Going Global

Aug 30, 2012

By James Sandham

Pussy Riot at Lobnoye Mesto on Red Square in Moscow


Well well, music lover. Welcome back to the blog. You know, for most of the summer I’ve been on a real classic rock kick – listening to great Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees like April Wine and David Clayton-Thomas – but for the past week I’ve veered off and really gotten into some good international stuff – I guess what you might call “world” music. And I know – this is the Canadian Music Hall of Fame – but because Canada’s such an international and multicultural place, I thought that this week I’d share some the international artists I’ve been into lately. So without further ado let’s take a little musical trip around the globe…


Tribalistas – “Já Sei Namorar”

This track was released in Brazil in 2002 by EMI, then internationally the next year, but I just stumbled across it recently and I’ve got to say: I’m pretty hooked – it’s got such a great rhythm and feels so warm. Unfortunately, it comes out of a one-off collaboration: Tribalistas (consisting of Arnaldo Antunes, Marisa Monte, and Carlinhos Brown) were an extremely short-lived band who, despite selling more than a million copies of their self-titled debut in Brazil, went their separate ways afterward. At least they left us with this.


Scala & Kolacny Brothers – “Heartbeats”

Scala & Kolacny Brothers are a Belgian women’s choir conducted by Stijn Kolacny and arranged and accompanied by Steven Kolacny on the piano. I found out about them through Diplo’s “I Like Turtles” mixtape, which includes this tune. It’s actually a cover of a song by Swedish electronic group The Knife, from their 2003 album “Deep Cuts” – which is apparently what Scala & Kolacny Brothers do: cover other people’s songs (such as Oasis, Bjork, U2, Nirvana – even German industrial rockers Rammstein) in specially made arrangements. This one, I think, is one of their most beautiful.


Mamani Keita – “Mali Denou”

Speaking of beautiful songs, this one really sets the bar high. It’s by Malian singer and musician Mamani Keita, from her 2006 sophomore release, “Yéléma,” produced and composed by French multi-instrumentalist Nicolas Repac. Listening to it is like drinking pure sunshine.


Tommy Lee – “Holding out the Pressure”

I got turned onto this tune by a friend of mine who’s always posting tracks from the reggae and dancehall scenes – some hits, some misses; but this one was definitely a hit. Hailing from the community of Flankers, Montego Baby, Jamaica, Tommy Lee is a Vybz Kartel member, and this is one of his most popular songs.


Pussy Riot – “Punk Prayer”

And as long as we’re talking international music, how could we omit this song, the one heard around the world and lately in the pages of every international newspaper? It’s by Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot, and it was performed in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour as a protest against alleged too tight ties between church and government, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s increasing authoritarianism. On March 3, after a video of the performance appeared online, three of the group members were arrested; they were recently sentenced to two years in jail, launching an international outcry.