone loves Carla Bruni.” After hearing this song, it’s easy to see why. Carla Bruni, now Bruni-Sarkosy, is the wife of France’s president Nicolas Sarkosy.
12. Nicaragua: Revuelta Sonora — Tululu (Revuelta remix)
This is another video that works nicely as a short story, this time following a cute but mischevious scamp who steals a camera from a tourist couple and uses it to take photos of his friends, family and neighborhood. Come for the chance to see a glimpse of Nicaragua’s Afro-Carribbean city life; stay for the great music.
13. Japan: X Japan — Okkusenman
The punk-metal band Japan X takes a song from the 1988 nintendo game Mega Man 2 and turns it into a rocking yet wistful rumination on the loss of childhood innocence. The melody holds up well after more than 20 years, and the simple yet effective animation helps to tell the story.
14. Zimbabwe: Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi — What Shall We Do?
Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, Zimbabwe’s most popular musical artist, has been singing and touring for more than 30 years. His song “What shall we do?” manages to be both poignant and hopeful (which is impressive if you know anything about Zimbabwe’s political and economic situation).
15. Finland: Lordi — Hard Rock Hallelujah
Straddling the line between “awesome” and “awesomely retarded,” the Finnish band Lordi is like the drawings come to life out of the notebook of a creepy 15-year-old’s notebook. The band dresses up in full demonic costume for videos, concerts, and interviews and has it’s own elaborate origin story and mythology.
16. Moldova: Nelly Ciobanu — Hora Din Moldova
Featuring traditional costumes, circle dancing, and wide, expansive shots of….fields of sheep, Hora Din Moldova (“Dance of Moldova”), Moldova’s entry for the 2009 Eurovision contest. It’s a little quaint, but everyone–the singer, dancers, and camera crew seem both earnest and proud of their country, and the song is a good one in its own right. I’d choose this underdog over a more slick, polished video that could have come out of anywhere in a heartbeat.
17. Democratic Republic of the Congo: Baloji: Congo
Hip-hop artist Bajoli breaks up his video about his home country into three parts. He starts rapping alone over a spare beat of African drums. He then picks up the pace and breaks out the guitars and backup singers. In the third section he slows down again, bringing out traditional African dancers and a gospel chorus. Great stuff.
18. Chile: Los Prisioneros — El Muro
Corte el muro (“take down the wall”) sing Los Prisioneros, a Chilean rock band who crafted this song protesting the proposed wall between Mexico and the United States. Statistics accompanying the video help to illustrate the harsh conditions immigrants often have to face as well as the benefits workers from Mexico bring to the U.S.
19. Iran: Abjeez –Eddeaa
Melodie and Safoura Safavi lead the Abjeez, a Persian pop band. I have no idea about their video is about (anyone speak Farsi?) but the song is very catchy and the video was good enough to win at New York City’s Tribeca film festival.
20. Northern Ireland: Panama Kings — Golden Recruit
The Traveling Wilburys of Northern Ireland, this group is made up of a number of musicians from other Northern Irish bands, two of whom left the group called The Queer Giraffes. If they join eight more bands with silly names this year, they’ll get their 11th one free.