Saturday, January 14, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Non-English Songs

In college, I lived with a foreign exchange student from Spain named Breixo who introduced me to music I may never have otherwise been exposed to.  Two on this list he introduced me to, and the whole list is indirectly attributable to him because he opened my mind to all of this.  So anyway, thanks to Breixo, here are my top 5 favorite foreign-language (non-English) songs.

5: Viva La Mamma by Neri Per Caso (Italian) - Love, love, love the harmonies.  This is just a light, fun song which happens to have a very brief homage to Bohemian Rhapsody in the middle.

4: Via Con Me by Paolo Conte (Italian) - I love the emotion of this song; and I love when foreign songs use English in small bursts--it lets me connect to the song.  This is one from the Breixo mix.  I lost the mix he made me--if anyone knows Breixo, put him in touch with me!

3: Aguas de Marco by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina (Portuguese) - There is a great moment at the end of the song when the duo is going back and forth and she starts laughing and singing, and her smile and happiness comes right through the recording and you can't help but be warmed by it.

2: Guantanamera by Julian Orbon and Jose Marti (Spanish) - This is a beautiful song with beautiful, poetic lyrics.  I like Seeger's version because he sings it so simply, that it sounds even more beautiful than when someone with an amazing voice sings it.  Plus, my 2 year old asks for this song by name, which is pretty cool.

1: Garota de Impanema (The Girl from Impanema) by Antonio Carlos Jobim (Portuguese) - This version, performed by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, is legendary and contains both the Portuguese and English lyrics.  I first heard this song (albeit the English version) after-hours in a martini bar in South Norwalk that the girl I was dating got us into because she used to date the owner.  I was talking to the bartender, who was snorting coke with some Brazilian with a machete, and this song came on.  I was moved, and they made fun of me because I'd never heard it before.  Whatever, at least I wasn't on coke.

So I know I have several readers from overseas.  Share links to some of the best non-English songs you know in the comments below!  And don't forget to share this post wit your friends.


  1. Good list.  :-)

    I like:Les Yeux Ouverts:
    La Vie en Rose:

  2. Thanks Nova!  I really like Les Yeux Ouverts (though I never knew what it was called until now).  The Hepburn one is nice too!

  3. How about some Hindi songs David??

  4. Arnab, I've never been exposed to any--how about sharing the links for a couple of good ones?

  5. How could you have forgotten the original versions of "99 Luft Balloons" and "Der Kommissar?"

    - Jim in LA

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