In this round I'm using a song that will be likely unfamiliar to most of you and this is probably because you don't listen to this type of music. Though there have been some big chart hits in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom that were in a language other than English, it's certainly not the norm. Many music fans like to understand what the lyrics are saying so they are often turned off by music in a language they don't understand. Then there are those like me who typically don't pay much attention to lyrics--at least not on first hearings--and instead take in the feel of the music. For me lyrics are secondary to the sound of the music.
There are many songs that I can sing through the first line or two and then I'm lost. Perhaps it seems odd for a person who enjoys writing not to care about the lyrics. In my case that's just the way it is. If a song consisted of nonsense syllables then I might not like that so much. I want a song to be saying something, but I don't always care much about what it is saying. There are songs that I have listened to and enjoyed for many years and I still don't know what the lyrical content is about. And that's fine with me as long as the song sounds good to my ears.
Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th. The premise is simple: Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it. Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.
"El Listón de Tu Pelo"
In the year 2000 when I was frequently listening to one of the popular Los Angeles Spanish language music stations, a song that began to receive frequent airplay caught my attention. "El Listón de Tu Pelo" ("The Ribbon in Your Hair") initially struck me as somewhat comical sounding with its banda cumbia fusion. Punctuated by flourishes of a mariachi-like brass section with an infectious percussive background that makes one want to move in rhythm to the music if not actually get up and dance, the song caught on with me. There was something about the plaintive vocal trade-offs between the male and female singers. I didn't have much idea of what the song was about, but the sound of the music was appealing to me. I found the song to be a catchy tune that inspired me to purchase the album.
Fast forward to the present time when I happened to run across this song again on YouTube. Los Angeles Azules--or The Blue Angels in English--had been collaborating with other well known artists as well as symphony orchestras in covering their own hits. I was blown away by these performances. The song that had captivated me some 16 years earlier was again on my regular playlist. And not only were there the new covers of "El Listón de Tu Pelo" that I found but another cool version by a popular Latina female rocker. To me this seemed like an ideal pairing for another Battle of the Bands contest.
For reference only here is the original version of the song. DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS VERSION! If the video is restricted in your country you can try this link.
Vote for one of the following:
Besides being a very attractive singer, Julieta Venegas is an incredibly talented songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist. Venegas was born in Long Beach, California, but grew up in Tijuana, Mexico where she started her musical career at a young age eventually joining various rock groups including the influential Tijuana No!. In 1997 Venegas embarked upon her very successful solo career. She has won several Grammy awards and written music for theater and movies. Her many musical collaborations include her cover of "El Listón de Tu Pelo" with Jarabe de Palo, a rock group from Spain.
Try to listen to this with an open mind as the initial rap/hip-hop sounds might be a turn off to some--it was for me. The recording does get better with the Latin percussion and some funky singing that retains the cumbia flavor of the original while keeping the sound fresh and updated. But you decide with your own ears.
This version is actually by the original group Los Angeles Azules who are joined by a small symphony orchestra, a choir, and singer Denise Gutiérrez who is the vocalist with the Mexican alternative pop band Hello Seahorse!. Denise was born in Van Nuys, California, but raised in Mexico City. This video is one of many collaborations with orchestra and well known Mexican artists. These videos are pretty incredible and I've been watching (or listening to) these repeatedly over the past few months.
(If you cannot access video below, try clicking on title above.)
Time to Vote!
Hope you've enjoyed this music that might be new to you and perhaps a bit alien sounding. Maybe it's not your style of music, but hopefully you'll keep a musically open mind in assessing the two versions. Let us know what you think about these two recordings. Is there one that you prefer over the other? If you're visiting a Battle of the Bands post for the first time then let me briefly explain. Please give each song version a fair listen to decide which one you enjoy the most. If you don't like either then at least tell us which recording was least innocuous to you. This comes down to your preference and it's as easy as that.
Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.
Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
'Curious as a Cathy'
Sound of One Hand Typing
DC Relief Battle of the Bands
The Doglady's Den
Cherdo on the Flipside
Jingle, Jangle, Jungle
Janie Junebug Righting & Editing.
J. A. Scott
Holli's Hoots and Hollers
the pedestrian writer
Winner Announced on Wednesday September 7th
Since I'll be posting on Wednesday the 7th for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, rather than do too many posts next week I'll merge my BOTB results into the IWSG post. Add to that my Question of the Month post on Monday the 5th and I've got a busy schedule according to my posting habits as they have become. Please join me for these posts.
Do you pay much attention to song lyrics or do you typically just absorb the musical experience? Is listening to music in a language you don't understand a turn-off to you? What is your favorite pop/rock music collaboration with orchestra?