This year, World Music Day falls on June 21st. This day is usually celebrated across the globe; however, with Covid measures, it is unlikely that as many public events as usual will be taking place.
Regardless, I have put together five songs from completely different genres for you to add to your playlists this summer and perhaps listen to on World Music Day; the perfect day to introduce new music into your life.
The first genre to explore is jazz; a constantly evolving and changing music style, with its varying degrees of improvisation. To attempt to explain or give an all-encompassing definition of jazz would be futile, however, I’m sure you have all enjoyed listening to Louis Armstrong or Frank Sinatra, perhaps without even realising it!
It is impossible not to sing along to the ‘ooh-la-las’.
It was difficult to whittle down to one jazz number, but I went with “Inner State (Of Mind)” by Courtney Pine. This song demonstrates an eclectic mix of influences; the vocal solo pays tribute to the Gershwin classic “Summertime”, the pair of chords in the brass section are taken from the Miles Davis piece “So What”, and the blue notes, as on the very first saxophone note, testify to a blues influence in this, and almost any jazz piece. This song is perfect for summer; it’s utterly uplifting, the smooth vocals are soothing, and the rap sections are upbeat. If you’ve never heard this song, treat yourself to a listen.
Next comes the musical; a genre you either love or hate. It took time for me to be won over by the variety of song, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance sequences, but the heart-warming feel of a musical reeled me in.
There are a huge number of musical songs that would be perfect for summer; I mean, if “Born to Hand Jive” from Grease won’t get you up and dancing I don’t know what will, but I have chosen a song from a musical romantic-comedy: La La Land. This musical’s entire soundtrack is beautiful, but I went with the opening song “Another Day of Sun”; an ensemble number belted out by motorists on a clogged freeway in LA, it immediately pulls you into the world of La La Land and the musical.
“Another Day of Sun” was composed by Justin Hurwitz with lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The song exudes the feel of bright sunshine: it’s fast paced, written in a major key and you can’t help but hum along to the catchy melody. Perfect for a summer day.
Moving on, we have a song for rock lovers. Rock is a massive music genre, highly inclusive with multiple sub-categories which makes it hard to define. Besides understanding that rock is a form of music with a strong beat, it is difficult to be much more explicit.
If you want to feel as if you’re in Bridgerton, this one is for you.
I must admit, finding a summery rock song wasn’t easy, but I chose “Make Me Smile (Come up and See Me)” by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. My parents used to play this all the time during summer road trips, and perhaps that’s why I picked it. More than 120 cover versions have been recorded, most notably by Duran Duran and Erasure. The song swings, and bops, and it is impossible not to sing along to the ‘ooh-la-las’.
Then we have classical; music that was composed roughly between 1730 and 1820. However, I have slightly cheated – the piece I am going to suggest falls within the Baroque era and represents a popular musical genre of the era called the concerto grosso.
Regardless, if you love classical music, you will love J.S. Bach’s “Concerto No. 5 in D Major” of the Brandenburg Concertos. This is fast and lively, with Bach creating a gigue-like feel. It’s the sort of song which makes you feel as if you’re in a fancy ball. If “Born to Hand Jive” wasn’t quite the thing to get you up and dancing, perhaps this is.
Finally, we have cinematic music. There are thousands of big, sweeping film scores which encapsulate the atmosphere of a motion picture, as well as gentler, more subtle pieces which may even jerk a tear.
I chose “The Duchess” by Rachel Portman, a stunning piece of music that won’t fail to raise a smile. The score was composed for the film The Duchess based on the eventful and controversial life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire.
Portman uses a limited orchestral palate here, using instruments that might have made up the orchestra at the time in which the film was set – the classical period. If you want to feel as if you’re in Bridgerton, this one is for you. It is gentle yet empowering and uplifting; a perfect way to round off a summer playlist.