Music has always been a world commodity. This is one part of a multi-part series showcasing some sounds from around the world. This week we journey to Bolivia, Bosnia, and Botswana. These nations have nothing in common. It’s like they were picked randomly out of a hat, but we will check them all out nonetheless. As always, enjoy.
Bolivia is a tiny South American nation named after Simon Bolivar and is conveniently located in the Andes mountains. Their women are known as being the shortest in the world (averaging 4’8). I know they’re angry at Chile as Chile hogged all the coast line. They also have very funky hats.
Bolivia is mostly known for the Andean pan flute music that they share with neighboring Peru. I would like to say that the south park was false in their claims that this music pops up everywhere, but I was in Portugal this past April, and around one of the monuments, there were flute bands stationed at every corner…and I’m sorry, I can’t respect your fly-by-night operation if you’re playing Cher – Believe. Anyway, this music is popular and Los Kjarkas might be one of the biggest pan flute bands going today, and they’ve been doing this for almost 50 years now. Here is a live performance of Mi Sueño mejor en Consequin. The fact that they’re not performing in front of three people amazes me.
Just for comparison, not all flute bands sound the same. If Los Kjarkas are a top-end sirloin steak, then this next band, Khanata, is the taco bell steak burrito. This sounds like something i had to be forced to do in 3rd grade. Ugh, remember those recorders we had to play. What was the point of that? it’s not like there’s anyone who’s a professional recorder player. What type of scam was the recorder industry running back in the day? Also, imagine if you were a musical teacher, those two or three weeks had to be sheer torture. They must have had a death wish or something…Here is Khanata with Jula Julas
Do you enjoy pan flute music, but with it contained more death metal? Or do you enjoy death metal, but it’s missing that critical pan flute element? Fear not, i have the band for you! Acedia is a folk metal band who…they’re death metal with flutes. Here’s a quick factoid, ‘acedia’ is a medieval…science term/medical disorder that is more or less laziness, apathy, or boredom… no, it’s true. the top scientists and philosophizers actually sat down to make this stuff up. Also, if you’re a band, why would you name yourself that? it’s such a cop-out. it’s like they didn’t even care about naming their band. Here they are with Alma Q’epi. I still can’t tell if this band is serious or not, or was it like ‘hey guys, i totally want to be in this band, but my mom said i had to take my little brother with me. he can play the flute i guess?’
Staying in the loud and annoying for the moment, Sidharia are your Bolivian screaming loud noise death metal band. Not much to say about them, but they are all about the cookie monster screaming and their new single is called Charlie Sheen, but the real reason i wanted to point them out is this live clip of theirs for the song Sufragio ad libitum. Ignore the loud noises, just look at the crowd. I really could make a ton of inappropriate comments, but for the sake of me and the site, I’ll keep it clean. It is worth watching this video just for this very special audience. All of them seem to be listening to the music at their own speed…and what’s with the guy (?) that catches his breath at 3:02, is he 15 or 55? I really can’t tell.
Moving on to normal, but slightly off, Milton Cortez is a famous actor in Spanish-speaking America. he has appeared in numerous movies and telenovelas, much like Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias. Milton has embarked on a pop music career in both English and Spanish, much like Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias…so he sings love songs adorning all women, right ? Well, off his album “Love Coma,” here is the single “Baby, You’re dumb.” This video is also very confusing. Ok, i get the woman and rooster analogy, but why does everyone swing around light bulbs? How much does that woman smoke if there are only three people in the bar? I mean, i would chase her down just to outline the finer points of emphysema.
The Luxurious Girl is a one woman electronica project. Her current single “El Fin De Silencio” features a guest vocalist…and a chorus background that sounds like they tried to fit 5 different songs into it. It goes from regular dance music to rock opera without any warning at all.
Oil is an alternative rock band that sort of sounds like Days of the New and softer Puddle of Mudd, which, if you’re into that sort of music, isn’t bad. They sing in English (which is a plus), their music isn’t that bad (which is a plus), and there’s no pan flute (plus plus) Here they are with the single “Godless”
On the rap front, there is a Bolivian rap group who goes by the name of ‘nacion rap,’ and I’m going to point out some videos, not for the talent of the rapper, but for the aesthetics. The first video, Mama Koka, has some nice shots of the mountainous towns of Bolivia, and the other one, 187, features…hmm…it looks like some kid was on spring break and asked if he could rap in a video. he does not look like he fits there at all. Hmm…four guys…and a red-head kid with a backpack, hmm…one of these things is not like the other.
Last up in Bolivia, i saved the best for last. This is a live television performance of 3600 by Proyecto Fly. No words can describe this video – the lead singer looks like he’s 4 feet tall. The song is off tape and everything is lip synced…and the band isn’t even trying to play anything closely resembling the song. Let’s see, what else? Oh yes, when the female chorus comes in, the tv show just shows postcards of Bolivia….and there’s a dancing llama that shows up. Yes. This all happens.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Balkan nation that was a part of the old war-torn Yugoslavia. It is a home to the 1992 Bosnian war and genocide..ummm…er….hey, look at their soccer team, qualifying to the world cup for the first time ever! Way to go guys!
Divlje Jagode is Bosnia’s most popular “heavy metal” rock band. They formed in the late 70’s, but their story is kind of interesting. In the mid-80’s they were going to start re-recording their songs in English, signed to a British record label, and were ready to become a Glam-Rock band under the English translation of their name – Wild Strawberries. Here is one of their older songs, “Sejla”
Now tell me you can’t picture Shane Douglas walking down the aisle to that during that weird phase where they couldn’t use their own music but only bastardized versions of that. Was that when they were on TNN (right after RollerJam?) I might have the era mixed up, but I’m taking a point for a Shane Douglas reference and two for RollerJam. Another interesting tidbit about these guys is they really changed their sound up, which is something you don’t hear often from bands who already struck it big. They moved from the obvious ripoff of deep purple to this later sound, which is more…Iron Maidenish…more rock operaish.. Ok, i know you’re going to say “but they sound more or less the same.” I have no comment for you, sir or madam. This is “Kap Po Kap” off their 2003 album Od Neba Do Neba
One last thing about these guys, you know how many strip clubs have lost out over the years because Wild Strawberries broke up before their time to shine? The world has been deprived of ladies stripped to the fine lyrics of Wild Strawberries such as this:
If I was there again
Would You feel love to me
Time after time
If I control Your heart
And feel Your passion
I keep You by my side
Burning for me
chorus: Fire on the Water Fire in the sky (x2)
If I should lose control
Of my emotions
I had to compromise
You pay your due
If I commit the crime
Lose my discretion
I left the poorest cry
My aim is true
…no, really, those are the lyrics. No. Really.
Bombarder are a “speed metal” band in the sense they called this song “Speed Metal Maniajak.” I’m having a hard time calling them a speed metal band because this sounds like super early speed metal, not the kind we know today, but the band formed in 1986, some 8 years after the sound came around…this reminds more of old school hardcore punk, but slowed down like 20%. Anyway, just look at that band lineup. The guy with the spikes and the sleeveless shirt with all the buttons, he must be so psyched for this photo. The guy on the right, with the normal haircut and probably a normal job, does not appear to be as thrilled.
Evading Downfall is a death metal band from Sarajevo. Their sound is pretty run of the mill, I just wanted to point out that the drummer’s name is Alexandro Alcantara-Mulaosmanovic. Imagine trying to fit that name on the back of a soccer jersey? Ha! This is “For the Birth of a New Tomorrow”
Every once in a while you take a wrong turn and somehow have ended up on the greatest thing ever. This might be one of those cases with Suad Hadzic . I don’t know what his story is, and i dont’ care. I can watch him sway back and forth inside that circle all night long.
But wait there’s more! it’s like watching that make your own video place at the mall. Classic.
Sikter (“Buzz off” in english) is a…hmm…they’re a band from Sarajevo, and they are an interesting little bunch. Never have a seen a band become further than what they started out as than this band. This band became noteworthy as being the first Bosnian band to get a video on MTV. That video was 1995’s “Pain in Brain,” which has a distinct Henry Rollins feel to it.
So let’s flash forward to 2009 to “Ego trip,” the first single off the album of the same name.
I would say this sounds like Jamiroquai or the Gorillaz, but that is actually harder than this. This is chillstep, Weather Channel “Local on the 8’s” rock…and this is more or less the same band that started out…like not a solo project or a lead singer who went his own way, it’s the same angry guys! I Bosnia, you’re crazy!
Hari Mata Hari is an adult contemporary artist that has released 14 albums since the mid-80’s, and like most people in that genre, he has a loyal fan base- you know, people not of our generation…an older crowd who still actually purchases albums. The following video is for the single Sreca off his latest (2009) album. It’s adult contemporary, he’s popular, so…*yawn*.
Today’s weird mix is B&H Reggae/Ska, and that is brought to us by our friends in Dubioza Kolekitv. Again, when i think of Ska and Reggae, Yugoslavia is not a place that quickly comes to mind. However this band has achieved some crossover success with their 2011 album, Wild Wild East, as it was their first album written in English. From that album is the song “USA” …i wonder what that songs about, hmm…
Discipiniska Komisija is a rap collective from BH. This song, BTS, features another rapper, Billy. Can you guess which one Billy is? Could he be the one who’s rapping in English? Also, how lazy do you have to be the best you can come with is “Billy.” Not Billy the Kid or Billy Blaze or Billy Bullets or whatever, but just Billy…*shrugs*
Frenkie is a Bosnian rapper. I don’t really have much else to say about him than this song is called “Chuck Norris Rap.” Chuck F’n Norris indeed.
Edo Maajka is a Bosnian rapper who looks like a puffy coked up Bam Margera. The ‘song’ I’m choosing to highlight is Rek’o sam joj, and I use the term song in quotes because it just sounds like one big rant. Also, I like the video as the video is a nice conceptual video, plus he’s wearing suspenders while doing the laundy. Does anyone actually wear suspenders anymore?
Geracija X – are a rap group, period. However, for one song, they channeled their inner cypress hill rock superstar. I never thought I would say that this old school rap metal…like judgment night soundtrack rap metal.
Botswana is South Africa’s safari neighbor who if I recall correctly constantly has drought and soil problems, but strangely enough have a large Black metal following. So, expect a lot of that coming up? *shrug* sorry?
Wrust is a self-described melodic death metal band. This is their single off their newest album “intellectual metamorphosis,” this is Hate ‘em all.
Jujuvine is a Botswanan dance hall artist…which, considering dance hall is predominantly a Caribbean thing, he fits in..although, he used the Auto Tune. Auto tune is the death of the industry. I tell ya… This is the love ballad “Marea” ft Gangsta of course.
Back to the speed death metal…which is there for some reason. Crackdust …is a band that named themselves Crackdust, and this is their video for “Derranged Psychopath.” I can just picture a kid going to the record store and going “excuse me sir, do you have the latest crackdust album” I mean, if you’re a death metal band, shouldn’t you be something a tad bit more aggressive than crackdust? Ah, what do I know?
Remuda is a
knockoff Ramada hotel chain a metal band from Botswana that isn’t of the death metal variety (for once) They have that old classic metal sound…but that could just be it sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom. It’s a refreshing sound to say the least. This is “Last Night Kiss”
Skinflint is also a classic rock band in the vain of Iron Maiden and…you know what, they’re not half bad. They recently toured Sweden of all places…So, I guess they’re getting around. They are a three-piece band and have released 3 albums and an EP to date. This is Iron Pierced King.
Biza Mupulu is a Kwassa Kwassa band, whose sound has been made popular by Ivy Leaguers Vampire Weekend. Although it sounds like it belongs in the Caribbean, the sound actually gained popularity from the Congo in the 70’s. Of course when I write this, it is -10 where I’m at and this warm sound just feels out-of-place. This is the video for Batswana tla re bine….i’m not going to even ask about the guy with his entire face in some sort of head bandage. Don’t they have bandanas like everywhere else?
Apollo D, formerly known as Apollo Diablo, is a Botswanan rapper who sounds like he is like from nowhere near Botswana. I’m not going to say I have lowered standards for global rap as the ghettos of like Brussels or Amsterdam or Gaborone don’t compare to Brooklyn…but this guy is a ringer. He’s not from Botswana, he dropped a Deuce Bigelow reference. No, I’m not buying this. This is like when Mr. Burns got all those MLB players to play on his softball team in the Simpsons. Anyway, this is the return of Billy Blunts.
BK Proctor is a rapper who has teamed with “All Stars” for this next song. I don’t know who or what all-stars are, but I do know this is a Botswana original …yes, this is officially not Americans posing as Botswanans The only thing I need to say about this song is that it is called “No Jealous.”
…and with that, I do believe we conclude our musical journey across the world this week. If anything catches your ear, feel free to explore more. Next edition we go to the tiny nation of Brazil, home of the 2014 world cup, 2016 Olympics, and weekly riots.