Foreign Gems: Mexico Edition

¡Hola Aztecs! This week on Foreign Gems, we’re going to be exploring music from the country known for its burritos, tamales and salsas: MEXICO!

Whether it is traditional mariachi or relaxing indie music, Mexico’s got it all. Below are a few Mexican classics that I hope you enjoy.

Viernes // El Trío de Omar Rodriguez Lopez

The group El Trío de Omar Rodriguez Lopez was started by Omar Rodriguez Lopez. Lopez was a solo singer who branched out to create albums with Ximena Sariñana (vocals) and Aaron Cruz Bravo (bass). Most of the group’s music is acoustic love songs, making them perfect for those rainy days that San Diego has been having. Another nice, relaxing song from them is “Domingo.”

Como La Flor // Selena

Before there was Selena Gomez, there was Selena: the renowned pop-star and icon throughout the hispanic community. Born and raised in Texas, she became the “Tejano Madonna” due to her unique fashion choices. If you’re into dancing, “Como La Flor” is a great song to groove to. Another good song from Selena is “Dreaming of You.”

 Oye Como Va // Santana

I can’t talk about great Mexican bands/artists without listing Santana. With songs like “Black Magic Women” and “Oye Como Va,” this Latin-rock band will never die. Popular in the 1960s and 1970s, it’s very likely that our parents have listened to Santana.

That’s all I have for today!

Ashley Bajet,
signing out.

Featured Image retrieved from Rebloggy.com

Foreign Gems: Japan

We have a lot of things to thank the country of Japan for: their amazing sushi, their anime and their super cute cherry blossom trees. However, what we really need to thank them for is their music! Japanese masterminds are creating awesome sounds that should be heard by our ears. 

Here’s a couple of songs to get you through the week!

I’m So Into You (Feat. Keyco) // Michita

Born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan, Michita proves to be one of the best track-makers/instrumentalists of our time. With Keyco providing hypnotizing lyrics to Michita’s mesmerizing beats, the song “I’m So Into You” makes you want to sway with the wind. Michita’s work is still mainly underground, even in Japan, which truly makes him a hidden gem.

Aruarian Dance // Nujabes

Also an instrumentalist like Michita, Nujabes is a more well known track-maker and producer. With an anagram as his stage name, Jun Seba, was born in Minato, Tokyo. Fusing different aspects of hip hop (many rappers and hip hop artists have collaborated with him) and jazz, his music proves unique among the typical American beats. On Youtube, many users have created “homework edits” of his music, which provide for a super-focused and very chill study session. You can check a great one out here.

Sugar Water // Cibo Matto

Although NYC based, Cibo Matto is a Japanese girl duo. The name “Cibo Matto” is derived from the Italian phrase meaning “food madness.” Although not as popular in Japan, their music has become relatively well known here in the US. The duo consists of vocalist Miho Hatori, who (fun fact!) was also associated with the Gorillaz, and keyboardist Yuka Honda (not related to Honda of Honda cars). Their quirky music ranges from noise rock to trip and hip hop.

That’s all I have for today! I hope you enjoyed my little selection of Japanese music. Check out my French recommendations here.

 

Ashley Bajet,
Signing out.

Featured Image by Alexander Gubin on Flickr

Foreign Gems: France

France. The country known as the city of love and for the Eiffel Tower, eating snails, and baguettes. What you may not know about France is that it is an incubator for unique musicians and bands whose songs are chalk full of creativity.

Without further ado, below is a list of songs that I am sure you will enjoy.

Nous Étions Deux // La Femme

 

La Femme is definitely high on my list of the most eccentric bands. They’re a psych-punk band and have created many catchy hits to aggressively dance and bob your head to. I was lucky enough to see them at “Beach Goth 2016,” and let me tell you, us U.S. folks were not worthy of their godly performance.

 

Le Temps De L’amour // Francoise Hardy

A classic to those who have watched Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Le Temps De L’amour” has been the theme song to all of our youthful romances. Francoise Hardy’s music is incredibly soothing to the ear, so I suggest listening to all her songs while you’re studying.

 

L’amour À Trois // Stereo Total

I admit, this song is a little weird and has some questionable noises in it… but it works, doesn’t it? Technically, Stereo Total is a German-French band. If you’re into quirky electro-pop, this is the band for you!

 

Je Suis Malade // Lara Fabian

This is my GO-TO song if I want to feel dramatic and drown in my sorrows. “Je Suis Malade,” is a powerful song written by Fabian about heartbreak. Fabian’s song truly makes me want to break out into an overly dramatic contemporary dance.

 

Anyways, that’s all I have for today! Next week I’ll be highlighting some foreign gems from Japan!

 

Ashley Bajet,

Signing out.

Exploring the Work of “Westworld” Composer Ramin Djawadi

Calling all Westworld and Game of Thrones fans! I know this has been on your mind every night this week: Who is Ramin Djawadi? Don’t worry, I’m here to give you the low-down on who he is and why he’s absolutely magnificent.

Ramin Djawadi is a musical composer, meaning he creates the background and significant music pieces for our favorite TV shows and movies. He composed the soundtracks to many popular blockbusters & TV hits such as Iron Man (2008) (which got him nominated for a Grammy), Pacific Rim (2013), Warcraft (2016), and what he’s known best for: Game of Thrones, as well as the new hit TV show, Westworld.

Djawadi created most of the songs featured in Game of Thrones. The show, in a nutshell, is about medieval families all vying for the “Iron Throne” and power over the Seven Kingdoms. The music Djawadi makes for Game of Thrones depends on what scene or what mood the episode is in. For example, the mood was more solemn at the end of Season 6, therefore the score was more solemn and simple rather than having it as dramatic as the show’s opening theme.

Game of Thrones

(Photo Credit: Game of Thrones’ Facebook)

Included below is the song for the Season 6 finale (“Light of the Seven”), as well as the the main theme of Game of Thrones.

“Light of the Seven”

Game of Thrones Main Theme

Djawadi was also offered the task of composing songs for the new HBO hit series, Westworld. Based on the 1973 sci-fi thriller film of the same name, Westworld is about a Western-themed amusement park that features robotic “hosts” that suddenly develop consciousness. For the score of Westworld, Djawadi ditched the dramatic sound he previously used for the Games of Thrones score and instead showcased a more minimalistic and classic sound. Westworld features many piano renditions (some are even on an old-school, western piano) of songs including Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”, The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”, and The Rolling Stones“Paint It Black”.

westworld

(Photo Credit: Westworld Facebook)

A few of these piano renditions as well as the opening theme for Westworld can be heard on the videos below!

Westworld Main Theme

“Paint It Black”

“Black Hole Sun”

You can check out some of his GoT work at the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience in Inglewood, CA on March 23rd!

You can also check me out by listening to my radio show live at 11 pm on Tuesdays.

Ashley Bajet, signing out.