I am a lover of all things international; food, culture, media, and music. I think that sometimes our image and thoughts over certain countries and/or cultures and people can be extremely altered by our sources of news media and our circle of friends – whether it’s positive or negative. Music I think is one of the many windows that we as outsiders get the chance to see what people on the other side of the world and/or our neighboring countries care about. Music connects emotions all across people all over regardless of other human derived dividing factors, and we if gave it a chance, I think we would really be surprised at how similar we all are.
So below, these are 15 international songs and artists that can connect you to the world, and can also take you on a quick journey somewhere…ay les va:
1. Le premier bonheur du jour – Fraçoise Hardy
It’s the breath of the sea
and the beach that awaits
It’s the bird that sang
on the branch of the fig tree
This song is a mix of happiness and sadness, but the melody in my opinion is completely enveloping and beautiful. This song is from the 60’s I believe, but it’s definitely timeless. Every time I listen to it, I can’t help but imagine Paris in the 1960’s and the different eras and events the City of Lights has lived through. Plus I don’t know about you, but I love to listen to music in which I don’t understand the language it is sung in. I think it gives new appreciation towards music in general because you focus on other parts of the song such as the melody, instruments, and overall tone. I challenge anyone who reads this to do the same. Start with this one, and dejate llevar by the poetic and enchanting melody.
2. Me has matado el corazon – Mystic Diversions ft. Faria
Amor tu lo sabes que te quiero
con respecto te confieso
me has matado el corazon
me has matado el corazon, amor
I never heard of Mystic Diversions or Faria, but I felt like I was missing out when I first heard this song. Personally, my memory attached to this song is of Granada when I stayed with a friend. I was getting ready for a day of exploring, and this song came on the radio and just like that, I fell in love with it. With a little help from Google, I realized that Mystic Diversions is possibly an Italian group however when I look up Farias (the feature) it was hard to find any information. Though I would love to know more about these artists, I think that the fact that there isn’t much information about them out there increases the appreciation towards the artists and their craft because the attention is on their music and not them and their personal life. If you like romantic songs that aren’t too ballad-y, I think you’ll like this one!
3. Undelivered Letter – Quantic and His Combo Barbaro
I stumbled onto this song thanks to Spotify’s Latin Dinner playlist, and the moment I heard it I completely felt transported. Though the sound of this song is more of that Latin funk and soul, this song for some reason made me imagine it as a beautifully fitting soundtrack song to movie about backpackers travelling all over the world…can you see it too? This song has no lyrics, it’s all instruments composed in a beautiful melody which I feel like it encompasses a sense of freedom and discovery. It’s a sentiment of spontaneity that is felt when you travel; that is what I feel every time I hear this song and that, my friends, is a feeling that you should never lose in life. Hopefully this song makes you feel this way too.
4. Middle of Things, Beautiful Wife – Sango
Big old dreams in real life
crown king and his beautiful wife
we don’t like to sit on our thrones no
truth be told we’re never home
maybe because there is a whole world just waiting for us
many things created by the god we trust
This song encompasses what you and I want to do; travel everywhere and anywhere. I love the lyrics of this song and the chill and catchy beats. As the song says, he talks about wanting to travel to a list of places, and I think that in itself is all we need to nod in agreement and say yup! Me too. This is probably the only song on this list that is straight up talking about traveling and that’s in English, but that’s not a bad thing.
5. La mer opale – Coralie Clément
L’amour nomade es vagabond / Nomadic love is ever wandering
Coralie Clément is simply a beautiful French singer. I love the soft sound of her voice and I love her style of music. If you’ve never heard of her, start by clicking this song and let yourself be transported to France. All her music and voice transports me to sitting in a cafe in Paris, which is what I dream about mostly if we are being honest here…
This is one of those songs I had listened to before I knew I would be going to Spain for a year, but the moment I was in Madrid and I was able to take a weekend trip to Paris, YOU BETTER BELIEVE I was listening to this song throughout the whole trip. I almost couldn’t believe I was in Paris, listening to Coralie Clément. It was kind of a really memorable moment for me.
6. Dulce Calor – Altocamet
Parte a horario
a tu destino
sin apuro ni demoras
Again thanks to Spotify I came across this Argentinian rock group called Altocamet. They have a distinctive alternative rock sound, and this song was the first one I heard from them. This song has accompanied me from my Spanish visa application process to the road trips and day trips I took while I was in Madrid. It’s a song with a lot of memories for me but it’s also a song that I think is attention grabbing because of the title. Give it a listen, and if you like it, I recommend Caminos Perfectos by them also 🙂
7. El Beso – Pablo Alborán
Si un mar separa continentes
cien mares nos separan a los dos
si yo pudiera ser valiente
sabría declararte mi amor
Spanish singer Pablo Alborán sure knows how to sing a good love song, and as ultra romantic and borderline mushy as it may sound, I am obsessed with this song.
SHORT STORYTIME: I was flying to Greece for my study abroad program, and I had a layover in Paris. It was about that time; really early in the morning (somewhere) and I started to get antsy because I just wanted to land in Paris already, and I felt like we had been flying for at least 5 hours already. I looked out my window, and I had never seen anything like it. I was looking at sunrise on one side of the window and I was still seeing darkness on the opposite side of the same window. I was observing daylight and nighttime at the same time, on different parts of the world and then this song started to play next on my playlist. I know it sounds like the mushiest song and the cheesiest story, but I had a moment ok?? It was beautiful to witness something like sunrise and nightfall simultaneously, and it being on my first flight to Europe just made it all the more special 🙂
Corny and everything else, you have to admit this is a beautiful song and a beautiful sound. I hope this songs sells you on Pablo Alboran and his music – he is truly talented.
8. Mediterraneo – Joan Manuel Serrat
A tus atardeceres rojos
se acostumbraron mis ojos
como el recodo al camino
Soy cantor, soy embustero,
me gusta el juego y el vino,
tengo alma de marinero
qué le voy hacer, si yo
nací en el mediterráneo
I am a sucker for oldies, that’s a fun fact about me. This song also came on when I was listening to a Spotify playlist, and I felt like it described so well what it must be like to growing up next to the Mediterranean Sea. Joan Manuel Serrat is a famous singer from Barcelona, Spain, so that could explain his inspiration for this song. It’s that song that I like to listen to and just close my eyes as it takes me on a journey to his childhood growing up near the Mediterranean, and how all his memories are connected to the sea. Give it a listen and let it also take you to el Mediterraneo.
9. Paris – Howling Bells
Oh Paris, every song’s about you
every romance calls you
everybody know you
everybody wants you
Ok I lied earlier when I said “Middle” was the only song in English, because this one is also in English; again that’s not a bad thing, right? Everyone has thought about going to Paris at some point, and if this song and video don’t inspire you to take that leap, well, then watch it over again. I think this is a pretty tribute to the city of lights by one of many people and bands who have been enchanted by Paris.
10. La Madrugá – Daniel Casares
Flamenco instantly transports me to Spain, and in specific, to Andalucía. This song’s melodic, beautiful guitar and the faint but rhythmic clapping is a beautiful vision of the laid back culture there is in Andalucía. Ugh, just dejate llevar by the melody. Can’t you imagine yourself hearing this as you’re walking at sunset around the city center of Granda or Sevilla while people enjoy the end of the day with a tinto de verano with friends? Ugh, espera que voy a comprar mi boleto para Granada…
11. Bonita – Calima
Palabras de amor
que en silencio me guían
dentro de mi ser
ella es la fuente de mi vida
una estrella en el cielo
que ilumina y me da calor
Otra Flamenca! I love flamenco and pop flamenco, and so of course, I am adding this song to the list. Maybe it’s because of my infatuation with Spain and their lifestyle but I could not leave this one out. I think it’s the passion and the ganas that they sing with that attracts me to this song, amongst other things.
I was still living in Madrid when I first heard this song and since then, it became a song I heard almost on a daily basis on my walks everywhere. Needless to say, I think about Madrid every time I hear this song and mi barrio.
12. Vi to er smeltet sammen – Stoffer & Maskinen
13. On an evening in Roma – Dean Martin
Though there’s grining and mandolining in sunny Italy
The beginning has just begun when the sun goes down
So please meet me in the piazza near your casa
I am only one and one is much too few
On an evening in Roma
I had to include this song on this list because how could I not? Seriously click the video below, listen to the song and see the beautiful captures of Rome and it’s locals going about their everyday life. You will be left wanting to be physically transported to the beautiful città eterna.
14. Oba, Le Vem Ela – Jorge Ben Jor
The night’s beautiful and she’s more
All in pink
More beautiful, sweeter
Than a rose
This Brazilian song is so beautiful. Initially the sound of the music is captivating, I really like the sound and the lightheartedness that it carries but also with sentiment. The lyrics are mostly about a guy lusting over a girl and her not giving him the time of day but it doesn’t matter because he still gets to see her walk by. Every time I hear this song, I imagine myself in Brazil, and since this is one of my top destinations on my bucket list, I’ve been listening non stop to carry me over until I physically get there.
15. Clair De Lune – Claude Debussy
A song has never made me feel so optimistic to the brink of tears. This song never fails to take me anywhere I want to go. I don’t know what kind of magical powers it has, but it’s the only song that from the moment I start to listen to it, to the end, I feel completely calm, ready to conquer anything, extremely joyous and grateful to live in a beautiful planet and for travel to discover it all. It’s absolutely stunning in my opinion, and the feeling it gives me is priceless. I hope this song inspires you to keep doing what you love, even if you’re not doing it at the moment, you’re at least not losing focus on where you want to be.
Do you have any favorite international artists and songs that were not mentioned here? Let me know if you know of other artists because I’d love to know! 🙂 My opinion on international music is that I love it for what it is and I think that aside from being entertainment, it’s also a window into different cultures, customs and norms and I absolutely love that. Also, if we are being real here, our American music isn’t always the sh*t – there are other beautiful songs and artists to be heard from other countries too, so let’s give it a chance to change our musical and cultural appreciation and awareness. What do you love most about international music?