Pop music

15 November 2008

You come to a country, lacking all aesthetic paraphernalia, all evidence of personal taste – books, pictures, houseplants, iPod playlist. As a cultural naif you have to swallow many things more or less whole, suspending judgment. If someone offers you cured meat, hashish, an invitation to a concert, a racist opinion – take, eat. Generally, you lack even the means to argue back. You don’t know the language well enough yet.

This goes for trash television & pop music as well. I expose myself to a higher dose of popular culture here than I ever would in the States; I don’t know any better. Take Latino 40, for example, the music video channel, which my roommate plays more or less constantly in the apartment. I asked the opinion of the art teacher at my school (who, for my Emerson audience, keeps asking me who’s playing when I plug WERS into the teacher’s lounge, & approves). He just snorted at & laughed.

And then he turned the car radio (we were driving into the city at the time) to “good” music. Not that, as he told me, Jaén is exactly a mecca for radio & art. But Radio 3? Better, he said. Better.

Nena Daconte’s new single, though – even he has to admit it’s catchy. It’s played on Radio 3 and Latino 40. That, kids, is what they call a crossover hit. And if it’s stuck in my head, well then, at the very least you’re going to know what I’m talking about.  See below:

2 Responses to “Pop music”

  1. John B. Says:

    You said, “I expose myself to a higher dose of popular culture here than I ever would in the States; I don’t know any better.”

    Again: This was my experience in Mexico, at least initially. Over time, I became more discerning; but before one can separate wheat from chaff, one has to know the entirety of what’s produced. But man: I listened to a lot of crap. Add to that the lack, at least in the city where I lived (a state capital of half a million people), that there wasn’t even a classical music station, much less stations devoted to more adventurous fare, and I didn’t get a lot of help. So, good luck in your quest.

    Via Last.fm (www.last.fm/) I correspond with a woman who lives in Madrid; she introduced herself to me because she shares my interest in West African music, but it turns out that she dances flamenco and so has been pointing me in the direction of good flamenco (both traditional and “nuevo”) and fado, along with less pop-oriented mainstream stuff. I won’t presume to be an expert in all this, but–in case you haven’t come across them yet–I’ll risk recommending one group: Ojos de Brujo.

  2. Nora Says:

    YES! I just saw this on your blog, after searching everywhere for this girl. Rowan and I heard a song of hers (not this one) in a café in León… Rowan went to ask the waitress who the singer was, and came back with the name “Lenata Corte,” which obviously yielded no google results. This makes my day.

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