International music that should be on your radar

I have this list on the wall in my room. It's scribbled on a sheet of yellow paper, I used the separators in my three-subject notebook to make this list into a poster that would last a while. One of the things listed on my "29 ways to stay creative list" is to listen to new music.

I take this piece of advice seriously and every week I try to discover a new band, a new genre, a new female rapper, a fun music video, a new record label and now that I live in UH-merica I also look up tour dates. So here is a round of some Independent music that isn't predominantly English but uses the language occasionally. Most of them have political and social messages hidden away in their lyrics.

3. Swet Shop Boys 

Heems (from that hilarious song but honest song 'Sometimes') and Riz Mc (from the movie Reluctant Fundamentalist and other cool gigs) have come together to form an epic duo calling out racism, casual security checks and not so casual commentary on the treatment of immigrants abroad. Here is a song that I love because the video has a very Bollywood-like plot but the music is clearly American-inspired rap with electronic versions of the tabla and harmonium. 

2. Soap Kills 

This band also known as 'As-Saboun Yaqtol' is a duo made of Yasmine Hamdan (wife of Indie Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman) and Zeid Hamdan, unrelated, whose music has been categorized as Trip Hop in the French media for their take on classical Arabic and contemporary electronic music. I just discovered them so my knowledge on them is limited. Here is a gorgeous song by them that's put them on my radar and now I pass the torch onto you. For some reason, all their videos have stills of a very fierce woman holding a cigarette and staring intensely both at and away from the camera. 

1. Mashrou Leila

The absolutely delicious and beautiful five member band from Lebanon has released three albums since their inception in 2008 in a music workshop. They've become infamous for their satirical and controversial lyrics that deal with subjects like sexuality, homosexuality, politics in the middle east and of course religion. As a result, they were banned from performing, twice in a row, in Jordan. This is their new video release which resonates power as it films a group of women in hijabs taking back the power. Get onto the video and scroll down the 'about' section for more details on that aspect. Hamed Sinno's soulful voice, like a well-crafted plot, guides you through the band's new approach to bass; both of which are accompanied by the very talented violinist Haig Papazian. 


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