A Tribute to Non-English Music

Well hello there,

Long time no speak. I know it’s been forever and a day since I posted my last YBP blog entry. I could provide a host of excuses for my absense, but I think I’d rather just say I’m sorry. Believe me when I say that in the very near future, I will be blogging with much more intensity. I thought for my latest post I would do something a little different. Instead of talking about what’s new and exciting in music these days (ahem…Grizzly Bear and Royksopp), I would talk about some great music that is sung in languages other than english. So if you only speak english and are a big lyrics lover, I’m affraid this post isn’t for you. But if you are looking for something a little different than what you are used to, take a listen to the following excellent bands and artists.

Cao Fang (Chinese)

Firstly, I’d like to introduce you to Cao Fang. She is officially the first Chinese music I have on my Ipod. I discovered her from this General Electric commercial (I think). I really loved the song in the commercial so I went on one of my searches to find out who the singer was. It didn’t take me long to find that it was Cao Fang. This girl is pretty awesome, check her out.

Cao Fang – 在夏天 (In Summer)

Cao Fang – 城市稻草人 (Urban Scarecrow)

Sigur Rós (Icelandic)

Sigur Rós is definitely one of the biggest foreign language bands to make it in North America. They are from Iceland, the land that has given us Bjork, and they too sing in a language that is quite incomprehensible to me, but sounds very pretty nonetheless. Chances are that even if you are not familiar with Sigur Rós you have most likely heard their song “Hoppipola” from their critically acclaimed Takk album. It has been featured in the movie Penelope as well as in a commercial for Slumdog Millionaire. Also have you seen the preview for the new Disney movie, Earth? Take a listen at about the 1 minute point.

Sigur Rós – Hoppipola

Sigur Rós – Gobbledigook

Malajube (French)

I love Malajube and you should too. They just released their third full length album, entitled Labyrinthes and let me tell you it is excellent. Even though I speak French, most of the time I can’t make out what they are singing about, but that doesn’t matter because the music speaks for itself. Here are a couple of songs, one old and one new for you to enjoy.

Malajube РPort̩ Disparu (new)

Malajube – Ton Plat Favoris (old)

Super Furry Animals (Welsch)

Super Furry Animals have been putting out records since early 90s and like a fine wine they seen to only get better with age. While most of their recordings are in English, about nine years ago they decided to put out a record all in Welsch. The results are quite interesting. Take a listen to SFA in Welsch:

Super Furry Animals – Ymaelodi A’r Ymylon (Joining the Periphery)

Coeur de Pirate (French)

I know this my second French artist, but I just heard Coeur de Pirate for the first time the other day thanks to my friend David and I think she makes som pretty nice music. And she’s from my hometown of Montreal, Quebec so you know…I’m biased. And I just found out she is opening for another great Non-English musician that goes by the name of Yann Tiersen (Amelie & Goodbye Lenin Soundtracks), for two nights in Montreal on April 17th and 18th. If you live in Montreal and don’t go to one of these shows you deserve to be pinched…hard!

Coeur De Pirate – Le Long Du Large

Coeur De Pirate – Comme Des Enfants

I know there must be thousands of bands that I’ve missed out on, but these are just a few that I like. How about you? Do you listen to any good non-English music? We’d love to hear about it!

-The Middle Distance Runner

8 comments for “A Tribute to Non-English Music”

  1. Wow… with your latest blog it’s confirmation that:
    “it’s a small world after all”

  2. Heya nice picks, for something else try (from New Zealand) The Mamaku Project(French/Maori), Tiki (Tiki Taane) (Maori/English), ブランキー・ジェット・シティ Blankey Jet City(Japan), Asian Kung-Fu Generation (Japan)and Magic System (Cote D’Ivoire)for a start =)

  3. Hey Misty,

    thanks for the recommendations!i will definitely check them out! 🙂

  4. hello, may be it’s late to say but I ve just seen you blog,I wanna recomend you some great groups from Turkey like Athena,Mor ve Otesi,Sebnem Ferah,Sevval Sam Tekin,Sertab Erener..

  5. It’s not too late! i thank you for your recommendations! i will check them out. 🙂

  6. For Chinese bands in more of the indie-rock sphere I suggest Hedgehog, Carsick Cars, Snapline, ReTros and Hard Queen.

    There are tons of other ones, mostly out of Beijing, but those are some of the best in my opinion.

  7. Hi ! I’m french 🙂 I saw your blog and i noticed you like Coeur de Pirate, she’s a great french singer.
    I can recomend you some french artists: Les Wampas, Renan Luce, Telephone (an old band), Les Fatals Picards, Tryo. Well, I will be happy if you tell me what of this bands you prefer. Bye.

  8. Some spanish (from Spain) recommendations:

    El Canto del Loco
    Nena Daconte
    Presuntos Implicados
    La Oreja de Van Gogh

    and why not…La Casa Azul:


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