World Cup of Music June 22

Final Games; Groups A & B

Review of Matches June 21; The games continue to get better despite bad weather and referees. Portugal swept past a tired North Korea, no Motherland love for them then, but with 7 goals this time. Portugal’s intelligent movement suggests they are ready for Brasil. Chile Switzerland was immense, despite a fussy school teacher of a ref, with non-stop Chile passing their way around the well organised mountains of  Switzerland; probably the best coached team of the tournament. It must have been a Chile Sunday Fondue after all. With France seemingly on their way out, in disgrace as always with Domenech, and the Latins taking over, with both Uruguay and Argentina playing today, we must select Last Tango in Paris as todays Theme Tune. Written in Paris for the Bertolucci film, by Argentinian jazz exile Gato Barbieri, Gotan Project (who have a World Cup remix competition) recently revitalised this and play a great live version. Last Tango in Paris;

Preview of Final Group A Games; Potentially two extra-ordinary matches might happen to settle group A; except. Mexico and Uruguay both qualify if they draw, which doesn’t make your blood run with excitement does it? However South Africa and France both seek redemption win a win, which if gained with sufficient goals gives one of them a chance to qualify if either Uruguay or Mexico win. I actually think South Africa will perform the best but  Uruguay and Mexico will go through.

Mexico; At last a real footballing song! Cielito Lindo is the Mexican football song. Written in 1882 it has been used in many forms and in many contexts as a sing-along Mariachi tune. I am sure you will recognise it once you hear it here. These are the Mariachi Vargas performingin Japan with their version of Ay yai yai yai! Cielito Lindo;

Uruguay; I’ve really enjoyed discovering the music of Uruguay, Montevideo, candombe and it’s overlaps with Argentina, but then I love Nuevo Tango. The key figure in the development of twentieth century tango in Argentina is the Uruguayan Carlos Gardel. Here he is, in a great recording from the forties, singing a Milonga, Milonga Sentimental;

France; I remember going into a French cafe near Angouleme in the early 70s which had a singles jukebox and only being able to find two songs worth playing. Since then however modern French music, stimulated by the Bretons and Magma, has over time developed tremendously thanks to Jacques Chirac’s radio rule, with many great artists emerging, but given the context we are going with Nouvelle Vague with their sadly appropriate Renouveau de la chanson française Love Will Tear Us Apart;

South Africa; Sadly this could be the Rainbow Nation’s last game in the World Cup so this is probably the last choice of music from their that we can share. Fortunately, thanks to my friend in South Africa Hilda Kruger, it is great music by BLK JKS, with a video starting with football from Soweto made by giving us a real feel for the country. Great mash-up of musical styles too (except for the look at me guitar solo guys). So here are BLK JKS & Molalatladi;

Preview of Final Group B Games; This is more like it, every team has a chance, although only a strange combination of results would see Argentina go out; they should beat the late-stirring Greece. Which leaves Korea only needing a draw and Nigeria a really big win! So a really live game with Korea’s ambition giving them the edge. Nigeria imploded in the African Cup of Nations final in January so I think that Argentina & Korea to go through.

Greece; In recent years there has been a roots movement in Athens called Greek Blues, using the bouzouki in a style reminiscent of, well most anything featuring an electric guitar. The music grew out of the virtuosity of vagabond poet Vamvakaris the “Patriarch of Rembetiko” and the band he formed in Piraeus, the Liverpool of Greece. After the bouzouki was first recorded in New York in 1926 recordings by Halikias inspired the Greeks themselves to use the bouzouki more and it became the central-instrument in Rebetiko.  Here is a video of Vamvakaris singing Atakti in a club with his band in the sixties; Atakti;

Argentina; As well as Nuevo Tango and the great music we have heard from Gotan and Bajofondo Tango Club Gustavo Santaolalla has also developed an amazing side project called Cafe de los Maestros. Similar to the Buena Vista Social Club in Cuba this comprises older musicians from the golden age of Tango recreating their classic music live. Check the CD set, see the film or listen up! La Cumparsita;

Nigeria; I’m a big fan of Fela Kuti along with his sons, and thought the best period of Nigerian music was when he was active in the 1970s.Drummer Tony Allen from that band is in The Good The Bad and The Queen with Damon Albarn. So perhaps it is unsurprising that one of my favourite albums in recent months has been the Nigeria Special compilation of Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues from 1970-76, great discovery. I think the stand out track by Opotopo is groovin dance magic. It’s called Belema;

Korea; So in North Korea there is no music that doesn’t praise the Dear Leader, whereas in South Korea there is loads of music, all of it copying Western styles and sponsored by Corporations; pastel repression. George Orwell pointed out that war economies are good for corporations in 1984 and the music seems to consist of many well-executed copies of Western musical styles. There was a rock protest movement in the 70s & 80s called Norae Undong (new song) led by Kim Min-ki, but a film soundtrack he recorded resulted in his music being banned and he turned to plays. Cant find any of it, are there no South Korean musicologists out there or are they all scared of the Committee for Youth Protection? Here is some modern rock (Manic Seoul Nirvana?) by Trax who are energetic and Blaze Away with this best K-rock song Scorpio ;

And to encourage France and Mexico who are both playing today here is a German LEGO reconstruction of their match together, with slo-mo goals;


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