On a World Cup of Songs – The Did Not Qualify

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been posting my favorite songs from each of the countries that qualified for the 2014 World Cup.

With the tournament starting tomorrow, I’ll finish up that project by choosing my favorite songs among those countries that did not qualify. Qualification for the World Cup happens by continental regions: North/Central America and Caribbean, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. I will choose one song from a country that did not qualify from each continental region.

Enjoy.

Africa: South Africa

Mafikizolo – “Khona”

Asia: India

Avial – “Karukara”

Europe: Sweden

Opeth – “Harvest”

North America: Canada

Corneille – “Viens”

Oceania: New Zealand

The Naked and Famous – “Hearts Like Ours”

South America: Venezuela

Los Amigos Invisibles – “El disco anal”

Alright, that does it for music videos. Phew.

 

 

On a World Cup of Songs – Group H

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Here is the final round of my survey of the best songs from each country participating the 2014 World Cup.

First, a review of the ground rules:

1. The song has to be released in or after the year of my birth (1981). Otherwise, Pedro Infante’s rendition of “Cielito Lindo” would win, hands down.

2. Regardless of relative quality, if I know of and like songs from a country, I have to chose one of them. This will hurt some countries. For countries where I know multiple songs/artists, I have allotted myself 10 minutes to make a decision on the best song.

3. If I don’t know songs from a country (marked with an asterisk*), I have allotted myself 10 minutes of internet research to find a song. This will also hurt some countries.

4. My rules for a band representing a country is roughly as intuitive as FIFA’s rules for players representing nations. (In other words, any remote affiliation may count.)

5. These choices are definitive of my personal taste in music, nothing more. Please share your favorites in the comments.

On with the show.

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

Belgium:

Gotye – “Somebody that I Used to Know”

Perhaps a cliché choice, but the song is fun.

Honorable Mention: Natacha Atlas’s cover of “I Put a Spell on You.”

Algeria:

Khaled – “Aicha”

A classic, gem of a song.

Honorable Mention: Cheb Mami – “Meli Meli”

Russia:

Leningrad – “Fish”

There may be many fish in the sea, but this song is definitely a catch.

South Korea:

Psy – “Champion”

I know; you thought I’d choose the other song. Not a chance. This was the first Psy song I heard, and it became one of my karaoke songs while I was in Korea. That being said, I was really happy to see “Gangnam Style” become a mega-hit around the world because I think Psy is a quality artist and performer.

Honorable Mention:  Psy – “We are the One” (Do you know your Korean movie references?); Witches – “There She Is” (my other karaoke song); Windy City – “Love Supreme”; Windy City – “Carnival”; MC Mong – “Mong’s Party”; Suck Stuff – “Just like a Punk Rocker” (a shout out to Skunk Hell).

That wraps it up. The best songs from all 32 nations participating in the 2014 World Cup. Share your thoughts and suggestions below.

The Rest of the Groups:

Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
Group E
Group F
Group G

On a World Cup of Songs – Group G

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Here is the next round of my survey of the best songs from each country participating the 2014 World Cup.

First, a review of the ground rules:

1. The song has to be released in or after the year of my birth (1981). Otherwise, Pedro Infante’s rendition of “Cielito Lindo” would win, hands down.

2. Regardless of relative quality, if I know of and like songs from a country, I have to chose one of them. This will hurt some countries. For countries where I know multiple songs/artists, I have allotted myself 10 minutes to make a decision on the best song.

3. If I don’t know songs from a country (marked with an asterisk*), I have allotted myself 10 minutes of internet research to find a song. This will also hurt some countries.

4. My rules for a band representing a country is roughly as intuitive as FIFA’s rules for players representing nations. (In other words, any remote affiliation may count.)

5. These choices are definitive of my personal taste in music, nothing more. Please share your favorites in the comments.

On with the show.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Germany:

KMFDM – “A Drug Against War”

Sure, KMFDM is not for everyone, but the line “KMFDM is a drug against war” just randomly pops into my head from time to time. It is probably weird to say, but I find this song catchy.

Honorable Mention: Did you know that Lou Bega was from Germany? I sure didn’t. Lou Bega – “Mambo No. 5″

Portugal*:

Os Golpes – “A Marcha dos Golpes”

I thought about going with Nelly Furtado, what with her being of Portuguese decent, but I opted to search for a home grown band and found this nice little tune.

Ghana:

FOKN Bois – “BRKN LNGWJZ”

If it were my choice, I would have given you the visa, Wanlov.

USA:

Black Star – “Definition”

“Consider me the entity within the industry without a history of spittin’ the epitome of stupidity.” Nuff said.

Honorable Mention: Michael Jackson – “Bad”. This was the first song I really liked off of the first cassette tape I ever owned. Also, I share a birthday with MJ.

That wraps up Group G. One more group to go.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Share them below.

The Rest of the Groups:

Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
Group E
Group F
Group H

 

On a World Cup of Songs – Group F

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Here is the next round of my survey of the best songs from each country participating the 2014 World Cup.

First, a review of the ground rules:

1. The song has to be released in or after the year of my birth (1981). Otherwise, Pedro Infante’s rendition of “Cielito Lindo” would win, hands down.

2. Regardless of relative quality, if I know of and like songs from a country, I have to chose one of them. This will hurt some countries. For countries where I know multiple songs/artists, I have allotted myself 10 minutes to make a decision on the best song.

3. If I don’t know songs from a country (marked with an asterisk*), I have allotted myself 10 minutes of internet research to find a song. This will also hurt some countries.

4. My rules for a band representing a country is roughly as intuitive as FIFA’s rules for players representing nations. (In other words, any remote affiliation may count.)

5. These choices are definitive of my personal taste in music, nothing more. Please share your favorites in the comments.

On with the show.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Argentina:

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – “El Matador”

If you’re in the know, this choice comes as no surprise. I love Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.

Honorable Mention: More Cadillacs! La Vida, Calaveras y Diablitos, Vasos Vacios

Bosnia and Herzegovina*:

Billy Andol – “Galileo”

Once again, the Balkans surprise with some nice indy rock. This time its Billy Andol, from Sarajevo.

Iran:

The Yellow Dogs – “Dance Floor”

Dancing has become an issue in Iran, recently, so there is something to appreciate in this song and video. Of course, if I’ve learned anything from Hollywood, it is that Iran’s arresting of the ‘Happy’ dancers will be the downfall of the current regime.

Honorable Mention: Eendo – “Boro Vasat”

Nigeria:

D’Banj – “Oliver Twist”

I have an irrational love for D’Banj, such that I even like Mr. Endowed, but what can I say? I’m the kinda blogger that your boyfriends wanna be. Also, I gotta give a shout out to my fellow obroni’s azonto. [Is it oyibo in Nigeria?]

Honorable Mention: P-Square – “Personally”; Wonde Coal – “You Bad”; Iyanya – “Kukere”

This was a very enjoyable group. Some of my all time favorites are found in this group.

Who did I miss? Let me know below.

The Rest of the Groups:

Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
Group E
Group G
Group H

On a World Cup of Songs – Group E

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Here is the next round of my survey of the best songs from each country participating the 2014 World Cup.

First, a review of the ground rules:

1. The song has to be released in or after the year of my birth (1981). Otherwise, Pedro Infante’s rendition of “Cielito Lindo” would win, hands down.

2. Regardless of relative quality, if I know of and like songs from a country, I have to chose one of them. This will hurt some countries. For countries where I know multiple songs/artists, I have allotted myself 10 minutes to make a decision on the best song.

3. If I don’t know songs from a country (marked with an asterisk*), I have allotted myself 10 minutes of internet research to find a song. This will also hurt some countries.

4. My rules for a band representing a country is roughly as intuitive as FIFA’s rules for players representing nations. (In other words, any remote affiliation may count.)

5. These choices are definitive of my personal taste in music, nothing more. Please share your favorites in the comments.

6. Special Rule for Group E: In my list for Group D, I noted that the majority of the artists I’ve listed are male. Since I don’t know many artists from these countries, I’m giving myself 15 minutes of search, with the first 10 minutes being dedicated to finding female artists.

On with the show.

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Switzerland*:

Mia Aegerter – “Finger i d’ohre”

Her early music had a teeny bop-ness to it. Since I don’t speak German, I can’t be sure, but her newest songs seem a bit more grown up (nevermind the first song of her newest album is D’jung – something like ‘youth’). I quite like this song, but I have no idea what she’s saying, and I don’t want to try and find out, just in case.

Honorable Mention: The Dandies – “Battle Cry”; As it turns out, Tina Turner is now a Swiss citizen. Private Dancer was playing non-stop when my family would go on road trips. So, I would be remiss to not link to “Private Dancer” and “What’s Love Got to do with It”.

Ecuador*:

Chota Madre – “Chuchaqui”

This song is too good not to choose. In fact, Bomba del Chota has become a musical style I want to explore further. The version of the song I chose is from a New York-based band with Ecuadorian roots called Chota Madre. I chose this version because I liked it best.

France:

Camille – “Au Port”

This song is quite fun. It is a joy to watch performed live.

Honorable Mention: Daft Punk – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”

Honduras:

Kazzabe – “Mi tradicion”

I defy your hips to stay still when punta music starts playing. They couldn’t help it. Them, neither – heck one women showed up in her curlers. Not even these boys could resist the rhythms. Good luck not dancing.

That’s a wrap for Group E. Two of the four choices are female artists. Success? Not sure; though, I forgot my familiarity with Honduran music and didn’t expect to fall in love with a song from Ecuador so quickly.

Share your thoughts below.

The Rest of the Groups:

Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
Group F
Group G
Group H

On Some of the Recent News Events

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It’s that time of the year (finals, commencement, World Cup) when things get busy, and I haven’t been posting about some of the major events that have transpired recently. So, as I’m wont to do, here’s a (not so) quick run down and response to a couple of these stories.

Ayaan Hersi Ali Got Dumped by Brandeis University

Should Brandeis University be getting the flak its getting from all sides for awarding and then revoking an honorary degree to Ayaan Hersi Ali? Yes. Is it an egregious abandonment of liberalism for Brandeis University to revoke the honorary degree? I don’t think so. Here’s why: When the US invaded Iraq, students at my alma mater secretly hung an anti-war banner on the main administrative building of the college. This building housed the president’s office. The next morning, the school took down the banner. Some students were upset because they felt this was the college infringing on their free speech. The administration countered that this was about remaining institutionally neutral on the topic. They wanted to encourage and foster dialog and debate on the war, and they felt that a one-sided banner on their building sent a message that the school, as an institution, took a side. They encouraged the banner be moved to the student hall or the dorms.

The Hersi Ali situation, to my mind, is similar. The reason being, Hersi Ali was not simply scheduled to be a speaker on the campus. She was to be awarded an honorary degree. One of the values most universities occasionally pay lip-service to is diversity, especially for the university to be a safe space for a diverse student body to freely explore diverse topics. There is nothing strange nor overly sensitive about Muslim students being offended by Hersi Ali’s comments about Islam. You don’t have to disagree with her to understand why Hersi Ali’s describing of Islam as a “destructive, nihilistic cult of death” would offend Muslims. By bestowing to her an honorary degree, Brandeis University runs the risk of sending the wrong message to its Muslim students. This is why I am not bothered by their revoking of the degree. Should Brandeis University have better vetted the situation? Of course.

Now, if a campus group had invited Hersi Ali to speak at Brandeis, and the university intervened to cancel the event due to protests, that would be an egregious abandonment of the values of the university. That would be the institution stepping in to take a side instead of providing a space for the exploration of ideas. But that is not, to my mind, what happened at Brandeis.

Responses to Boko Haram kidnapping over 200 girls in Nigeria

In the wake of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria, Terry Firma posted a review of the situation and asked if the West should intervene. This post was picked up by an Islam-related subreddit (Firma posted about this as well). The subreddit covers a wide swath of opinions on the matter, but one of the most recurring topics was concern that Muslims have to defend Islam against non-Muslims’ (especially Westerners’) criticisms of the Islamist aspect of Boko Haram’s actions.

As Firma rightly points out, a number of the comments basically reduce down to the No True Scotsman fallacy. There were repeated attempts to deny that Boko Haram are really Islamic. Comments like the following are pretty exemplary of this conversation and others like it:

FXOjafar: “Stop calling these people Islamists. They are not Islamic anything.”
[In response] WentwildStayedwild: “I agree. They are Nigerian criminals and that’s what they should be called.”

I’m sympathetic to this impulse. Whenever I read a story about the cringe-worthy actions of an atheist, I want to distance myself from the individual. Speaking of Muslims in the US, specifically, they are the targets for violence and descrimination (see here, here, and here for example) rising especially from the fear fostered post-9/11 despite the fact that terrorism by Muslim Americans has been in decline. Any heinous act committed by a Muslim can become fodder used to justify further violence against Muslims, so the desire to disown extremists is understandable. Lastly, let’s be fair, groups like Boko Haram don’t represent the average Muslim. As was noted in the Economist, Boko Haram’s kidnapping of school girls is as representative of Islam as the Westboro Baptist Church’s picketing of funerals represents Christianity.

However, the analogy is perhaps more apt that it lets on. Although the Westboro Baptist Church’s practice of picketing funerals is rare, its religiously motivated homophobia is not. In fact, among conservative Christians in the United States, legal protections for the LGBTQ community are described as a form of religious persecution against Christians. Similarly, though the kidnapping of school girls may not be common practice among Muslims, majority Islamic countries often score poorly on assessments of the status and treatment of women and girls.

This is where some of the sentiments expressed on the Islam subreddit page fall short. Just because criticisms may by used by bigots to justify their bigotry does not mean that the criticisms are not worthy of consideration. Moreover, criticism, in itself, is not a form bigotry. Perhaps most troubling, as with conservative Christians and protections for the LGBTQ community, attempts to institutionalize protections for women are met with resistance by some Muslim countries on the grounds of being against their religion.

Are the actions of groups like Boko Haram in line with the principles of Islam? That’s not really for me to say. I’m not a Muslim. The take away from the Islam subreddit (see also here and here, for example) is that the answer to this question is no. However, they are the actions of Muslims, and they are actions done in the name of Islam. Simply denying this is both factually wrong and of little value for those harmed by the actions. Cartoon images of the Prophet Mohammad sparked protests in the streets, but kidnapping children in the name of Islam did not. I get that there are Muslims trying to fight the good fight, but these voices seem to be in the minority. I would love to be proven wrong.

On a World Cup of Songs – Group D

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Here is the next round of my survey of the best songs from each country participating the 2014 World Cup.

First, a review of the ground rules:

1. The song has to be released in or after the year of my birth (1981). Otherwise, Pedro Infante’s rendition of “Cielito Lindo” would win, hands down.

2. Regardless of relative quality, if I know of and like songs from a country, I have to chose one of them. This will hurt some countries. For countries where I know multiple songs/artists, I have allotted myself 10 minutes to make a decision on the best song.

3. If I don’t know songs from a country (marked with an asterisk*), I have allotted myself 10 minutes of internet research to find a song. This will also hurt some countries.

4. My rules for a band representing a country is roughly as intuitive as FIFA’s rules for players representing nations. (In other words, any remote affiliation may count.)

5. These choices are definitive of my personal taste in music, nothing more. Please share your favorites in the comments.

On with the show.

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Uruguay*:

El Cuarteto de Nos – “Nada es gratis en la vida”

I’m surprised I hadn’t come across this band before, considering my taste in music from Latin America. They also have a fun cover of a song you may recognize: “Bo cartero”.

Honorable Mention: No te va gustar – “Llueve tranquilo”

Costa Rica*:

Gandhi – Una Ilusión

This song has a nice charm to it.

England:

Arctic Monkeys – “Brianstorm”

I love the pace of this song. Also, the lyrics are complicated, structurally, while never seeming forced. That’s a hallmark of Arctic Monkeys.

Honorable Mention: Queen and David Bowie – “Under Pressure”; Jamiraquai – “Virtual Insanity”

Italy*:

Vinicio Capossela – “Pryntyl”

I wasn’t feeling what I was finding from Italy, then this peach of a song comes along. Love it.

That completes Group D.

One thing I’m noticing, the majority of the songs I’m choosing are male artists/singers. I’ve got some women in the honorable mention sections, but Les Nubians were the only female-led group selected. I’m not sure the exact cause of this, but it probably comes down to my tastes. Like Group D, Group E is mostly countries where I will be choosing from songs I’ve never heard before, so I think I’m gonna make an extra effort to select female artists.

Did my choices for Group D reveal that I have no idea what I’m talking about? Let me know. Share your favorites.

The Rest of the Groups:

Group A
Group B
Group C
Group E
Group F
Group G
Group H

On a World Cup of Songs – Group C

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Here is the next round of my survey of the best songs from each country participating the 2014 World Cup.

First, a review of the ground rules:

1. The song has to be released in or after the year of my birth (1981). Otherwise, Pedro Infante’s rendition of “Cielito Lindo” would win, hands down.

2. Regardless of relative quality, if I know of and like songs from a country, I have to chose one of them. This will hurt some countries. For countries where I know multiple songs/artists, I have allotted myself 10 minutes to make a decision on the best song.

3. If I don’t know songs from a country (marked with an asterisk*), I have allotted myself 10 minutes of internet research to find a song. This will also hurt some countries.

4. My rules for a band representing a country is roughly as intuitive as FIFA’s rules for players representing nations. (In other words, any remote affiliation may count.)

5. These choices are definitive of my personal taste in music, nothing more. Please share your favorites in the comments.

On with the show.

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Colombia:

Sidestepper – “Dame tu querer”

Very smooth song.

Honorable Mention: Shakira – “Ciega, Sordomuda” (especially for Shakira’s faceplant in the video)

Greece*:

Stereo Nova – “New Life 705″

Truth be told, I really wasn’t able to find anything that caught my interest before time ran out.

Ivory Coast*:

DJ Jeff – “Qui Cherche Trouve”

So, I chose this song for the obvious self reference (my name is Jeff). However, there were some other fun Coupé-Décalé songs. 

Honorable Mention: I suspect there is some good music in Zouglou -type it into youtube- but nothing so grabbed me in time to not go with DJ Jeff.

Japan:

Gonin-ish – “Muge no hito”

This song mesmerizes me.

That complete’s Group C.

If you’re from Greece, let me know some good bands.

The Rest of the Groups:

Group A
Group B
Group D
Group E
Group F
Group G
Group H

On a World Cup of Songs – Group B

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Here is the next round of my survey of the best songs from each country participating the 2014 World Cup.

First, a review of the ground rules:

1. The song has to be released in or after the year of my birth (1981). Otherwise, Pedro Infante’s rendition of “Cielito Lindo” would win, hands down.

2. Regardless of relative quality, if I know of and like songs from a country, I have to chose one of them. This will hurt some countries. For countries where I know multiple songs/artists, I have allotted myself 10 minutes to make a decision on the best song.

3. If I don’t know songs from a country (marked with an asterisk*), I have allotted myself 10 minutes of internet research to find a song. This will also hurt some countries.

4. My rules for a band representing a country is roughly as intuitive as FIFA’s rules for players representing nations. (In other words, any remote affiliation may count.)

5. These choices are definitive of my personal taste in music, nothing more. Please share your favorites in the comments.

On with the show.

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Spain:

Mano Negra – “Mala Vida”
(French born due to Franco Regime, but Spanish by decent)

Truth be told, I could choose a number of Mano Negra or Manu Chao songs, but this was the first of their songs I discovered.

Honorable Mention: Manu Chao – “Denia”; Heroes del silencio – “Nuestros nombres”

Netherlands:

Van Halen – “Right Now”
(The Van Halens were born in Nijmegen. Also, if I don’t choose VH, the rules say I’ve gotta go with 2Unlimited or Clan of Xymox.)

This song is a bit cheesy, but it is still good. Also, this is more timeless than the DLR era of Van Halen.

Chile:

Los Tres – “La espada y la pared”

Great band. Great song. Great album. This album came out right around the time I was beginning to discover rock en espanol as a genre.

Australia:

INXS – “Devil Inside”
(My AC/DC choice came out just before I was born.)

Let’s be honest, it is nearly impossible to choose the best INXS song.

Honorable Mention: Divinyls – “I Touch Myself”; Dead Can Dance – “Severance”; AC/DC – “Back in Black” (plus a year)

That does it for Group B.

Am I totally off-base and don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me know.

The Rest of the Groups:

Group A
Group C
Group D
Group E
Group F
Group G
Group H

On a World Cup of Songs – Group A

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With the World Cup just around the corner, I am getting excited. A few months back, I wrote my take on the World Cup draw (part 1, part 2). Now, to celebrate diversity of styles, colors, and sounds that come together every four years, I am going to choose the best song (as far as I’m concerned) from each nation participating in the 2014 World Cup.

Of course, a project such as this requires some ground rules:

1. The song has to be released in or after the year of my birth (1981). Otherwise, Pedro Infante’s rendition of “Cielito Lindo” would win, hands down.

2. Regardless of relative quality, if I know of and like songs from a country, I have to chose one of them. This will hurt some countries. For countries where I know multiple songs/artists, I have allotted myself 10 minutes to make a decision on the best song.

3. If I don’t know songs from a country (marked with an asterisk*), I have allotted myself 10 minutes of internet research to find a song. This will also hurt some countries.

4. My rules for a band representing a country is roughly as intuitive as FIFA’s rules for players representing nations. (In other words, any remote affiliation may count.)

5. These choices are definitive of my personal taste in music, nothing more. Please share your favorites in the comments.

With that out of the way, let’s begin with the host nation’s group, Group A.

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Brazil:

Sepultura – “Ratamahatta”

This is a fun song. It may not appeal to those averse to metal, but I think most can enjoy it.

Croatia*:

My Buddy Moose – “Scary Feeling”

Discovering these guys was a pleasant surprise.

Mexico:

Rodrigo y Gabriela – “Diablo rojo”

Brilliant. Nuff said. (Here’s a live version.)

Honorable Mention: Natalia LaFourcade – “Elefantes”; Cafe Tacuba – “Eo”; Fobia – “Mira Tete” (I could go on forever.)

Cameroon:

Les Nubians – “Makeda”
(They’re mother is of Cameroonian decent.)

Nice, catchy song.

There you have it- Group A.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Rest of the Groups:

Group B
Group C
Group D
Group E
Group F
Group G
Group H

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