Deadsplinter Up! All Night: Speaking in Tongues

Tu Vuò Fa' L'Americano

Babylon and on

I suck at learning languages. I took three years of Latin in the Jesuit high school and two years of German (which was first period so I learned nothing). Being the son of immigrants, I learned enough street Italian to understand the old mobsters sitting at the “social clubs” on Taylor Street and to be able to make a complete fool of myself trying to order in a Milanese trattoria. While I have taught myself to curse in several languages, that is pretty much the extent of my skills.

I have great respect and admiration for people who can speak fluently in several languages. I know lots of these folks and am even married to some of them. And I am a BIG fan of music that’s not in English. Tonight, I am asking, respectfully, that we stick to such music. Wherever, whatever. Just not in English, por favor.

Let’s start with a classic. One of my strangely sexy Napolitano spinster aunts used to get up and sing this at weddings. I love when non-English speaking artists work in American idioms (and vice versa!). And brother, my paisans know how to ROCK!

I’m a big Omar Souleyman fan and Syrian wedding music generally. Years ago, his music turned up in my shuffle playlist, and he’s been in heavy rotation over here ever since. He’s also one of the coolest cats on the planet, as you can see from this video.

Also, I will groove to anything by Deigo El Cigala. I don’t understand a word, but his voice speaks to me in a way that transcends language. This one makes me shake shake shake my booty.

Iggy Pop singing in French is a whole mood. He did an entire album (“Apres”) of these songs. It sounds like he learned them phonetically and yet I believe that Serge Gainsbourg would still enthusiastically approve.

OK, I’m done. Let’s hear those favorite songs in divers tongues. And as my wife likes to say, “хвала на подшци Deadsplinter и DUAN”.



  1. NOTE TO DEADSPLINTERERS:I apologize for the trivial tone of my DUAN tonight.  I assembled and scheduled the post this morning before the despicable and infuriating events of the day.  My tone and topic would have been much different had I waited several more hours.  I invite you to participate if you need some relief from what’s going on, but if you don’t, I won’t be offended.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of Deadsplinter and DUAN, and I love this community. 

    • Coulda been worse. My diabetes-inducing brownie recipe (from a box) posted at 1 PM, just as the Electoral Votes were supposed to be tabulated, before the Trump Sturmtruppen invaded the Capitol.
      By the way, the response to that treasonous insurrection by those charged to be on alert for something that was widely predicted for weeks was a little–lackluster, let’s say. 

  2. Omar’s mustache has its own agent, I’ll bet. I am down with Omar’s scene.
    Boris Grebenshcikov made some inroads in the US in the late ’80s. 
    Boris Grebenshcikov – The Volga Boatman’s Song


  3. eh……i guess ill just grab a local then….heres an oldish one

    and heres the current local radio nr 1

    wait was i sposed to go for foreign to me languages or foreign to you languages?

  4. …I’m not sure I’d heard this lady before I started running into her tunes on posts roo used to leave on kinja but since french is likely the only language that isn’t english where I can keep up with rap lyrics…here’s keny arkana

    …I believe the title to that one translates more or less to “I dared”…& to give her due credit she really does…if you doubt me check out “le rage”…or sundry other tunes of hers?

  5. No need to apologize for the pre-drafted theme. I think it’s a fine way to think about something other than Trump and his vortex, which we all need from time to time.
    Omar Souleyman is terrific. I used to know his manager socially–such an all-round  lovely person.
    In terms of non-English tracks, I’ve always been a fool for chansons. 
    Benjamin Biolay, “Dans la Merco Benz”
    Jacques Dutronc, “Et moi, et moi, et moi”

    And Tropicalia is always delightful:Os Mutantes, “A Minha Menina”

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