February 25th, 2016
James Brown’s 1968 hit “Say it Out Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” not only became a #1 R&B hit, the anthem for the Black Power movement, but also inspired new pride among countless Africans in newly-independent nations that had just become free of colonial power. Hits like this were heard via the Voice of America radio, which broadcast from Gibraltar throughout Africa with the great Cameroonian host Georges Collinet, now @ Afropop Worldwide.
With social media and the internet, music travels around the world even faster. Here are two examples of hit songs reaching artists and audiences far away: a reggae cover of Adele’s “Hello” from the Solomon Islands: never mind the bad lip synching:
An even better version is by this Korean student, for whom English is a second language, but it’s weird that the guitarist isn’t showing. Nevertheless, she really must have studied hard because she nails it:
Finally, a Peruvian teenager sings Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” in the Quechua language of indigenous Peruvians:
Finally, an Arabic version of the Frank & Nancy Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid, by two Lebanese artists, Jean Marie Riachi and Abir Nehme, who sings the lyrics).
Although some might consider such covers to be English-language musical hegemony, I feel that such covers help spread musical DNA all over, revealing some amazing young talent as well.
Tom Schnabel, M.A.