Modern Rock Songs from China

Omnipotent Youth

Can you imagine impassioned rock songs in modern Chinese Popular culture?  Tyson Gibb just did a great blog post with his 10 top rock songs from China along with translations and language suggestions.

Drop by his post to hear and read about these powerful songs that comment, question, protest and generally turn rock music into a vehicle for mainstream Chinese voices.

http://tysongibb.net/?p=419

(Pictured above is lead singer and guitarist from a modern Chinese band known as Omnipotent Youth)

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“Weeping”- An Anti-Apartheid Song Written By South African Songwriter, Dan Heymann

sowetoWe’ve just reviewed the new Bala Brothers cd on Warner Brothers records which showcases two of the most widely known anti-apartheid anthems.  Our last post shared the background of the song: “Something Inside So Strong”.  Here’s more about singer-songwriter, Dan Heymann and his powerful song: “Weeping” which appears on that same cd, but has also been covered by a host of artists both in South Africa and around the world.

Although it’s hard to find a great deal of information on the author of this song, we do know that Dan Heymann is a South African citizen who spoke out against apartheid and recorded a 1987 version of his song, “Weeping” with his band, Bright Blue.  That original version played on the radio in South Africa and included a refrain from the “illegal” anthem of the African National Congress.  Checking out Dan’s webpages, you can see he was actively involved with many artists, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Vusi Mahlasela, many of whom risked life and limb to express their desires for freedom and equality.  In 1999, readers of the South African Rock Encyclopedia voted “Weeping” the “All-time favorite South African Song”.

You can see two video versions of the song below.  The first is by popular American artist, Josh Groban, performing live on the David Letterman show.  The other is from Dan Heymann’s band, Bright Blue.


2008 – Josh Groban’s Performance of “Weeping” on the David Letterman Show

Bright Blue’s Version of “Weeping”

Lyrics – Weeping
Written by Dan Heymann/Copyright Bright Blue)

I knew a man who lived in fear 
It was huge, it was angry, it was drawing near


Behind his house, a secret place 
Was the shadow of the demon he could never face 


He built a wall of steel and flame and men with guns, to keep it tame 


Then standing back, he made it plain 


That the nightmare would never ever rise again


But the fear and the fire and the guns remain

It doesn’t matter now 


It’s over anyhow 


He tells the world that it’s sleeping 


But as the night came round 
I heard its lonely sound


It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping

And then one day the neighbors came


They were curious to know about the smoke and flame


They stood around outside the wall 


But of course there was nothing to be heard at all 


“My friends,” he said, “We’ve reached our goal 


The threat is under firm control 


As long as peace and order reign 
I’ll be damned if I can see a reason to explain”

What Does The Lyrics Mean?  

Although it’s easy to grasp the concept behind the song, the author explains the symbolism behind the lyrics in his own words:

“I’ve been asked many times about the symbolism in the Weeping lyrics, so maybe I should say something here. The man referred to in the Weeping lyrics is the late P. W. Botha, one of the last white leaders of South Africa before the end of the Apartheid regime; The demon he could never face (in the Weeping lyrics) refers to the aspirations of the oppressed majority, while the Weeping lyrics also refer to the neighbors, literally the journalists from other countries who were monitoring the situation in South Africa.”

Check out Dan’s webpages, resources and other songs which can be found at the links below.  He is an incredible writer with a wealth of talent as well as powerful songs and valuable cultural resources.

Resources

Dan Heymann’s Webpage for “Weeping”
http://www.weeping.info/index.html

Dan Heymann’s “Compressed History of Apartheid”
http://www.weeping.info/anti-apartheid-movement.html

Background of the Song: Something Inside So Strong

https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/something-inside-so-strong-a-powerful-anti-apartheid-song-and-much-more/

The Bala Brothers – New CD release on Warner Brothers Records
https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/do-you-know-the-bala-brothers/

Learn Some Basic Quechua Through Song For International Mother Language Day (IMLD)

yaw yaw girlDid you know that there is a special day earmarked for worldwide celebration and promotion of diverse languages and multiculturalism?  International Mother Language Day was created by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and is held annually on February 21st.  Made official in 2008 by the United Nations General Assembly, the chosen date marks an event in 1952 when students were shot and killed in present-day Bangladesh while demonstrating for the recognition of their national language, Bangla. Currently gathering momentum around the world, IMLD is the subject of many world-wide activities as well as a variety of great features from Multicultural Kid Bloggers whose posts can be found here at the special Facebook Page below.

Using Music To Encourage Language

Along with being a great way to celebrate world cultures, IMLD is an excellent opportunity to focus on world languages and to use music and the arts as a way to encourage diversity and multiculturalism, especially with young children. Although learning a new language can seem difficult at first, using music and games is a great way to connect with new sounds, words and phrases. In the process of singing or simple music activities or games, kids (or people of any age) begin to make sense of phrases and words and can build their competency and enjoyment of speaking another language.

Would you like to learn a bit of Quechua – the language used by the Incan Empire of South America? Here’s a little song or rhyme popular in Peru:

What Does The Song Say?

Essentially this is an “I’m gonna tell on you” song. Here’s what the words you’re hearing mean.

“Yaw”, means “Hey!”
“Puka” is the color red and a pollera or polleracha (little pollera) is a traditional skirt.

So the first phrase is
“Hey, girl in the little red skirt”.

The next verse asks “What are you doing?”, in Quechua “Imata ruwanki?”

It also talks about a corn field – and the word “sara” means corn.
The song then says “I am going to tell your mom and your dad” and you can easily hear the words “Mamayki” (your mom) and Taitayki (your dad).

Although it takes more then one song or game to learn a new language, it’s a great start and a fun way to build bridges between cultures – especially in languages like Quechua that may be in danger of being left behind or lost.

CAncioncitas Book Cover smallE-Book and CD About Quechua Culture

Want to learn more about the Quechua culture? Check out the E-book and companion CD below. And if you are a classroom or homeschooler with limited budgets, please contact us as we would be happy to get you a free copy for your use. To get a free copy, e-mail dariamusic at yahoo dot com and put “Free E-book” in the subject line.

Wishing everyone a happy International Mother Language Day!

Resources And Links

Wikipedia’s International Mother Language Day entry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mother_Language_Day

Multicultural Kid Bloggers – IMLD Activities
https://www.facebook.com/internationalmotherlanguagecelebration

A Child’s Life In The Andes from TPT
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Childs-Life-In-The-Andes-E-Book-Plus-Music-CD-639838

Cancioncitas De Los Andes – From Itunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cancioncitas-los-andes-little/id602798167

A Song To Remember Fallen Leaders – “Abraham, Martin and John”

abraham recordPopular music in the USA in the 1960’s spoke out on many topics.

Although this balled (written in 1968 by Dick Holler and first recorded by Dion) “spoke out quietly”, it tied together a string of assassinated leaders that were loved, admired and changed the course of American politics.

On MLK Day 2015, we thought we’d share the lyrics and video with you. Mentioned in the song by name are Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. The video below is a moving version of the song, remade by Marvin Gaye.

“Abraham, Martin and John”

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
You know, I just looked around and he’s gone.

Anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked around and he’s gone.

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked ’round and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things that they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free
Some day soon, and it’s a-gonna be one day…

Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill,
With Abraham, Martin and John.

“El Son de la Negra” – The Second National Anthem of Mexico

Mexican flagThis classic song from mariachi repertoire is so popular it is sometimes called the “second national anthem of Mexico.”  Composed by Blas Galindo in the late 1800’s, this song from Jalisco, Mexico has many versions and variations but is loved and appreciated everywhere as an important part of Mexican folk culture.

What Does The Song Mean?

Since there are numerous variations in the lyrics, it’s hard to tell for certain what the song means.  Clearly, it’s a sad song about lost or separated lovers.  Here’s one popular version of the lyrics in Spanish.

“El Son de la Negra”

Negrita de mis pesares,
hojas de papel volando.
Negrita de mis pesares,
hojas de papel volando.

A todos diles que sí
pero no les digas cuándo.
Así me dijiste a mí;
Por eso vivo penando.

¿Cuándo me traes a mi negra?
Que la quiero ver aquí
con su rebozo de seda
Que le traje de Tepic?

In the lyrics, the singer is asking about the woman that brings him sorrow.  He says that she has told everyone “yes” but will not tell him “when”.  That she has told him “yes” and because of that, he is suffering.

The last verse asks : “When will you bring my “negra”?  I would like to see her here.  In her silk shawl.  That I brought from Tepic (the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Nayarit).

Who Is “La Negra”?

The title and the use of the word “negra” in this song actually created a stir about a year ago on an English-speaking t.v. channel in the USA.  A mariachi group was asked not to play this song because they felt the title used a derogatory term for a black woman (negra).  However, most Latin American Spanish speakers recognize the words “negro/negra” as an affectionate term for a sweetheart, a phrase better translated as “my darling” or “my dear”, not as “black man or woman”.

You can read more about this controversy and see one excellent explanation/translation of the lyrics here: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/la-negra-black-woman.html#ixzz35s6oWqzd

Mariachi Music For Kids

We’re big fans of the website – KID WORLD CITIZEN that recently published an introduction to mariachi music and Mexican culture for kids. You can read more about that here:

http://kidworldcitizen.org/2014/06/19/mexican-mariachi-music/

Ballet Folklorico del Mexico Performs “El Son de la Negra”

Last but not least, here’s the Ballet Folklorico Mexico’s verison of “El Son de la Negra”.

“Futebol” by Chico Buarque, A Song From Brazil About “The Beautiful Game”

world cup logoWith Brazil hosting the FIFA World Cup, we wanted to share the song “Futebol” by Chico Buarque that is so popular it even has it’s own documentary.

Written and performed below by Brazil’s Chico Buarque, this samba compares the art of a great soccer player with the artistry of a music composer or painter. The lyrics in Brazilian say that the soccer player is as creative as an artist looking for just the right moment for inspiration to come and acting upon it – with the precision of an arrow. And since Chico Buarque and most of Brazil are enthusiastic soccer fans, the song is filled with imagery from the game and the names of famous players such Pelé, Mané, Didí, Pagão, and Canhoteiro. You can see a live version (with Portuguese subtitles) of “Futebol” here:

The documentary that mixes soccer and soccer music is called “O Futebol” and is an homage to the Brazilian love of the game.

More Songs of Soccer

This song is actually one of three soccer songs from Brazil chosen by Betto Arcos, a writer and Latin American Music maven. Want to see his two other picks for great soccer songs? Check them out at this NPR Global Hit post from the show called “The World”

http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-06-10/if-youre-waiting-world-cup-try-one-these-brazilian-futebol-songs-get

“Plyve Kacha” – A Ukranian Folk Song Mourning The Dead of Maidan Square

As long as there have been wars, there have been sad songs about war – and losing children or loved ones to the devastation of war. However, with the recent protests in Maiden, Ukraine, this old song has taken on a new life, mourning the loss of those killed while unarmed at the recent protests.

“Plyve Kacha” or “Plyve Kacha Po Tysyni” translates literally to “the duckling swims”, but the lyrics are a dialogue between a mother and a son going off to war, according to the BBC’s Irena Taranyuk. She translates two of the most moving lines of the song this way:

“My dear mother, what will happen to me if I die in a foreign land?”

“Well, my dearest, you will be buried by other people.”

Dozens of people were killed by snipers in Maidan on February 18th and 20th, 2014 and were buried and mourned in a mass funeral on February 21st, with this song being used to memorialize their lives.

You can see images of those lost in that conflict in this video along with a version of this poignant song.  Lyrics to the song appear below (in Ukrainian).

“Plyve Kacha”  (Lyrics in Ukranian)

Plyve kacha po Tysyni,
Oy, plyve kacha po Tysyni.
Mamko moya, ne lay meni,
Mamko moya, ne lay meni.

Zalayesh my v zlu hodynu,
Oy, zalayesh my v zlu hodynu.
Sam ne znayu, de pohynu,
Sam ne znayu, de pohynu.

Pohynu ya v chuzim krayu,
Pohynu ya v chuzim krayu.
Chto z my bude braty yamu?
Chto z my bude braty yamu?

Vyberut mi chuzi lyude,
Oy vyberut mi chuzi lyude,
Cy ne zal ty, mamko, bude?
Oy, cy ne zal ty, mamko, bude?

Oy yak z meni, synku, ne zal?
Yak ze meni, synku, ne zal?
Ty na moyim sercyu lezav,
Ty na moyim sercyu lezav.

Plyve kacha po Tysyni,
Oy, plyve kacha po Tysyni.
Mamko moya, ne lay meni,
Mamko moya, ne lay meni.

An Earth Day Song – In Spanish

Although Earth Day began in the USA in 1970, the idea of loving and caring for our planet is a universal concept. When I was growing up, I remember hearing a Native American group sing the words: “The Earth Is Our Mother, We Must Take Care of Her”. All over the globe, people express their love for “Mother Earth” through music, songs, culture and in so many other meaningful ways.

In 2004, I adapted a new version of the beautiful African-American spiritual: “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” and added lyrics based on a project done with elementary school students. Since that time, the song has been used in China, Singapore, South America, Scotland and in dozens of other venues across the world. This year, a wonderful bilingual blogger translated the lyrics into Spanish.

Spanish Translation

The Spanish version was written by Cecilia Fencer, head and heart of Spanglish.house.com . She loves diversity and equality.  Translating this spiritual to an Earth Day captured her imagination because she believes God made us responsible to take care of his creation.

(Lyrics to the original “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands” song can be seen below as well as a video of a project using the song in Malaysia.)

Tenemos Todo El Mundo En Nuestras Manos

New version of lyrics in English
c 1994 Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou
c 2104 Spanish translation Cecelia Fencer

Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.

Debemos reciclar, ahora que podemos.
Reducir, reusar y reciclar
Reducir y reciclar ahora que podemos.
Tenemos al mundo en nuestras manos.

Tenemos plantas y animales en nuestra tierra,
plantas y animales en nuestra tierra.
Tenemos plantas y animales en nuestra tierra.
Tenemos al mundo en nuestras manos.

Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.

Tomemonos de las manos, como hermanos.
Tomemonos de las manos como hermanos.
Tomemonos de las manos como hermanos,
tenemos al mundo en nuestras manos

Encuentra tus sueños y haz lo que puedas,
ten tus anhelos y lucha por ellos.
Encuentra tus sueños y haz lo que puedas,
tenemos al mundo en nuestras manos.

Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.
Tenemos todo el mundo en nuestras manos.

We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands

(Sung To The Tune of: He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands)

new lyrics © D.A. Marmaluk-Hajioannou

We’ve got the whole world, in our hands
We’ve got the whole world, in our hands
We’ve got the whole world, in our hands
We’ve got the whole world in our hands

We should recycle now – all that we can
Recycle now – all that we can
Recycle now – all that we can
We’ve got the whole world in our hands

Be kind to the plants and animals – of our land
Be kind to the plants and animals – of our land
Be kind to the plants and animals – of our land
We’ve got the whole world in our hands

Join hands with sisters and brothers – throughout the land
Join hands with sisters and brothers – throughout the land
Join hands with sisters and brothers – throughout the land
We’ve got the whole world in our hands

Clean up pollution – everywhere we can
Clean up pollution – everywhere we can
Clean up pollution – everywhere we can
We’ve got the whole world in our hands

Dream your bright dream – then do all that you can
Dream your bright dream – then do all that you can
Dream your dream – then do all that you can
We’ve got the whole world in our hands

We’ve got the whole world, in our hands
We’ve got the whole world, in our hands
We’ve got the whole world, in our hands
We’ve got the whole world in our hands

Resources

Free During April 2014
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rock Out! E-book of 10 Recycled Musical Activities
http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php

History of Earth Day
http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement

DARIA Songs For Earth Day – from TeachersPayTeachers
www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/EARTH-DAY-SONGS-DARIA-SINGS-FOR-EARTH-DAY-545561

DARIA Songs For Earth Day – From Itunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/daria-sings-for-earth-day-ep/id428500463

The National Anthem of Russia

russian anthemOne major cultural highlight of the closing ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a large group of children singing Russia’s moving National anthem.  Formally known as “The State Anthem of the Russian Federation”, this powerful patriotic song was adapted from the National Anthem of the Soviet Union, composed by Alexander Alexandrov with original lyrics by Sergey Mikhalkov and Gabriel El-Registan.

The history of national anthems in Russia is a bit complex.  Before 1944, Russia and all other member states of the Soviet Union considered the song “The Internationale” as the national anthem of the USSR.  At that point, the USSR saw a need for a national song that spoke more about the Soviet experience and the National Anthem of the Soviet Union was adopted.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia adopted a new instrumental piece of music as their national anthem.  It was composed by Mikhail Glinka and titled “Patrioticheskaya Pesnya”.  When that melody failed to inspire and no perfect set of lyrics could be found, Vladimir Putin reinstated the old Soviet anthem and sponsored a contest for updated lyrics.  This new anthem, in its current form, became official in 2000 and you can read the lyrics below in Russian, transliterated Russian and an English translation.

The music is powerful and moving and you can hear two choral versions of the song here:

Lyrics In Russian

Россия – священная наша держава,
Россия – любимая наша страна.
Могучая воля, великая слава –
Твоё достоянье на все времена!

  • Chorus:
  • Славься, Отечество наше свободное,
  • Братских народов союз вековой,
  • Предками данная мудрость народная!
  • Славься, страна! Мы гордимся тобой!

От южных морей до полярного края
Раскинулись наши леса и поля.
Одна ты на свете! Одна ты такая –
Хранимая Богом родная земля!

Широкий простор для мечты и для жизни
Грядущие нам открывают года.
Нам силу даёт наша верность Отчизне.
Так было, так есть и так будет всегда!

——————————————

Lyrics –  Russian (Transliterated)

Rossiya – svyashchennaya nasha derzhava,
Rossiya – lyubimaya nasha strana.
Moguchaya volya, velikaya slava –
Tvoio dostoyanye na vse vremena!

Chorus:

Slav’sya, Otechestvo nashe svobodnoye,
Bratskih narodov soyuz vekovoi,
Predkami dannaya mudrost’ narodnaya!
Slav’sya, strana! My gordimsya toboi!

Ot yuzhnyh morei do polyarnogo kraya
Raskinulis’ nashi lesa i polya.
Odna ty na svete! Odna ty takaya –
Khranimaya Bogom rodnaya zemlya!

Shirokii prostor dlya mechty i dlya zhizni.
Gryadushchiye nam otkryvayut goda.
Nam silu daiot nasha vernost’ Otchizne.
Tak bylo, tak yest’ i tak budet vsegda!

—————————-

Lyrics –  English Translation

Russia – our sacred homeland,
Russia – our beloved country.
A mighty will, great glory –
These are your heritage for all time!

Chorus:

Be glorious, our free Motherland,
Age-old union of fraternal peoples,
Ancestor-given wisdom of the people!
Be glorious, our country! We are proud of you!

From the southern seas to the polar lands
Spread are our forests and fields.
You are unique in the world, one of a kind –
This native land protected by God!

Wide spaces for dreams and for living
Are opened for us by the coming years
Our loyalty to the Motherland gives us strength.
Thus it was, thus it is and thus it always will be!

The Paraguayan Harp

paraguayan harp from wikiFew countries consider music so important that they actually designate a national instrument.  Not so in Paraguay, where it’s beautiful and distinctive harp and harp music are considered national treasures and are loved throughout the region and the world.

Although there are many harps found in Europe, South America and across the globe, the Paraguayan harp is distinctively light, weighing only about 8 to 10 pounds. Tuned to a diatonic scale, the Paraguayan harp can have 32, 36, 38, 40, 42 or 46 strings and stands about 4 ½ to 5 feet tall.

But why talk about a Paraguayan harp, when you can listen to one?  Here are four videos our favorite Paraguayan harp songs along with a bit of description and explanation.

400 Harps Play The Song “Pajaro Campana”

A classic of Paraguayan folk music, here you see 400 harps (yes, really 400 harps!) perform this beloved song.  What is a pajaro campana?  Literally a “bell bird”, most people agree that it’s the name for a bird heard around the capital city of Asunción whose call sounds like a bell.

This mega-concert for harps was held at the “Plaza Uruguaya” on July 15, 2012 to mark the 475th anniversary of the capital city of Asunción, Paraguay.

Pajaro Campana  (The Bell Bird) Performed By Mariano y Ernesto

Here’s a second version of the same song.  This time, you can hear two harps playing together in the form of a duet.

Harpist, Celso Duarte Plays The Song “Iguana “

Videotaped at a family concert in Carnegie Hall  Dec 11, 2012, you can hear the distinctive voice of the Paraguayan harp as well as an ensemble of folk musicians playing shekere, quijada, upright bass and even dancing on a wooden box!

Moliendo Café Performed By Nicolas Carter on Paraguyan Harp

Moliendo Café means “grinding coffee” in English. The song was written by composer, Hugo Blanco and has a beautiful and haunting melody.  Performed here as an instrumental by harpist, Nicolas Carter, lyrics to the song are below the video clip.

Moliendo Café By Hugo Blanco

Cuando la tarde languidece

Renacen las sombras

Y en su quietud los cafetales

Parecen decir

Esa triste canción de amor

De la vieja molienda

Que en el letargo de la noche

Se deja sentir.

(bis)

Una pena de amor, una tristeza

Lleva el sambo Manuel en su amargura

Pasa incansable la noche

Moliendo café.

Cuando la tarde languidece

Renacen las sombras

Y en su quietud los cafetales

Parecen decir

Esa triste canción de amor

De la vieja molienda

Que en el letargo de la noche

Se deja sentir.

Una pena de amor, una tristeza

Lleva el sambo Manuel en su amargura

Pasa incansable la noche

Moliendo café.

Cuando la tarde languidece

Renacen las sombras

Y en su quietud los cafetales

Parecen decir

Esa triste canción de amor

De la vieja molienda

Que en el letargo de la noche

Se deja sentir.

Que en el letargo de la noche

Se deja sentir.

———

Main Photo – Photo Credit By Aij (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons