At a time when cynical politicians seem determined to cash in on division and fear, it’s worth remembering what unites us. And when it comes to crossing cultural divides and connecting across the globe, nothing is more unifying than music. Whether you come from Siberia or Senegal, India or Romania, the United Kingdom or Ukraine, the passion for rhythm, melody and dance is as intrinsic to us as the air we breathe. And in an age where technology means we can hear music in any genre or form no matter where we are in the world, this cross-pollination of sounds and styles holds some wonderful surprises. Here are a few.
Punk in Peru
You might think that the creators of punk rock were bands like the New York Dolls, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and The Clash, but what about the Peruvian band Los Saicos (The Psychos)? Many claim that the Latin rockers arrived a decade earlier, in 1964, with their single Demolicíon (Demoltion), and there is even a plaque in Lima, the capital of Peru, stating that the global punk movement started here. While the nickname “punk” had yet to be coined, there is no doubt that Los Saicos’ brash, rebellious and deliberately unpretty musical style captured a mood that punk would express among Europe’s disgruntled youth. and the United States in the 1970s. The group has recently regained popularity and even reformed to perform for new audiences around the world. It is certainly far from the pan flute…
China goes pop
Most of us may be familiar with traditional Chinese folk music, usually played on stringed instruments like the pipa and guzheng, as well as the powerful synchronized drums on the tanggu. But C-pop (like the more familiar J-pop in Japan and K-pop in Korea) is hugely popular in this vast country, with many emerging subgenres like Cantopop, Mandopop and Minnan, depending on the region of where the music comes from. comes from. Singers like Faye Wong, Jacky Cheung, Teresa Teng and Jay Chou have massive followings, not just in China but across Asia and much of the rest of the world. Their styles vary from traditional pop ballads, incorporating more traditional elements, to rock and hip-hop.
Korea is in fashion
Although it was a genre of music that developed in black inner city American communities in the 1970s and 1980s, Koreans quickly adopted the new musical form, and by the end of the 1970s 1980s and early 1990s, there was already a flourishing hip movement. -hop and rap in South Korea. The country now boasts some of the best hip-hop and rap artists in the world, including Keith Ape, Zico, Epik High and CL, most of whom reside in Seoul and reflect the city’s neon-whitewashed futurism. Korea is also famous for K-pop, of course, including Psy’s Gangnam Style.
South African legends
When it comes to indigenous South African music, look no further than the prolific genius of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. They achieved international prominence with their 1986 collaboration with Paul Simon on the album Graceland, although their first incarnation was over twenty years earlier in 1960. Ladysmith’s isicathamiya vocal style – more commonly referred to as a cappella in West their Zulu origins but also the fight against apartheid, and like Nelson Mandela, they have become cultural icons for the whole nation. The band continues to exist – albeit with new performers – and they have over 50 albums to their credit and won countless awards. South Africa has an incredibly rich heritage in all kinds of music, be it jazz, blues, disco or gospel. It’s even had popular punk, metal, and goth bands, making the Rainbow Nation a country with one of the most colorful musical histories in the world.
Poland’s music scene is thriving, as evidenced by the diversity and popularity of festivals like Orange Warsaw, Open’er, OFF and Sunrise, all of which attract big bands. A genre that has always been popular, even when Poland was part of the Soviet bloc, is metal, whether prefixed with Heavy, Black, Goth, Thrash or Death. Some of the genre’s most influential bands include Kat, formed in 1979, Vader and Acid Drinkers from the 1980s, Behemoth and Decapitated from the 1990s, and Pyorrhoea and Riverside from the 2000s. genres of metal, many Poles will name other bands as their favourites.
Brazil is going psychedelic
Everyone knows that Brazil has a long and rich tradition in samba music, but fewer people will know that it also has a distinctly groovy tradition in psychedelic rock, with bands like Os Mutantes in the 1960s (whose A Minha Menina was covered by The Bees in 2002) creating a scene that has seen many revivals over the years. Artists like Tom Zé, Laranja Freak and Jupiter Maça all helped keep the vibe away. In fact, psychedelic rock spanned the entire South American continent, with Chile and Argentina creating their own scenes throughout the 60s and 70s. Psyche bands still thrive today – check out the brilliant Chilean band contemporary Follakzoid.