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Our Southeast Asian Music Playlist

June 2, 2017

This week we are featuring our very own custom playlist of Southeast Asian music with songs recommended by our own faculty, staff and students. 

The end of the year is approaching and finals are right around the corner. If you’re feeling stressed over finals, worried about what is happening in the world or just want to get excited for the summer with some peppy jams, check out our playlist! The songs come from all over Southeast Asia and broad. There are some oldies and some newies, some classical and some hip-hop, some songs in Malay and some songs in Lahu. Just kick back and enjoy.

Bento (1989) by Iwan Fals

Country: Indonesia

Language: Indonesian

“Bu Pauli just played us a song from Iwan Fals in class on Wednesday that was sangat bagus (very good) and very timely for the US political scene.  It came out while Suharto was still in power and was a veiled reference to all Suharto’s cronies who kept him in power.  Fals was threatened with imprisonment and the song was banned.” – Shannon Bush, graduate student

Assalamualaikum (2014) by Faizal Tahir

Country: Malaysia

Language: Malay

“In Malaysia, if you’re driving around during prayer time, you’ll hear something on the radio that you may not expect – Islamic pop and hip-hop. Since it is the month of Ramadhan, I thought I would share this positive song that reminds us we should accept and love one another rather than hate and discriminate.” – Kasey Rackowitz, graduate student and SEAC assistant

สาวเชียงใหม่ by จรัล มโนเพ็ชร (Jaran Manopetch)

Country: Thailand

Language: Thai

“The name of the song is translated as ‘Chiang Mai Girl.’ It’s a very classic one and you will hear this song playing everywhere when you are traveling in the northern part of Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai region. The style of the song is Folk, the rhythm represents the slowness and calmness of the northern people, plus they used the northern dialectic (which is different from the central Thai language) to sing the song.” – Supasai Vongkulbhisal, graduate student
Te paw ve tu she (NaHpuG’eu)

Country: Myanmar

Language: Lahu

“This song is stuck in my head.” – Meixi Ng, graduate student

นวด (2017) by PALMY

Country: Thailand

Language: Thai

“It’s the latest single of Palmy, one of my favorite Thai singers. The song is called Nuat (massage). According to the lyrics, bodily pains and aches can be relieved by massage, but a heartache can’t! This is one of her recent songs and music videos that combine commodified everyday Thainess with rhythmic delight and a touch of blithe nostalgia. Enjoy!” – Arthit Jiamrattanyoo, graduate student

 World Gong Crazy (2014) by Han Han, Datu and Hataw 

Country: Canada

Language: English, Tagalog, Cebuano

“Datu is a Toronto-based Filipino-Canadian band. Han Han is a Toronto-based Filipino-Canadian rapper. This song is in three languages!” – Adrian Alarilla, graduate student

Ma Der Ma Der (2015) by DrunkenStyle Records

Country: USA

Language: English, Lao

“Drunken Style Records is a group of Midwest-based Laotian-American Rappers.” – Adrian Alarilla, graduate student

Swimming Beach (2002) by Parokya Ni Edgar

Country: Philippines

Language: Tagalog

“Old song but super fun just because it’s summer and I want to go to the beach.” – Adrian Alarilla, graduate student

Lost in Laos (2003) by Dengue Fever

Country: USA

Language: Khmer

“In honor of one of my least favorite tropical diseases and one of my favorite Southeast Asian (sort-of) bands, I present Dengue Fever! ‘Dengue Fever is a six-member band from Los Angeles who combine Cambodian pop music and lyrics with psychedelic rock.'” – Rebakah Daro Minarchek, SEAC managing director

Những Nẻo Đường Phù Sa (1997) by Bảo Phúc

Country: Vietnam

Language: Vietnamese

“If you ask me to choose one single Vietnamese song that I enjoy and value the most in the last 30 years, I would choose the song “Những Nẻo Đường Phù Sa” written and performed/sung by Bảo Phúc (full/birth name: Nguyễn Phước Bảo Phúc). The song was written for the movie of the same name that was released and widely broadcast on Vietnamese TV in 1997, and has regularly been listed as the top ten most favorite songs/movies of modern Vietnam. The song beautifully illustrates the spirit of South Vietnamese people, mostly young farmers and students, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, who bravely stood up and joined the war to resist French attempt to (re-)colonize Vietnam (1946-1954). The lyrics integrate well elements of youth idealism/voluntarism, romantic love (that needs to be nurtured while temporarily sacrificed for the country’s sake), patriotism, and also melancholic love for the country’s landscape being invaded by foreign powers.”- Bich-Ngoc Turner, Vietnamese language instructor

The Book of Morris Johnson (2011) by Zee Avi

Country: USA/Malaysia

Language: English

“This is literally one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard. It’s so relaxing and just gives out good vibes.” Faizah Abdullah, undergraduate student

Mee Kolok Sigek (2011) by Zee Avi

Country: USA/Malaysia

Language: Sarawak Malay

“This song is everything about home. It’s sang in the Sarawakian dialect and I love to eat mi kolok, so I’ll listen to it to make me feel like I’m at home when I’m homesick.” – Faizah Abdullah, undergraduate student

 $ua (2016) by Akeem Jahat

Country: Singapore

Language: Malay

“This guy is currently my favorite Malay rapper, and he’s from Singapore. He is the magnificent and appropriately-named Akeem Jahat. Keren, kan?” – Lin Hongxuan

We hope you enjoyed our playlist and found some great artists to become fans of!