Friday, June 18, 2010

Music; The World's Language

In my opinion there are two world languages: football and music.
With World cup fever well under way I may need to dedicate several posts to that topic but for now it’s all about the language of music.Music speaks to the body and the soul no matter what language it is in.

When traveling there are the songs you hear over and over again that eventually grow on you and become the anthems of your journey. After my first venture away from Canada I came back from the Dominican Republic with Shakira and the resorts favourite song “Follow the Leader.” I still claim that I knew about Shakira well before anyone in Canada, introduced to me by my new Colombian friends.
My Europe trip in 2002 was Sophie Ellis Baxter Murder on the dance floor. It was also when Will Young won the first ever Idol contest. In the Irish clubs in 2004 you couldn’t get away from Danzel’s Pump it up. I still feel nostalgic when I hear Love Generation by Bob Sinclair which was the Anthem to the summer of Greece, 2006. This winter traveling in South America backpackers couldn’t get the Salsa song Yo no se manana by Luis Enrique out of their heads. Completely cheesy and irritating at first but catchy and seriously grows on you. I still find myself singing the lyrics to dumb founded crew members on my boat.

Then there are the secrets that you discover, new unknown bands or unknown in your country and new styles of music. This is a fantastic part of traveling. I upgraded myself this time from CD’s and a Discman to an IPod but didn’t have time to download music to it. I arrived in South America with a practically blank IPod which was probably the best choice I made. I now have a unique assortment of music which I took from other travelers and locals. Mostly Argentinean Reggae from the dirty hippy Artisans. The best finds were from a Colombian guy who stayed in my hostel in Santa Marta. He introduced me to the Pacific coast music. One band in particular, Chocquibtown (“Choc” is for Choco, their home state; “Quib” is for Quibdo, their home city and the capital of Choco. “Town” is like pueblo; the neighborhood, the barrio) highlights Pacific coast Afro-Colombian music jazzed up. Their music fuses funk, North American hip hop, Jamaican raga and elements of electronic music to produce elaborate beats. They also incorporates traditional rhythms such as bunde, currulao, bambazu and agaubajo as well as other Latin American and Caribbean rhythms such as salsa, songo and guajira. The music videos bring Colombia’s pacific alive with typical street scenes, traditional costumes, colours and dancing displaying the Africa inside Colombia. They are trying to promote and preserves their culture within their country and introduce it to the world.

Changing coast to the Caribbean Liliana Saumet main vocalist in Bomba Estero a Santa Marta native is shaking things up for the Coastal King Carlos Vives. With similar musical influences to Chocquibtown of Colombian folklore, African, reggae, dub, and electronica music, they too produce a unique beat and show cases the sights, sounds and smells of Colombia’s coast. The music is as diverse as the country it comes from.

These are just two example of great music I have discovered while traveling. One of my favourite quotes reads; “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” When it comes to music, those who do not travel hear only one song.


  1. Hey Tracy,
    Nice post. I have to completely agree with you about both football and music being world languages. Football is always my first conversation when I go travelling, and trying to discover music comes a close second. I just wish I had dancing hips so I could enjoy some of the Latin styles a little more!

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  3. Hey don't worry I look like a complete fool when I dance but I have fun. By the way I click on your name attached to your comment and come to the website which is...amazing!!
    South American music and culture magazine


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