Probably the finest Canadian song praising the Communist Party of Albania you will hear today (h/t RM):
I wonder if there are any English-language songs praising East Germany?
If you're interested in the internecine squabbles of Canadian Marxist splinter parties in the 1960s -- and who isn't? -- you can find plenty of documentation here. One of the absolute must-read highlights, On the Question of Liu Shao-Chi:
While we might be disposed to be somewhat critical of [Sidney Rittenberg]'s speech for being poorly constructed, not too carefully prepared and containing some careless formulatons, we are in agreement with its basic content in criticizing and repudiating the bourgeois-reactionary line of Liu Shao-chi and upholding the proletarian-revolutionary line of Mao Tse-tung. However, the Belgian trio of Jacques Grippa, Rene Raindorf and Stephen Strulens who are of the opposite opinion, in reply to Rittenburg’s 40 to 50 minute speech inscribed a, reply that would fill a good-sized book.
The extreme length of this literary attack is largely caused by the authors’ ranging far beyond the limits of the Rittenburg speech which did not provide them with sufficient scope for the objective they had in mind. In order to correct this situaton Rittenburg is charged with not saying certain things, and the things which were not said provide the main basis for the attack.
Johannah King-Sluztky, citing Schoenberg and Weill, sort of argues that Sprechstimme is white people rap:
Rap-talk-singing is as white as it gets, but it doesn't have to ironize or foil blackness. White people rap-talk-singing pre-dates hip hop by seventy years, with roots in German opera and melodrama. The proper name for rap-talk-singing is sprechstimme, sometimes used interchangeably with sprechgesang, the latter of which is a little more melodic.
The BBC has a short piece on Faust, who were supposed to be the German Beatles but turned into something more rich and strange:
However, a second stroke of fortune befell them when Richard Branson, young head of the fledgling Virgin Record label, decided he wanted a piece of the Krautrock action,signed up Faustand brought them to the UK. He released an album of their outtakes, The Faust Tapes, for the price of a single, in 1973 – its low price and (to ‘70s British rock fans) difficult content made it one of the most bought but least listened-to cult rock albums of the year.
The few who did get Faust, however, were highly influential – BBC radio DJ John Peel, critics like NME’s Ian MacDonald, future band members like Bill Drummond, Ian McCulloch, Julian Cope and Jim Kerr, all of whom found in Faust post-punk ideas before punk had ever happened. They had seen nothing like them, or their neo-Dadaist live act, which involved sofas, a pinball machine, power tools, TV sets and walls of tin cans.
Faust, however, hated English food, English studios and Branson himself – though today, an older and wiser Péron believes they behaved unreasonably towards him. Inevitably, Virgin dropped Faust. They disappeared in the 1980s altogether – one of their members, Rudolf Sosna (described by Péron as the “true genius” of the band) sadly died. However, in the 1990s, they re-emerged, finding appreciation and understanding from rock audiences schooled in Faust’s successors, such as the 80s German group Einstürzende Neubauten. Faust’s onstage arsenal was as bizarrely formidable as ever, including angle grinders and even a cement mixer.
First, Carl Douglas' evergreen 1974 hit 'Kung Fu Fighting':
And now, the near-simultaneous and deeply regrettable German ripoff 'Kung Fu Leute', from the hapless 'Kandy', who looks like he was dragged in off the street to read lyrics from a card:
Given Germany's role as self-appointed Sole Remaining Keeper of the Flame of Intellectual Property™, I can only hope Carl Douglas was handsomely compensated for the traumatic defunkification of his song. (Right?).
But wait! Deutschland redeems itself 30 years later when the German outfit the Mardi Gras Brass Band returns to the original English lyrics and turns KFF into a tuba-driven slow jam:
And now comes Erdmöbel with their own song about someone who remembers his lover by her 'kung fu fighting' ringtone. The video features two people with pure Nordic blood pretty faces kissing:
But lest we forsake or fake the funk, let us conclude this musical journey with Cee Lo Green insanely buttshaking but way too short cover:
Above, Swamp Pop pioneer Johnnie Allan covers Chuck Berry's 'Promised Land'. On the German TV show Musikladen (Music Store). Allan's Wikipedia entry closes with: 'A retired educator, he lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.'
Bernd Brunner, a native German speaker, reflects on how and why languages get a reputation for ugliness or beauty:
As far as I can tell, many people – including not only many Germans, but Americans – consider Italian to be the most beautiful language. Nasal French earns mixed reviews; some people find it elegant and sophisticated, while it sounds somehow stilted to others’ ears. Those who see fit to praise English – at least, if they’re from Europe – usually add in the same breath that “of course” they mean British English; specifically, the Oxford kind. Sadly, they forget that American English, especially as spoken on the East Coast, can express tremendous elegance and, yes, class. (And this judgment, of course, is quite objective). I think so, in any case, especially when I recall Bobbie Battista, the unforgettable, slightly and sexily cross-eyed former anchor for CNN International. It was a pleasure to listen to her, even when she was presenting terrible news from the first Gulf War. Anyway, you can make a mess of any language. It all depends on who is doing the talking and how he or she speaks – the speed, rhythm, and tone of voice. When some people open their mouths, the results sound more like yelling than talking. So isn’t it a little presumptuous to claim that one language is beautiful and another is ugly? Isn’t beauty entirely subjective? And what’s more: who actually knows every language and is in a position to make such a definitive judgment? The Japanese – to take just one example of a non-Western culture – seem to see the whole matter differently. A friend who is a professor in Tokyo explained to me that Japanese people generally consider their mother tongue to be the most beautiful, but also have a high opinion of French and the Polynesian languages.
...In the beauty contest of languages, Danish, Chinese, and Arabic usually bring up the rear. As a nonlinguist with no need to fear for my reputation – at least my academic one – I freely admit that I can’t warm up to the sound of Danish, especially when compared to Norwegian or, even better, unbelievably musical Swedish. But I pull myself together and remember that some people find beauty precisely where others don’t. To use a musical analogy, talking about languages this way is a little bit like trying to compare Vivaldi and Shostakovich.
...Don’t judgments about a language’s beauty or ugliness generally depend on our personal experiences with people who speak it, and the associations it evokes? Brazilian Portuguese is considered especially soft and melodic – and it inspires thoughts of the bossa nova and Copacabana. Spanish calls up visions of flamenco, bullfights, and – maybe – especially attractive people, and Italian calls to mind great architecture and delicious food, wine and, yes, Mafia. Of course these are clichés, but they still play a role in our perception that we simply can’t ignore.
I think a more apt analogy than Vivaldi v. Shostakovich is any musical instrument played badly or well. American vocal fry is ghastly, but a well-modulated announcer (Bobbie) can be pleasant. Received Pronunciation British English charms even Anglophobes, whereas scouse or geordie are an acquired taste. German's reputed to be harsh and guttural (people think of ranting Hitler), but in the right hands it is hypnotically rhythmic and melancholy:
In my personal league table Brazilian Portuguese comes out on top, because it's an instrument that just can't be played badly. It sounds playful and sexy even coming from a doofus like Ronaldinho:
But pair it with a voice like Marisa Monte's, and you have the soundtrack to nibbana nirvana: