MW / Music in another language

2:01:00 AM

A lot of my friends are musicians and/or music aficionados, and their diverse tastes have rubbed off on me. I listen to almost everything - rock (classic, progressive, glam, metal, and grunge), blues, jazz (standards, bebop, and Latin), funk, soul, electronica, what have you. I'm not one to proactively seek old and new music acts, so it's nice to have people telling me what to look for.

Joandrea and Myke were my prime Latin jazz sources in college. It's because of their influence that I found myself enrolling in a special elective, Latin Music, on my last semester. Taught by world-renowned pianist Charisse Baldoria, the class opened my eyes and ears to amazing musicians from all over the world. I learned about Cachao, Yo Yo Ma, and Satchmo, and I also appreciated Tom Jobim and Astrud Gilberto even more.

Jobim rocks the hat. Respect.
(photo from the internet)
At the time of that class, I taught myself to sing Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema) in Portuguese. I don't speak the language, so I learned it phonetically, but I did get a literal translation of the lyrics so I'd actually know what I'm singing. It's an eerie, beautiful piece of music; poignant, yet somewhat hopeful. Overplayed and oversung as it is, Garote de Ipanema will always be one of my favorite songs.

Singing in a foreign language is challenging, because you can no longer rely on words to get your message across. Let's face it - not everyone is open to music they could not understand, which is why jazz will never be as loved as popular music. Same thing for Latin songs when they are sung to a Filipino crowd; not everyone will get it (but then again, not everyone is supposed to get it).
Bajo Fondo Tango Club - God's gift to modern tango
(photo from the internet)
Right now, I'm obsessing over Bajo Fondo Tango Club's Pa Bailar.The group consists of eight musicians from Argentina and Uruguay, and they seamlessly mixed the classic tango with electronica. I first heard the instrumental version of Pa Bailar played in the background in an episode of USA Network's television series Suits, and I went on a crazy internet hunt to find out who's the act behind it. I tell you, it's much harder to look for a song online if there are no lyrics!
I love the (suggestive) album art!
(image from the internet)
My Google skills have been validated when I finally found it. I also found a version featuring Mexican singer Julieta Venegas, and I instinctively searched for the lyrics and the translation. I was blown away! The title literally means "to dance." True to its tango roots, the whole song is infused with powerful desire and an almost overwhelming sensuality. It's sex to the ears - not the bordering pornographic Fifty Shades sort, rather the luscious, sensuous kind.


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