10 Songs, 10 Languages: Because Music Knows No Language Barrier
July 3, 2019
Joe McLean in Listening, Listening, Music Psychology, langage, language barrier

Do you know that feeling when you suddenly hear a brand new song in a totally unknown language, but you just can’t resist its adorable melody and keep humming it for days? We bet you do because it happens to everyone!

 “It’s a phenomenon that clearly proves the power of music and the impact it has on people all over the globe. A lot of psychologists and linguists actually believe that music represents a universal language that you can use to “communicate across cultural and linguistic boundaries in ways that you can’t with ordinary languages like English or French,” says Maria Nodes, the content writer in essayshark review and the content consultant in UK assignment help and essayroo review, who has a passion for music and sometimes helps with the content creation for best essay writing services and australian writings review.

 No matter how scientists interpret it, there is no doubt that music knows no language barriers. This statement has been proved countless times throughout history, but our goal is to point out 10 songs that you can easily add to any world music playlist. These tunes thrill the audience on all meridians, so let’s check them out one by one.

 

1. Al Bano & Romina Power - Felicita

The happiest song on our list is the work of Al Bano and Romina Power. Felicita literally means ‘happiness’ in Italian and it wins over the global audience with its upbeat tone and cheerful performance. The duo performed Felicita almost 40 years ago during the famous 1982 San Remo Music Festival.

 The song was (and still is) a major radio hit in Europe, but it also earned a lot of attention on other continents, selling millions of copies all around the world. If you need the inspiration to grab the Italian dictionary and start learning this fabulous language, this song might as well be the best source of inspiration for you.

 

2. PSY - Gangnam Style (강남스타일)

The next song comes from the other part of the world, but we guess it’s not necessary to describe PSY’s Gangnam Style too much. A South Korean hit was released in 2012 and it quickly became a YouTube sensation, earning almost four billion views in total. In the meantime, it became the first YouTube video to earn a billion views. Gangnam Style is a true representative of K-Pop, a term used to describe the Korean Wave and popular music in general.

 

3. Antonio Carlos Jobim - Brazil

Aquarela do Brasil (Brazil Watercolor) is one of the most famous Brazilian songs that come in many covers and variations. The tune dates back to 1939 when Ary Barroso composed it, but Antonio Carlos Jobim made the global impact with his own cover entitled simply Brazil. A song of love and patriotism, Brazil takes us through some of the finest moments of Bossa Nova.

 

4. Mohammed Rafi - Jaan Pehchan Ho

Don’t think that India doesn’t deserve its own spot on our list. On the contrary, Mohammed Rafi’s song Jaan Pehchan Ho is alive and kicking since 1965. It comes from a Hindi movie called “Gumnaam” and the title actually means “Let’s know each other.” It’s hard to imagine Bollywood could produce such an amazing rock song almost 60 years ago, but this is exactly why the tune became so popular internationally.

 

5. Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg - Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus

French is often considered to be the language of love and there is no better way to prove it than to listen to Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg singing Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus. The song was released in 1969 and it immediately grabbed the attention of international audiences despite the fact that it was banned in several countries due to its overtly sexual content.

 

The raw sensuality of this tune was enough to raise eyebrows worldwide as it used to be a real taboo to sing about explicitly sexual content in the 1960s. Check this out:

 

Oh mon amour (Oh my love)

Tu est la vague (You are the wave)

Moi, l’île nue (I’m a desert island)

Tu vas, tu vas et tu viens (You go, you come and you go)

Entre mes reins (Inside of me)

 

6. Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder - Soukora

Africa is the cradle of rhythm. The warmest continent produced some of the most exciting tunes, but this time we want to mention only Soukora, the result of the collaboration between Malian guitar player Ali Farka Toure and American producer Ry Cooder. As Alicia Morning thinks, the author of several rhythmic songs and who sometimes works with bestessays uk and ivory research review, “The song wins you over with its sheer simplicity and gentle guitar picking, which is exactly why some fans call it Heaven on Earth.”

 

7. Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee - Despacito

Is there anything left to say about Despacito? To date, the most popular song in the YouTube era has a staggering 6.2 billion views. Puerto Rican musicians Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee created this Latin pop sensation, but even they could not predict its global popularity.

 

As Lily Hendricks, the popular content writer from Australian assignment help, believes and a lot of analysts that the tune recovered Latin and reggaeton music industry single-handedly, but it actually did much more than that. According to some reports, Despacito boosts interest in Puerto Rico from tourists by nearly 50% since topping the charts. It seems like music is not only universal but also life-changing in some cases.

 

8. Subliminal – Toro

Subliminal is a hip hop star from Tel Aviv who is often regarded as the key figure of the so-called Zionist rap in Israel. Subliminal is a conservative performer with strong political messages, while his songs such as Toro combine different languages to reach more fans worldwide. Although Toro is nowhere near the popularity of other songs on our list, it proves how a clever combination of languages can cause international interest in a song.

 

9. Leo Rojas – El Condor Pasa

El Condor Pasa is a famous Peruvian tune that still thrills listeners more than 100 years after Daniel Alomía Robles composed it in 1913. The composition inspired numerous covers, including the one by Simon & Garfunkel from 1970. One of the latest versions, created by Leo Rojas in 2012, currently has over 200 million views on YouTube.

 

10. Sigur Ros - Svefn-g-englar

Sigur Ros is a post-rock band from Iceland which combines its mother tongue with the imaginary language called Hopelandic. Their audience doesn’t mind hearing strange words and unusual sounds because the sound of music is universal indeed. Svefn-g-englar is only one of their amazing tunes, but you should definitely check out more of their songs.

 

Conclusion

The sound of music is universal. After all, we all know a good song when we hear one regardless of the genre or language. The 10 songs we discussed above are a great example of local tunes that turned into the global phenomenon. What do you think about our choices and which ones would you add to this list?

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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