Open Your Ears

Earlier in this series we recommended the 5 Song Set podcast as a great way to explore new music in interesting ways and develop your active listening skills. Today Musical U team member Stella takes us on a journey through an episode on “Cool and Interesting Percussion”. Over to you, Stella!

I picked this episode because there is always something catchy and funky about percussion. I also love how it can blend perfectly with the bass – and to almost everything, in fact! Great percussion makes us want to stop what we are doing and just dance or simply sway with the music. It’s as if we are in a trance, taken in by the drums to step up and jive.

5 Song Set LogoIn this episode of 5 Song Set, host Felicia explains:

“This episode is made up of five songs with cool percussive elements. That could be the use of voice in a percussive way, interesting instruments in addition to drums as percussion, or just a really cool drum line.”

1. Unissasi Laulelet by The Dø

[1:38]

The first song Unissasi Laulelet by The Dø kind of teleports me to a different dimension. It felt like I was driven to a spiritual place by the amazing vocals.

I almost imagined myself sitting by the beach, underneath the blanket of stars, right beside a bonfire. I can imagine gypsies moving around the fire in time with the drums.

It makes me feel like I am close to nature with all it’s glorious wonders… the majestic waterfalls and the serene ocean. The perfect vocals and the beat of the drums make you want to close your eyes and chant with the beat.

2. Russian State Museum’s Lottery by Opa!

[4:19]

Meanwhile, the second song Russian State Museum’s Lottery by Opa! reminds me of a local band playing at the street.

Although the song is upbeat, I can sense something emotional through the bass and the trombone and how the vocalist sings the song. Although I did not understand the lyrics because it’s in Russian, the vocals and clarinet makes it sound like it’s a parody of someone’s misfortune or heartache. Could I be right?

In spite of the sad element, the bass, the trumpet, and all that beat of the drum could still make you want to jump up and down.

3. Лесное Радио by Лесное Радио

[11:19]

The third song Лесное Радио by Лесное Радио takes us to a world of poetry. The drums on this one actually bring a sense of calmness.

I think it’s a perfect music for meditation. Or can you visualize the vast desert, snake-charmer’s snakes in a basket, or hypnosis? I find it interesting that the song has kind of like an arabic theme with its rhythm even though it’s performed by a Russian band.

Aside from the different mix of percussion, it is also interesting to listen for how the guitar blends perfectly with the overall sound.

4. Papier hygienique by Grre En Famille

[13:25]

Papier hygienique by Grre En Famille is my favorite song of all Felicia’s selections for this episode because I love how the violin stands out in the sound. Each melody in the song is complemented by the drums, guitars, and the bebop.

It’s surprising to listen to a bebop song that is combined with a classical instrument, the violin, and infused with jazz. This fun song truly highlights the improvisation skill of the vocalist and the band.

5. The Funky Komodenu by Blake Fleming

[20:45]

Lastly, we have The Funky Komodenu by Blake Fleming which has an obvious influence of African music. What makes it stand out is its incredible mix of modern composition techniques with an African beat.

It’s one of those type of songs that really highlights the drums and how you can improvise to different rhythms and beat. It’s like a mixture of Africa and New York, combined in an artistic and talent of the drummer’s amazing drumming skills. I am sure your ears will love hearing this!

All in all, these songs are each unique and special in their own way while sharing the power of percussion. It highlights the different and entertaining talents of the artists who were able to infuse their own style and techniques into their craft. And I think it is safe to conclude that percussion can make any music track brighter, lively, and yeah… groovy!

5 Song Set is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.


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