9 Songs in 9 Languages I’m Blogging About for the Heck of It

The great thing about having a miscellaneous blog is that I can choose whatever topic I want. For months, I’ve wanted to throw together a bunch of songs from different regions in different languages based on my whims. Finally, I’ve done it. Enjoy!

Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega / Every Heart Which Falls in Love” (Hindi)

This song is from the Hindi film which is also called Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega. It’s the second Hindi-language film I ever saw. Though it’s been over a decade since I saw the movie and I completely forgot the plot and the other songs, this one song has stayed with me. Despite not knowing Hindi, I can recite some of the lyrics from memory.

Here’s the full dance sequence from the movie. I recommend watching that before watching this version with English subtitles and footage from the movie.

Pale Pale w / Talk” (Haitian Creole)

When I was in high school, I really got into mizik rasin (‘root music’), a genre from Haiti. Thanks to mizik rasin, I understand a little kreyol ayisyen (Haitian Creole). That kreyol ayisyen has many cognates with French, such as ‘pale’ (Creole) and ‘parler’ (French), helps.

Listening to mizik rasin doesn’t mean I know much about Haiti. However, taking in mizik rasin at such an impressionable age made me aware of how… patronizing most depictions of Haiti are in United States media. To be blunt, most Americans a) don’t think about Haiti or b) think of it as a basketcase of a country full of helpless people. Suffice to say, that’s not how mizik rasin presents Haiti.

Here’s “Pale Pale w,” a classic mizik rasin song.

Sadoneun Gon / Cheer Up” (Korean)

I generally dislike K-pop. Girls’ Generation is one of the most overrated bands in history (when I’ve asked people why they are so popular, the only answer I got was ‘they are hot’). Though I knew a little about K-pop before I went to Taiwan, I wasn’t exposed frequently until I moved there. That Taiwanese people listen to so much K-pop while Taiwanese pop (to my ear) sounds so much better boggled my mind. Since I’ve moved back to the United States, K-pop keeps getting more and more popular here.

All that said, I adore a few K-pop songs. (I even admit that I slightly like BTS.) “Cheer Up” is a favorite. I like that the music video shows the real South Korea (I can attest from firsthand experience that South Korea looks like that, I especially appreciate the silvergrass). Watch it here (and remember to turn on the English subtitles).

Tangaroa Whakamautai / Tangaroa, Commander of the Tides” (Maori)

Maisey Rika has a gorgeous voice. ‘Nuff said.

Okay, I’ll say a little more. Tangaroa is the sea deity in the Maori pantheon.

Por Una Cabeza / For One Head” (Spanish)

One of the most fascinating conversations I’ve ever had was about Argentine tango. Though I said little; we mostly listened to a certain guy’s monologue. He was, hands down, the best monologue speaker I’ve ever encountered. I wish I could bottle his talent and sell it, or use it myself. He attributed his ability to keep people hanging on his words to Argentine tango.

Carlos Gardel is one of the most famous Argentine tango singers ever, and “Por Una Cabeza” is one of his most famous songs. Here is Carlos Gardel himself singing the song, and here is a recent cover with English subtitles.

Yüce Dağ Başında / On the High Mountain” (Turkish)

Earlier this year I encountered a link to this song, and I was hooked. I don’t want to admit how many times I’ve watched this video. It led me to listening to more Anatolian psychedelic music, (such as this song, “Consistent Fantasy Is Reality”).

“Weekend” (Luganda / English)

As the most popular active singer in Uganda, if not all of East Africa, Eddy Kenzo needs no introduction. So go ahead and enjoy his recent single.

Cái Trâm Em Cài / Your Hair Clip” (Vietnamese)

Over a decade ago, I somehow got an mp3 of Carol Kim’s “Cái Trâm Em Cài” and it sneaked into my playlists. I understand none of the lyrics, but the song sounds great. Here’s a more recent performance.

D’amour ou d’amitié / Love or Friendship” (French)

I mostly don’t care for Céline Dion, but my heart has a soft spot for this early hit. This is the only song from North America in this list (at least Céline Dion is from North America, this video was filmed in Paris and I don’t know where the songwriter is from).

Now I’m Wondering What You Think

Which of these songs have you heard before? Which ones do you like best? Which song were you most surprised to find on this list? Please share your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “9 Songs in 9 Languages I’m Blogging About for the Heck of It

  1. This is great and eclectic but because it’s great and eclectic it’s taking me forever to get through it 😆

    Even the Céline Dion song, which I may have heard before and should know… it’s such an early hit I didn’t know it.

    I’ve only listened to about half the songs and they are all surprising and interesting and new to me. The Korean video has a touching theme and was enigmatic to me at first viewing. (And a refreshing change from industrial and disturbingly fascinating K-pop. My last musical K-crush was the self-referential “How You Like That”…) Also I did not know the term “trot song”, which I see in Chinese is called Korean 演歌 enka, a style of Japanese sentimental ballad.

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