K rap, V pop, New York Salsa, les DJs francais, Latino heartthrobs, Japanese samba — just taste of our smorgasbord of music from beyond Anglophonia.
- HECTOR LAVOE AND WILLIE COLÓN– “El Dia de Suerte” – as described by carlos valladares
- TUẤN NGỌC — “Nỗi Lòng Người Đi” — as described by som-mai nguyen
- ADRIANO CELENTANO — “La Storia di Serafino” — as described by jackson wiley roach
- JUSTATEE ft. MR. A & KIM (prod. by TOULIVER) — “Hoa Sua” — as described by quyen nguyen
- DJ RAFF — “I Need A Beat (ft. Maka Melendez) — as described by alejandra salazar
- BEENZINO — “Aqua Man” — as described by claire kim
- SELENA — “La Carcacha” — as described by analyssa lopez
- ENRIQUE IGLESIAS ft. DESCEMER BUENO, Y GENTE DE ZONA — ‘Bailando’ — as described by tara mccullough
- CHARLES AZNAVOUR — “La Bohème” — as described by anthony milki
- FONSECA — “Te mando flores” — as described by rachel grau
- Y//2//K — “Ponponpon (remix)” — as described by taylor litchfield
- CHRISTOPHER TIN — “Baba Yetu” — as described by heather connelly
- EL CUARTETO DE NOS — “Ya no sé qué hacer conmigo ” — as described by nishant karandikar
- CAN — “Vitamin C” — as described by adam schorin
- CASKER — “Fragile Days” — as described by tulio ospina
- SIGUR ROS – “Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur” – as described by melanie cahill
- JENS LEKMAN — “Kanske Är Jag Kär I Dig” — as described by alex cheng
- 张韶涵 / ZHANG SHAOHAN — “隐形的翅膀 / Invisible Wings” — as described by cissy shi
- THE NILE PROJECT FEATURING SELAMNESH ZEMENE — “Ya Avay Weha” — as described by beti girma
- BOB SINCLAIR & RAFFAELLA CARRÀ — “Far L’Amore” — as described by editor big britt
- JOE ARROYO — “La Rebelion” — as described by e.i.c. katharine schwab
HECTOR LAVOE AND WILLIE COLÓN– “EL DIA DE SUERTE” – as described by carlos valladares
This danceable yet tragic masterpiece of New York salsa is the product of two brilliant minds. On one hand, you have Hector Lavoe, the tortured salsa singer holding to the desperate hope that his luck will change in his grief-filled life. On the other, you have Willie Colon, who matches Lavoe’s vocals note-by-note with his virtuoso arrangements. From the opening reveille—a trumpet that sounds like inescapable death—we are transported to a dark world filled with misery, unhappiness—and, in spite of all this, a resolve to continue living.
TUẤN NGỌC — “Nỗi Lòng Người Đi” — as described by som-mai nguyen
Man, does it breaks my heart to just submit one. (I should stop sneakily plugging other songs into these descriptions, but here’s a bonus: “Willst Du” by Alligatoah.) This is a song (performed by someone whom I like to think of as a Vietnamese Sinatra) with which I grew up and to which I’ve cried alone at various campus locales—despite, of course, not really knowing what it’s like to “leave Hà Nội at the age of 18, having just learned to love.”
ADRIANO CELENTANO — “La Storia di Serafino” — as described by jackson wiley roach
No idea what this song is about or why it makes me smile so big. All I know is that modern American pop songs are sorely lacking in male choirs and bouncing timpani drums.
JUSTATEE ft. MR. A & KIM (prod. by TOULIVER) — “Hoa Sua” — as described by quyen nguyen
Nothing to shake up the linguistic paradigm in an American-pop-saturated world like a contemporary Vietnamese electro-pop/R&B track. The song, produced by Touliver, features pop singer JustaTee, rapper Mr.A and female vocalist Kim/Kimmese. Sung in the voice of a young man reminiscing about his former love, the story gives you a collage of Hanoi in the poetic transition between summer and fall, the scent of Sua (“milk”) flower, the wind of nostalgia and other sad, lovely moments unique to Hanoi and young love. Moral of the story: depth exists in V-pop. Lyricism aside, I hope you appreciate a song written in one of my favorite languages on earth. (Ignore the few banal English lines. Anglophone domination is a story for another day.)
DJ RAFF — “I Need A Beat (ft. Maka Melendez) — as described by alejandra salazar
Chile-based DJ Raff has been criminally underexposed in the states. The man is reminiscent of RJD2, Cut Chemist and Wax Tailor, creating rich, patchwork electronic melodies with an underlying Latin flavor that’s impossible to miss.
With its sleek, jazzy influences and moody, dream-like synth, “I Need A Beat” compliments this point in the quarter pretty well. After all: it’s week nine. Sometimes you do need a beat to take you away from everything else, even if for just a few minutes.
BEENZINO — “Aqua Man” — as described by claire kim
Beenzino is a rapper from South Korea who owned many of us Korean girls’ hearts with this song. He got a little too flashy with the fame, but nothing wrong with jamming to it once in a while.
SELENA — “La Carcacha” — as described by analyssa lopez
Remember in “21 Questions” when 50 Cent asked his girl if she would “poof and disappear” if he “went back to a hoopty from a Benz”? Well, TEN whole years before that, Selena sang about loving a man even though he drove a beat-up car (a “carcacha”). Since I idolized Selena as a pop princess all through childhood (Britney & Christina who?), it’s nice to know that she was never caught up in her fame before her tragic death in 1995. RIP la reina de la música tejana.
ENRIQUE IGLESIAS ft. DESCEMER BUENO, Y GENTE DE ZONA — ‘Bailando’ — as described by tara mccullough
Let’s just say, too many study abroad nights can be summed up with this song.
Do yourself a favor — go ahead and dance it out.
CHARLES AZNAVOUR — “La Bohème” — as described by anthony milki
A reclusive anthem. It could be 4 a.m., RBA due in the morning, final in the afternoon, interview at night; Aznavour gives me four minutes and twenty-three seconds of total relief before being curb-stomped by reality. It may come in handy over the next few weeks.
FONSECA — “Te mando flores” — as described by rachel grau
In Barcelona last quarter, due to a series of very Barcelonian events, I broke my phone. Out of all the annoyances that come with being phone-less, the biggest one (kind of) was the ~8 hour bus ride I was facing back to Madrid with no form of entertainment other than my cheap Spanish phone which had ONE song on it—“Te mando flores.” Enjoy the cheery rhythm and pretend that the fact that it’s in Spanish masks how disgustingly cheesy it is (normally a line like “I’m sending you kisses in my songs” would make me cringe). Disfrútala!
Y//2//K – “Ponponpon (remix)” – as described by taylor litchfield
This is all very unclear, as in I have no idea what she’s saying. But it is cute as hell. The original by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is hella cute too. Heads up — the music video is a bit extra; Katy Perry and ol’ Nicki really don’t have anything on this production.
CHRISTOPHER TIN — “Baba Yetu” — as described by heather connelly
Yes, it’s from a video game (but it won a Grammy). Yes, this is one of those videos where a youtuber took someone else’s song and combined it with other people’s videos (but it’s all amazing BBC videos). And no, I don’t understand a word of Swahili (although I’m told this is the Lord’s Prayer). All of that said, if you’re looking for a reminder of how stunning the earth is or how stirring a full choir of voices can be, give Baba Yetu a few minutes of your Week 9 time.
EL CUARTETO DE NOS — “Ya no sé qué hacer conmigo ” — as described by nishant karandikar
Fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron. This very relevant preterite conjugation brought to you by third period Spanish at Southridge High.
CAN — “Vitamin C” — as described by adam schorin
Hey, remember that one day you ate those old mushrooms in your girlfriend’s Mustang, then wasted a couple hours in a south Germany garage chasing quaaludes with cans of pilsner, and then, finally, drove out to the beach to smoke your weight in cannibis? Of course you don’t! You were fucking stoned! But if you’re trying to figure out what in the name of Timothy Leary you did that day, and why you’re wearing a fedora and are from the 1970s, then maybe this track from Krautrock visionaries CAN will help you jog your memory.
CASKER — “Fragile Days” — as described by tulio ospina
I’m not sure if Casker has a monopoly over the Korean electronic samba scene but they are the only band of this genre that I am aware of. When you listen to their tunes make sure you’ve got enough space to safely sway your hips and maybe even a dance partner to grab. This song makes me feel like I’m the girl from Ipanema.
SIGUR ROS – “Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur” – as described by melanie cahill
The title translates to “Within Me a Lunatic Sings” and the lyrics speak of all the explosive amazing feelings that come along with falling in love. Sigur Ros has probably been my single claim to hipster-ness for a while now but they deserve to be well-known. Much of their music is instrumental, introspective, and calm, but they are fantastic at creating emotional soundscapes of all kinds. This is the kind of music that makes me want to throw my fist in the air and say, “Yes! Among all the stress and doubt of life, I can still feel victorious for 4 minutes!”
JENS LEKMAN — “Kanske Är Jag Kär I Dig” — as described by alex cheng
a note addressed to my crush:
dear my crush,
‘kanske är jag kär i dig.’ that’s the title of one of my favorite songs by swedish singer-songwriter jens lekman. it means ‘maybe i’m in love with you’ in swedish. it also means i’m probably coming on too strong. so let me talk about the song a little bit. i really like how lekman manages to pull off this baby boy blue-eyed soul storytelling over a bona fide groove. i also really like the way your face looks. oh jeez, my words are just c-c-c-coming out all wrong. i’m even stuttering in text. ‘the best way to touch your heart is to make an ass of myself’ says lekman. if only.
THE NILE PROJECT FEATURING SELAMNESH ZEMENE — “Ya Avay Weha” — as described by beti girma
The Nile Project is a music initiative that incorporates musicians from countries surrounding the Nile River in order to create mutual cultural understanding and awareness. I was lucky enough to see The Nile Project at Bing a few weeks ago and even got to meet some of the members. As an Ethiopian immigrant, I grew up on non-American music, so seeing music from my home country performed at Bing was incredible. “Ya Avay Weha” is a beautiful ode to the Nile River itself, with lyrics that promote harmony and unity in a region where resource competition and scarcity have long been the norm.
张韶涵 / ZHANG SHAOHAN — “隐形的翅膀 / Invisible Wings” — as described by cissy shi
Throwback to 2006 when this song hit the charts in China. Women old and young sang this at Karaoke and almost everyone sang along to the chorus. The general Chinese population seem to prefer a romantic and mellow taste of music than the United States’ rock and rap. Also, the singer is cute and has a sweet voice that goes with this song perfectly.
BOB SINCLAIR & RAFFAELLA CARRÀ — “Far L’Amore” — as described by big britt
JOE ARROYO — “La Rebelion” — as described by e.i.c. katharine schwab
Shout out to my red-headed Irish mother who spent her twenties on the dance floors of Los Angeles’ salsa clubs and raised me on salsa music. With a tantalizing rhythm and irresistible melody, Joe Arroyo’s salsa anthem beats with the soul of Colombia.
A previous version of this article stated that Christopher Tin’s song ‘Baba Yatu’ won an Oscar. It won a Grammy. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.