It started with a tweet on the Sunday before the World Cup. An innocent tweet. A friend, Morgan Pitelka (who I actually know offline), asked me: “@jhnadel what pre-World Cup music do you recommend?” Not sure why, but I read his question as a call to action to create a World Cup playlist. For full disclosure. I’m not a musician. My saxophone career ended at age 14 (though my sax eventually made an appearance in the World Inferno Friendship Society). I’m not a music expert or a music historian. But I love finding new things to listen to. So I started digging in the music of the different countries. Not too deep; 32 songs from 32 countries is a tall ask. But I had some ideas already: either Denmark or Serbia would include music by my close friend (and daughter’s godfather) Rastko Lazic – as a Serb living in Denmark, married to a Dane of Serbian/Montenegrin descent, he kind of qualifies for both. I knew I would want to have rap from the banlieues (housing projects of France). And ChocQuibTown. Other than that, I started down rabbitholes on Soundcloud and Spotify, going from band to band until I found something that I liked.
The results tend toward my tastes—political, punk(ish), rap(ish), a little off-kilter, and a fair dose of women musicians. I’ve included popular bands too. And successful ones. The Sugarcubes. Abba. Divinyls. Jorge Ben (for Morgan). Patti Kim—perhaps the most famous South Korean singer ever. My hope is that anyone who listens will find something new and go down their own rabbit hole. And please feel free to make suggestions. Steer my ear to a different rhythm.
A note on format: at first I figured that I would choose one song per country. But I realized quickly how tough that would be. So I’ll add new songs, from different artists, to the countries that advance. For each round, a new song (or two).
So, with thanks to @mpitelka, and to Romeo and Tropics of Meta for offering to host the project. Hope it doesn’t disappoint.
Music to Watch By
Russia: Pussy Riot, bit.ly/2yGDg2d
Saudi Arabia: Majedalesa, bit.ly/2iXxzjZ
Egypt: Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca, and Tamer Abu Ghazleh, bit.ly/2JtQ0yH
Uruguay: Barrio Reo* covering Carlos Gardel bit.ly/2Jrec4J
Iran: Kiosk bit.ly/1Rhqol4
Morocco: Maalem Mahmoud Gania bit.ly/2FeTx1S
and Fadoul bit.ly/2Jsa98q
Portugal: Linda Martini bit.ly/2sPLobD
and Anarchicks bit.ly/2HDdITm
Spain: Elbicho bit.ly/2l2sKsQ
Australia: Divinvyls bit.ly/2JOrbwC
and Warumpi Band bit.ly/1D6xQYD
Denmark: Oh Land bit.ly/1alE63z
France: Keny Arkana bit.ly/2MmYLrU
and La Fouine bit.do/emKob (or should this be Egypt?)
Peru: Novalima bit.ly/2JznoE7
Argentina: Juana Molina bit.ly/2t0vSJh
Croatia: Gustafi bit.ly/2l5Yj5i
Iceland: The Sugarcubes bit.ly/2JPYwri
Nigeria: Tony Allen bit.ly/18MABTj
Brazil: Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben bit.ly/1wzV062
and franciso, el hombre bit.ly/2dFszl6
Costa Rica: Nativa bit.ly/2l5d34c
Serbia: Darkwood Dub bit.ly/2JMq3K1
Switzerland: Zeal and Ardor bit.ly/2kw1BPP
Germany: CRO bit.ly/1lgoC2D
Mexico: Café Tacvba bit.ly/1S5exYG
and -[온스테이지] 100. 빈지노 Beenzino bit.ly/1dHpTPW
Belgium: Stromae bit.ly/1EDn3XV
England: PJ Harvey and Ramy Essam bit.ly/2qW5MFb
Panama: Los Rakas bit.ly/1eMOCwE
and MecániK InformaL bit.ly/2JIwGtB
Tunisia: Emel Mathlouthi bit.ly/2n67dzj
Japan: ネクライトーキ bit.ly/2MqB6a2
Senegal: Takeifa bit.ly/2sS19iC
* Original sung by musician from country, cover by musician from elsewhere.
**All photos pulled from musicians/bands Facebook profile
Joshua Nadel is an associate professor at North Carolina Central University and is the author of Fútbol! Why Soccer Matters in Latin America and Futbolera: Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Latin American Sports History. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2019. (co-authored with Brenda Elsey).