World Cup of Music E-F

Music of Countries in Groups E-F

Group E; features the football of Cameroon, Denmark, Holland and Japan. Three continents and four traditions of music. This is one of the toughest groups with all teams capable of qualifying. The Netherlands have the edge, but will need to be at their best throughout to come top. Holland look like they can mature with van Persie and Robben returning and ranked 4th by FIFA, but highly-rated Cameroon have ace goal-scorer Eto’o, who moved from Barcelona to Inter so he could retain the Champions League; and they have won the African Cup of Nations. Coach Morten Olsen, part of the Dutch team that won the 1992 European Championship, is the only footballer with 100 matches both as player and coach. Whilst Danish footballers play all over Europe most of the Japanese team play in the J-League, although Nakamura is a Celtic Legend, and feel like the outsiders in this company. Fascinating group that will stay live until 9.30 pm on June 24th, especially if Japan get something out of the first game.

Holland v Denmark June 14

Holland; has a musical history that I have been involved in, having written a review of Supersister and Robert Jan Stips for Melody Maker. Dutch music was dominated by Nederpop, when music was inspired by the explosion of popular music in the USA and UK. The early seventies where a time when the Milkweg, and especially the Paradiso, Club in Amsterdam meant all the best bands wanted to play in Holland. Golden Earring, Shocking Blue and Focus, whose Hocus Pocus in the soundtrack for the Nike Rooney ad, all went mega with contemporary 70s styles. Unlike Germany which developed the unique music sounds of Krautrock, music in Holland was less reflective of the national character. They have had a good jazz tradition starting with the Dutch Swing College Band in 1945 and have had a light jazz tradition ever since. Do they have a chance? Dont Ask – Wouter Hemel!

Denmark; I know little of Danish music other than their jazz tradition, which started in 1923 and now has a number of well-known jazz musicians active on the international scene. Danish music can be seen as being classical with a long court tradition that lead to the romantic Golden Age culminating in Carl Nielsen, who can be heard on Spotify. Lets hope their organisation can cope with Dutch flair. Some of their modern bands like Alphabeat have managed the trick of referring to Western popular music whilst making it sounds distinctively theirs. The Raveonettes do this in the nostalgically modern Last Dance;  

Cameroon v Japan June 14

Cameroon; like the rest of West Africa has a long musical tradition, which differs inland from the coast. It changed and developed during the Francophone era when chanson affected music styles in the French-speaking areas, especially in Douala. In the twentieth century music has evolved from the globally popular makossa, through bikutsi until the founding of national TV network in 1984 encouraged a wider range of distinctively local music to become popular. Not unlike the music of many Francophone countries there is a related recording scene in Paris. Cameroon look to be a good chance to qualify with their powerful play. Here is the first global hit from the Cameroons in the 70s by Manu Dibango, Soul Makossa;

Japan; apart from seeing the Sadistic Mika Band with Ryiuchi Sakamoto at Fairfields Hall, Stomu Yamash’ta and Kodo I know little of the long Japanese musical tradition. Like other nations with long economic histories Japan has a courtly tradition, a folk tradition with many regional variations (like Okinawa) and a sophisticated modern recording industry. I personally enjoy Haruki Murakumi’s writing, such as Norwegian Wood, where he takes what he learnt from running jazz clubs in Tokyo and applies it to his mysteriously East/West writing. But for a limted sample from their vast musical tradition, overrun with Western tropes, here is a 2010 Number One, the very clean boy-pop of Arashi, Troublemaker;

Group F; features the football of Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia, one past winner, the current holders Italy and three make-weights; lucky Italy? Perhaps it isn’t as clear cut as that. Paraguay had some early success in Qualifying beating both Brasil and Argentina. Slovakia topped the tough UEFA Group 3 knocking out Poland and the Czechs and also formed a large part of the team that won the 1976 European Championships. I cant see New Zealand as other than makeweights but Paraguay and Slovakia could trouble Italy.

Italy v Paraguay June 14

Italy can only be understood musically through Opera, which carries forward its Renaissance traditions into the modern day. When the World Cup went to Italy for Italia 90 everyone in the UK fell in love with the Three Tenors, Luciano Pavarotti and Nessun Dorma;

Paraguay; is shaped musically by its Andean position, which creates a long tradition of folk music, and also by its Spanish heritage. I think they will surprise Italy in the match. The most distinctive instrument is the Paraguayan Harp with 38 strings;


One Response to “World Cup of Music E-F”

  1. […] Radio YouTube Fred's monthly musical musings « World Cup of Music E-F […]

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