Howdy folks, welcome to Continental Drift! Also happy new year! (ignore the fact that this post is almost a full month late) So lucky for the first day of the year to fall on a Monday, because I have quite the retrospective planned for this episode! See, you could say I'm making up for lost time; we're going to listen to one track that corresponds to each episode we did over the course of the fall 2023 semester, either songs I found for the episode they correspond to but had to cut for time, or songs I learned existed after the fact and wished I'd known were included because they're so cool. That said, since we've touched upon the themes in this episode before, I may not necessarily have much to say about each one. Let's begin! For those of you listening back, you can find the playlist here and listen to the episode here!
Jamaica: Is This Love // Bob Marley
- Growing up with a Jamaican mother, this reggae song is among my earliest memories of music, so it's incredibly sentimental to me and I don't know why I didn't add it to the Jamaica episode.
Turkey: Kanun improvisation in Makam Ussak // Sufi Music Ensemble
- Honestly I just think Turkish instruments are really cool. Turkish music theory has a whole interesting system of melodic rules called makams, and this piece is an improvisation within one of those makams on an instrument called a kanun, which is a kind of zither.
Cabo Verde: Ti Jon Poca // Lucibela
- IDK fam I really just love Cabo Verdean music 😭. This particular song is in the Cabo Verdean genre of coladeira, which is like a more upbeat version of morna.
Denmark: Qummut isigaara // Nanook
- So Nanook is a rock band from Greenland (named after a mythological bear; mythology bonus!) formed by these 2 brothers who are half-Inuit, half-Danish. I did include a different song of theirs in the Denmark episode, but I didn't mention that this band only does music in Greenlandic, which is an Inuit language that additionally borrows plenty of Danish loanwords. (Nanook turned down an offer from Sony of all companies to avoid having to do things in English. Mad respect.)
Ghana: Kwaku Ananse // The Apagaya Showband
- This song is from the Ghanaian genre highlife, which fuses jazz with multiple natively African music styles. It's named after the trickster spider figure in the mythology of the Akan people (major ethnic group in Ghana) as well as their descendants throughout the African diaspora in places like Jamaica and Suriname. The name Kwaku in Twi (dialect of Akan language) is a name you give to a boy who was born on a Wednesday. I've never understood the significance of Ananse being born on Wednesday, but it's a fun fact to share!
Brazil: A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo // Elza Soares
- I'm in love with this album and the song. As I recall it, I didn't learn this album existed until like just after I had done the Brazil episode, but if I'd heard this track before, I 100% would have put it in that episode. I mean just listen to it, it's so cool!
Halloween Flashback - Death Myths: Los Señores de Xibalba // Delirium
- The Mayans of Central America have the mythological underworld of Xibalba, which is ruled by not one, not two, but TWELVE different gods, the Lords of Xibalba. They all work in pairs, and with the exception of their leaders, One-Death and Seven-Death, they cause people to die in particular ways. There's Flying Scab & Gathered Blood, who sicken your blood; Pus Demon & Jaundice Demon, who make you swell up; Sweepings Demon & Stabbing Demon, who hide in unswept corners of your home to stab you; Wing & Packstrap, who make you cough up blood while you're out on the road; and Bone Staff & Skull Staff, who turn your corpse into a skeleton. The Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, go to Xibalba to avenge their father and uncle, whom the Lords of Xibalba murdered. There's a ball game the Mayans played which the Lords of Xibalba enjoyed, except the Xibalba version's ball can kill you; the Hero Twins still managed to beat the Lords of Xibalba at their own game and avenge their dad. (In case you can't tell I love mythology!)
Kenya: Kesi Baadae // Nviiri The Storyteller
- Just some Kenyan pop for ya! Really the selling point for me on this song was the lyrics. Bro said "your father wants me in a casket, I think he's not playing" and I asked to myself "self, why do you think this line is so funny?" Maybe one day I'll get a response. But not today!
Russia: Word of Baatyr // Altyn Tuu
- So when I was writing the Russia episode, I was telling my friend about it and he saw I had an Altyn Tuu song. (Altyn Tuu is a Russian band from the Altai region of Russia who performs their music in the language Altai. Very cool stuff!) Apparently he was aware of the band and was like "dude Word of Baatyr is so good" but I sadly couldn't add it to the episode for lack of time, so this is my way of fixing that.
Nigeria: Alaglanu - Alaglano // Ray Stephen Oche And His Matumbo
- I don't have too much about this one; it's in the afrobeat genre and I'm nothing if not a fan of afrobeat on this show, so natural conclusion!
Lutes: The First Delphic Hymn To Apollo // Michael Levy
- Lyres are a kind of lute, apparently! If you've ever watched any Ancient Greece media ever or like seen one of those baby angels in Renaissance-type art you've probably seen a lyre; it's kinda like a handheld harp (but not a harp, because that's a different kind of instrument) and they've been around for thousands of years even predating the Greeks. Generally the strings would be made of animal gut and the rest of the lyre could be made of whatever; there's a very old lyre frame made of gold and shaped like a bull's head that dates back to the Sumerian civilization of Ur!
Angola: Kizombada // Eduardo Paim
- I love this track because of how aggressively 90s the synths are. That is my entire justification.
Songs I Played Because I Had The Time
Corrente IX // Alessandro Piccinini (ran out of time to play in the lute episode)
Sodade // Cesaria Evora & Bonga (I love these two artists too much y'all)
Nha Kumadri // Ineida Moniz (Cabo Verdean batuque genre my beloved)
Could You Be Loved // Bob Marley & the Wailers (baby Kirby music memories)
Atrevimento // Kataleya & Anselmo Ralph (Such a cool sound, found randomly)