Five pop songs influenced by world music

Five pop songs influenced by world music

Arabic
Gorillaz – ‘White Flag’
Damon Albarn has long foraged global sounds – his Chinese opera, his Malian album – but ‘White Flag’ was revelatory. Betwixt cameos from Kano and Bashy blazed the real stars of Plastic Beach: the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music.

Bollywood
Black Eyed Peas – ‘Don’t Phunk with My Heart’
Before they rekindled Bossa Nova (with Sergio Mendes on ‘Mas Que Nada’), the ‘Peas’ rewired two of Asha Bhosle’s 70s Indian cinema serenades, and created a lurid, dancefloor megahit.

Turkish Pop
Holly Valance – ‘Kiss Kiss’
In which Benny Hill’s best-loved second-cousin exited the aural laboratory of Neighbours and gyrated to the top spot with a tribute to Turkey’s ‘Prince of Pop’, Tarken. Mwah!

Afrobeat
Franz Ferdinand – ‘Send Him Away’
Franz’s fascination with African Music saw them team up with figurehead Baaba Maal, and join 2008’s Africa Express carnival. This woozy, afro-pop croon ensued, and appeared on their third long-player, Tonight.

Faux-Oriental
Aneka – ‘Japanese Boy’
In the summer of 1981, Scots folk dowager Mary Sandeman revamped herself as a disco-pop Geisha. The pentatonic scale deployed was common to Chinese (not Japanese) music, and the fold of her Kimono was customarily used on the dead for cremation, but this mock-exotic chart-topper is joyous.

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