Music is grand isn’t it? From classic rock to punk rock, from hip hop to bubblegum pop, we love music of all genres. And we love music of all languages too! Sometimes, listening to sweet tunes in an unfamiliar language can be intimidating but there is a lot to be gained from being taken out your comfort zone. Sure, you might not know the actual lyrics but the music can still be enjoyable and it’s proven it actually helps you learn another language. Not to mention, you can still groove to a song regardless of whether or not you can understand the lyrics. So to help you get started introducing non-English singing bands and musicians, here are just three bands sure to make you move.
Originally from Timbuktu, Mali, Songhoy Blues provides a seriously epic guitar heavy sound. Reminiscent of Hendrix and The Beatles’ later catalogue, Songhoy Blues is not “world music” but rather a rock and blues band with a Malian twist and a celebration of the Songhai people. Songhoy Blues’s story is just as interesting as their music. The band was formed in Bamako, Mali when its members left their homes in Timbuktu after religious extremist took control of the region and soon outlawed, among other things, music. Instruments, records, and CDs were soon confiscated and musicians were warned to not be seen in public with their instruments. As a result, Songhoy Blues was born. The band is featured in the 2015 documentary They Will Have To Kill Us First which we highly recommend you watch.
Aptly dubbed indie mambo, Orkesta Mendoza is a latin band from right here in Tucson, Arizona. Orkesta Mendoza is not your Madre’s mambo. Complete with psychedelic rock elements, Orkesta Mendoza is energetic and accessible even if you don’t speak the language. Give one album a listen and you will soon be singing along, picking up words and phrases as you go. You can’t help but dance to a Orkesta Mendoza record and nothing compares to a live show. Trust us. Orkesta Mendoza was formed in 2009 when lead singer Sergio Mendoza embarked on a tribute project to Perez Prado, the King of Mambo. Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta became Orkesta Mendoza and this harmony of both sides of the border was born.
Founded in 1994, this post-rock band from Iceland provides picture-esque tunes with a celestial sound. Sigur Ros incorporates lead singer, Jonsi’s precise falsetto voice with unique instruments like a bowed guitar and sometimes an entirely new fictionalized language. Sigur Ros is probably the best band that you’ve never heard but your much cooler friends recommend. We dare you to give this trio a listen and resist immediately looking up immigration policies for Iceland. #FunFact alert! The band appeared in the Game Of Thrones episode The Lion and The Rose (Joffrey’s wedding). They’re the band Joffrey dismisses and Margaery is making eyes at. Same Margaery. Same.
There you have it! Three bands you should definitely try even if you down understand the words. Perhaps you might learn a new language or just enjoy the sound and instrumental provided by a tune with little distraction. There are many reasons to add variety to your musical catalogue.
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