I’ve always felt that there’s something undeniably mesmerizing about a badass guitar riff. Even better when it’s by a woman. Tash Sultana is a young Australian musician who is described as a one-woman band. That title makes sense when you listen to Jungle. The song features an addictive guitar riff that she loops, which allows her to add in other riffs and music layered on top. It’s an interesting technique that gives the song a jam-band feel. It’s a mellow song with a slightly dark feel. Sultana’s voice, while not super strong, has an interesting quality to it which I can appreciate.
I’m completely late to the Gorillaz. I remember when their song Clint Eastwood came out and it felt like that was all that was being played on MTV. I hated it and never invested any time into listening to any of their other music.
That changed when I heard On Melancholy Hill. It’s exactly the kind of music that I love. The mellow, woozy, ethereal romanticism that makes you feel as though you could be floating on a cloud – my favorite kind of music. I could listen to it on a loop and still not get tired of it.
Well you can’t get what you want But you can get me So let’s set out to sea ‘Cause you are my medicine When you’re close to me
Melancholy, that’s what I feel when I listen to A Lenda do Caboclo. Originally written by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, this version is by Yo-Yo Ma. The track is often translated as The Legend of the Native, as the word Caboclo is related to the mix between indigenous Brazilians and Europeans.
I heard the song in the final episode of Mozart in the Jungle’s third season and it so perfectly captured the mood of the scene (that show is full of wonderful music). I spent the next few days listening to this on a loop. Beautiful.
I don’t know what algorithm is used when I hit shuffle on my music but sometimes it has the innate ability to play just what I need to hear at the moment. Today it was Lamhe Guzar Gaye from the film Piku. It’s the kind of Hindi song that I just love – soothing, serene, and emotional with lovely and meaningful lyrics.
Lamhe guzar gaye / moments passed Chehre badal gaye / faces changed Hum thhe anjaani raahon mein / And I was there in unknown roads Pal Mein Rula Diya / A moment made me cry Pal Mein Hasa Ke Phir / And then the next moment made me laugh Reh Gaye Hum Bhi Raahon Mein / And I was left standing on the roads
There are so many moments in life where you just feel so unsure of it all. Moments where you look around and wonder how you ended up where you are. And on this rainy San Francisco day full of introspection, there is no song that fits what I’m feeling more than Lamhe Guzar Gaye.
Sometimes hearing a song live completely changes your reaction or attachment to it. I recently went to see Leon Bridges at the Greek on the UC Berkeley campus and didn’t even realize the opening act was Lianne La Havas when I bought the tickets. I had Lianne’s latest album Blood on my Apple music and of course loved her work with Prince but didn’t look into her work in depth.
That changed after seeing her live. What a charming, lovely performer! Lianne’s voice is beautiful, and her performance is so effortless and understated which completes her music style. I chose No Room For Doubt because after hearing it live with just Lianne and her guitar, I haven’t stopped listening to it over and over again. Featuring Willy Mason, it’s a contemplative, quiet song that demands your attention. In fact, when she performed it live, the place was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. I adore it.
Photo by: Radhika Jit/Berkeley, California, September 2016
I stumbled upon La Muza after searching for a song I heard in an episode of Mozart in the Jungle (hello Gael Garcia Bernal). While I couldn’t find that specific song, I was so happy to find this band and haven’t stopped listening to their music ever since. What’s not to love about reggae out of Puerto Rico? The band’s bio says they strive to deliver a message of love, of awareness and commitment to society. That is evident in their lyrics.
Mil Canciones is the one song I find myself going back to over and over. It’s beautiful, relaxed, and perfect for this weather. I also love, love, love the lyrics:
nadie puede parar mi voz (nobody can stop my voice) me niego a ser esclavo de sus cuentos (I refuse to be a slave to his stories) mi lucha y mi revolucion (my struggle and my revolution) no son solo palabras al viento no (They are not just words in the wind not)
A veces no quiero seguir (Sometimes I do not want to follow) hay veces que quiero llegar (sometimes you want to get) donde se mezclan las naciones (where nations are mixed) siento que nacen mil canciones (I feel born thousand songs)
I am from the islands, croons Camille Safiya on Island Gyal. I can’t tell you how much I love this song. There is some music that you just instantly connect with. Lyrics that you feel on a deeper level. Island Gyal reminds me of the Fiji Islands; of my heritage. It makes me want to groove, but also makes me intensely proud of that Fijian heritage and culture. I long to be back on that island with my family when I hear it.
Representation is so important and to have a song like this with lyrics like I am from the island… she fancy/around the street everybody knows… she fancy, she classic. It represents all those little girls from the islands. Hold your head high Island Gyals, you are magnificent.