Tastes vary, don't they?
Here's some of the musical genres I enjoy and almost exclusively listen to. I would recommend any (if not all of them) to anyone. Who knows you actually might like them. I know I've gotten a few friends in Boston addicted to Arabic music while I was there and M. loves the Russian folk I got him listening to...
1. Fado: Fado is the language of love, loss and longing. To hear a fadista sing of her love lost on a fishing trip to the Azores and how she's doomed to die longing for his embraces is mindblowing. I just close my eyes, imagine I'm on a beach somewhere on the Algrave, turn on some Amalia and relax. I don't speak Portuguese but the sounds, the pain, the music, the long drawn out sighs just put you in that frame of mind. The best Fado is in the Coimbra dialect of north-central Portugal. Among my favourites are "Povo que lavas no rio" and "Barco negro". As for fadistas? There's only ONE! Amalia Rodrigues...Somente Amalia!
2. Scando-folk: Specifically Finnish folk. Ever since I heard Varttina sing "Pihi Neito" in that rapid-fire stacatto method of Karelian Finno-Ugric folk, I have been addicted to this brand of music. I ended up buying everyone of their CDs (and they have been quite prolific), and ended up having the biggest crush on Sirpa Reiman and Sari Kaasinen when I saw them perform live in NYC (Bjork and Varttina on the same bill, I almost creamed my pants in excitement!). My favourite part about singing all my favourite Finnish songs is not the fact that I can actually sing in Finnish, it's that in translation the words are just super-funny coming out of an Indian mouth. Recommended albums? Vihma and Seleniko.
3. German hiphop: Thank you D. for introducing me to the genre after your trip to Stuttgart. My previous exposure to German music was Nena, Falco and Rammstein. Now I have Fettes Brot, Die Fantastichen Vier and EAV to enjoy and love. German sounds gross when you speak it, sounds worse when you sing it (Wagner's Parsifal is a pain on the ears to listen to). But it IS the language of hiphop. Somehow even those crazy 300 syllable words ("Herzkreislaufwiederbelebung" and "Geschwendigkeitsbegrenzung") have a rhyme when you rap them..and Das Tobi und Das Bo are the best at doing that. Recommended songs? M.F.G and Nordisch bei Nature.
4. Arabic pop: Blogged about previously here.
5. Negro spirituals: I. introduced these to me when we were dating. I remember having heard the songs but I had never ever heard them the way they were meant to be sung. He made me a mix tape of singers from the 1920's onwards singing the most unbelievable beautiful hymns and songs (some were actually more protest songs than hymns). Big Mama Thornton, Mahalia Jackson, Marion Anderson...so many names, so many soaring, hope-filled, devoted voices. I have yet to hear more passion for G-d than in the voices of the ol'time religion singers. My favourite spirituals have got to be any version of "Amazing Grace"(including an unbelievable version by Ani diFranco) and "Lily of the Valley".
6. Polynesian: I first heard some Micronesian singers perform at a street fair in Boston and was blown away at how foot-tapping their music was. I just had to find some of that kind and so headed out to Harvard Square to my favourite used music store where I was sure they'd have some. Sure enough I found the music of Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole along with some awesome Polynesian bands. While Israel "Iz" sings more contemporary songs in English and Hawaiian, the other groups sing in various Polynesian languages. Recommended songs? "Pate Pate" and "Ika Ika". (I can sing Pate Pate LOL! Got the lyrics of a friend of mine from Guam)
7. Russian (Slavic): Blogged about previously here.
8. Eastern Orthodox liturgial: Seeing as I'm almost Slavic with my depression, my love for pierozhki and vodka and my propensity for falling in love with Slavs, the logical thing to do would be to start visiting the Ortho churches in Boston and Watertown. Where I discovered Church Slavonic and the awesome music. To hear and watch the bearded priests (looking very Old Testament like in their finery) sing the "Kyrie Eleison" and watch the congregation perform some very painful looking genuflections during the "Gospodi Pomily" is indeed mindblowing. Recommend the Metropolitian Choir of Kiev for some fine masses.
There are so many more genres I love but haven't written about...Borscht belt Yiddish (The Barry Sisters bei mir bist das schoen!!), Greek pop (Despina Vandi and Anna Vissi), Italian saccharine-sweet pop (Eros Ramazotti, Paolo Conti), Carnatic fusion (The soundtrack to Morning Raga).
My hope is to host a radio show with samples of these genres on Bombay's FM. Have proposed the idea to Magic and Go. Let's see if they think people in Bombay are ready to expand their horizons beyond "Neal and Nikki" and "Kajra Re".
I'm just trying to say this German word out. It means Beef Labelling Oversight Transit Law.