Are you really into music? Do you pride yourself on being able to enjoy any genre of music? Do you find new music a joy no matter what the place of origin? If yes, this is the place for you! If not, this article doesn’t really get any less boring for you from here on.
So Here it is, my compilation of a few unusual and unique music genres around the world:
Place of origin: Cape Verde
As a music genre, the batuque is characterized by having an andante tempo, a 6/8 or 3/4 measure and traditionally it is just melodic, i.e., it is just sung, it has no polyphonic accompaniment. When compared with the other musical genres from Cape Verde, the batuque has a call and response structure, and it is the only genre that is polyrhythmic. In fact, analyzing the rhythm, one finds out that it is a 3-beat rhythm over a 2-beat rhythm.
In its traditional form, the batuque is organized as if it were an orchestral crescendo. It possesses two movements.
In older times the music began with an introduction on the cimboa that provided the base musical line. Nowadays the usage of that instrument is extinct. The first movement is called, in Creole, galion [ɡɐliˈõ]. In this movement one of the performers (called batukaderas [bɐtukɐˈdeɾɐs]) executes a polyrhythmic hit, while the others execute a 2-beat hit, clapping hands or slapping a cloth. The lead singer (called kantadera proféta [kɐ̃tɐˈdeɾɐ pɾoˈfɛtɐ]) sings a verse that is immediately repeated (called ronca baxon [ˈʀõkɐ bɐˈʃõ]) in unison by the remaining singers (called kantaderas di kunpanha [kɐ̃tɐˈdeɾɐs di kũˈpaɲɐ]). These verses, improvised proverbs that talk about a variety of subjects such as praising personalities, social criticism, quotidian scenes, are called finason [finɐˈsõ].
My thoughts: Fast-paced, rhythmic and dialogue-based, Batuque songs are like a fun, musical story. It might sound a bit harsh to the ears in the beginning but a song will always manage to reveal it’s story, which is like an extended proverb or a folk tale, by the end. The amazing percussion instruments make that journey to the end worth it
Place of origin: Japan
Enka (演歌) is a popular Japanese music genre considered to resemble traditional Japanese music stylistically. Modern enka, however, is a relatively recent musical form which arose in the context of such postwar expressions of modern Japanese nonmaterial nationalism as nihonjinron, while adopting a more traditional musical style in its vocalism than ryūkōka music, popular during the prewar years.
Modern enka, as developed in the postwar era, is a form of sentimental ballad music. Some of the first modern enka singers were Hachiro Kasuga, Michiya Mihashi, and Hideo Murata. The revival of enka in its modern form is said to date from 1969, when Keiko Fuji made her debut. The most famous male enka singer is Kiyoshi Hikawa.
My thoughts: Melodious voices in traditional Japanese tunes in accompaniment with modern instruments is the basic essence of what this genre is all about. Soulful voices filled with pain and emotions calling out to the listeners to sympathize and find comfort in it.
Place of origin: The Caribbean
Merengue is a traditional Caribbean music and dance that emerged in the Dominican Republic early in the 20th century. With a variety of influences – including European, African and Creole – merengue is unique style characterized by its 2/4-time and complex 2-step dance. The traditional instrumentation of acoustic guitar and marimbula (a Caribbean box lamellophone) has evolved over time to include the accordion, the tambora (a two-headed drum), the guira (a metal scraper similar to the washboard), bass, piano and even saxophone.
In the 1930s band director Rafael Trujillo created the first modern merengue orchestra, replacing many of the “rural” instruments and playing exclusively for the elite and middle class. Trujillo remained the leader of the merengue movement until his retirement in 1961. He also established this modern merengue as the national music of the Dominican Republic.
My thoughts: Lovely sexy beats and an even sexier lady dancing the merengue for you. Need I bait you more?
Mugham or mugam (Azerbaijani: Muğam) is one of the many folk musical compositions from Azerbaijan, contrasting with tasnif and ashugs. Mugam draws on Arabic maqam.
It is a highly complex art form that weds classical poetry and musical improvisation in specific local modes. Mugham is a modal system. Unlike Western modes, “mugham” modes are associated not only with scales but with an orally transmitted collection of melodies and melodic fragments that performers use in the course of improvisation.Mugham is a compound composition of many parts. The choice of a particular mugham and a style of performance fits a specific event. The dramatic unfolding in performance is typically associated with increasing intensity and rising pitches, and a form of poetic-musical communication between performers and initiated listeners.
My thoughts: Knowing Arabic enables you to understand this genre better but the emotional peak reached is always apparent.The words always flow rhythmically and the instrumental accompaniment is much less and simple.
Place of origin: India
Thumrī is a common genre of semi-classical Indian music. The term ‘thumri’ is derived from the Hindi verb thumakna which means “to walk with dancing steps so as to make the ankle-bells tinkle.” The form is, thus, connected with dance, dramatic gestures, mild eroticism, evocative love poetry and folk songs of Uttar Pradesh, though there are regional variations.
The text is romantic or devotional in nature, and usually revolves around a girl’s love for Krishna. The lyrics are usually in Uttar Pradesh dialects of Hindi called Awadhi and Brij Bhasha. Thumri is characterized by its sensuality, and by a greater flexibility with the raag.
My thoughts: The sensual voices, the romantic themes, the slightly erotic dancing in ghungroos which are ankle bells tied by the dancers, all bring a very luxurious feel of our past. The influences from Indian classical music gives it a beautiful vibe technique-wise.
6. ABORIGINAL MUSIC
Place of origin: Australia
Australian Indigenous music includes the music of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, who are collectively called Indigenous Australians; it incorporates a variety of distinctive traditional music styles practiced by Indigenous Australian peoples, as well as a range of contemporary musical styles of and fusion with European traditions as interpreted and performed by Indigenous Australian artists.
Music has formed an integral part of the social, cultural and ceremonial observances of these people, down through the millennia of their individual and collective histories to the present day, and has existed for 40,000 years.
My thoughts: Use of different indigenous musical instruments gives a beautiful resonating tune that almost puts you into a trance. It’s fast-paced but soothing. Definitely worth discovering.
7. INUIT MUSIC
Place of origin: North America
Traditional Inuit music, the music of the Inuit, has been based on drums used in dance music as far back as can be known, and a vocal style called katajjaq (Inuit throat singing) has become of interest in Canada and abroad.
Characteristics of Inuit music include: recitative-like singing, complex rhythmic organization, relatively small melodic range averaging about a sixth, prominence of major thirds and minor seconds melodically, with undulating melodic movement. The tautirut is an Inuit bowed zither used in inuit, similar to the Icelandic fiðla. It is not clear as to whether the instrument is purely indigenous, or introduced by Nordic sailors either pre or post-Columbus. Inuit culture is one of the few New World cultures to have a chordophone tradition
My thoughts: Inuit is reliant on it’s percussion and string instruments, with vocals ranging only between a small range. Mostly the vocal parts are recited in a voice rather lacking in tune with the beats taking the focus.