(back to Esperanto)
There is a TON of music in Esperanto. Here are a few artists I'm familiar with. All of this is available through Vinilkosmo, which sells CDs and MP3s and now also has a streaming service. Which of course I'm subscribed to. :)
One thing I notice, listening to a lot of Esperanto music, is that you’ll often find somebody who’s just "the Esperanto version of _____". So you’ve got stuff like Solotronik’s "Maŝine Dance" which is a techno track overlaid with a person saying "dance like a machine, dance like a robot," again and again in Esperanto. (I’m gutted that that’s not on youtube to link to). Or you’ve got a rapper like “La Pafklik,” who’s so very gangsta in Esperanto. (I can’t make out most of what he’s saying because he talks too fast, but I’m sure it’s very fierce. “Pafklik” is the sound of the trigger on a gun.)*
It reminds me of Christian Contemporary music, where you’d have baptized versions of various musical styles, like 70s-80s bro-rock in Petra, or hair metal in Stryper, or new wave in Steve Taylor, or…. all of my references for CCM are from the 80s, I’m afraid.
Anyway, it’s a similar deal, a lot of Esperanto music seems like somebody took some other style of music an waved a magic Esperanto wand over it. But you know, that’s OK. Some of it’s pretty darn great anyway. Kapriol' sounds like Esperanto's answer to Steeleye Span… and it's completely awesome.
And there are some that just seem like their own original thing to me, like Persone/Martin Wiese, whom I dig the hell out of….
Everybody who talks about Esperanto music seems to go straight to Persone and Martin Wiese, the lead singer who also did solo work under his own name and "Martin & La Talpoj". Liza Pentras Bildojn is a stone cold Persone classic. About losing touch with someone who your life would have been better if you hadn't lost touch. Great line: "Estas sur la tuta ter' unu nur kun ĝusta karakter' por kompreni min." "There's only one person in the world who can understand me" – and of course, the singer has lost her.
Superbazaro, by Martin Wiese is awesome, the title track from Wiese's newest ablum. Topic is: "you take advantage of me and I let you. I'm a supermarket and you come and take what you want and leave." Sad but it's a good song. Good line: "Sed vi venas al mi kvazaŭ estus mi superbazaro Kion vi volas de mi, kion vi volas de mi Mi ofertu ĝin tuj" "But you come to me like I was a supermarket; whatever you want from me, whatever you want from me, let me offer it to you immediately."
A little older is Pli ol Nenio. Topic: "Who are we to judge if a guy responds to being dumped by taking a trip filled with a series of drunken one-night stands?" Good line: "kara aŭskultant', ĉu pro lia vant', nun venu moralaĵo? … Estas pli ol nenio." "Dear listener, should we now draw a moral lesson from this meaninglessness?" (Answer: no. It's better than nothing!)
But very close to my heart is Homoj Kiel Mi, which I can't find a youtube video of. It's a song about a rich important dude with Opinions, and the song is full of contempt for him and the way he talks about people: "Pardon min sinjoro Pri kiuj vi parolas nun? / Sentaŭguloj, klaŭnoj, noloj / Homoj kiel mi / Strangaj buboj, homaj ruboj / Homoj kiel mi" Meaning: "Excuse me sir, who are you talking about? / Good-for-nothings, clowns and zeroes, / people such as e. / Weird kids and human trainwrecks, / people such as me."
It means a lot because there are a lot of times when I'm feeling like every one of those things, and calling myself every one of those names, and it's nice to have a song that is absolutely defiant about being, or being called, good for nothing, et cetera, et cetera.
I am also charmed by the elegant construction of "Sen-taŭg-uloj", which comes from the words for "without," "being suitable for something," and "people." What a great translation of "good-for-nothings."
New artist: Jonny M does goofy, happy reggae, like Dankon, where he thanks everyone associated with Esperanto for the wonderfulness of Esperanto. Either he's a super happy dude by nature or he spends a lot of time altigita per drogoj, in the grand Reggae tradition.
Jonny M also does Eterna lumo (with "Tone"). This live version is super fun though you can't hear the words so good, just beause Jonny and Tone dance like idiots and are having a wonderful time. "Vi ne volas kverelan mondon, ni volas sunon, en frostaj koroj." "We don't want a quarrelsome world, we want the sun to warm frozen hearts." What an Esperanto-ish theme. :)
Kajto's Mi Memoras is the most 1970s-ish song I've ever heard. (I don't know if it's actually from the 70s, it just sounds like that.) It's about how much the singer loved flying kites, but had to stop flying them because warplanes filled the air (yikes), and now he's like "let all the children of the world use kites as peace-weapons to repel the war planes!" Makes no real sense but it's full of feelings about war and innocence. Feels very Vietnam War folk song era. Key line: "Do, mi petas al ĉiuj infanoj de la tero, / fari multajn birdojn el papero. / por forpeli aermilitilojn /ni kovru la ĉielon per pacarmiloj: / Niaj kajtoj." "So I ask all the children of the world to make many birds out of paper; to drive away the aerial war-machines let us cover the sky with peace-weapons; Our kites!"
Kajto does a lot of other stuff that sounds like kids's songs from my childhood. One fun one (maybe not as much for children?) is "Vin inviti volas mi," which is a him-and-her back-and-forth song about flirting one's way into somebody's arms, or whatever "interkaresi" means…. ahem.
OK, I mentioned Solotronik above as a kind of low-rent Kraftwerk, but some of his stuff is actually pretty engaging, in an off the wall kind of way. And he apparently performs live in headgear with bright green LEDs/lasers over his eyes, for that extra-robotic touch. Nice. Enjoy Kie Ne Plu.
* BTW, I just noticed that in the Apple Music album where I have listened to a little Pafklik, one of his songs is labeled as "Explicit." Good thing they labeled it! Wouldn't want the tender ears of young Esperantists to be corrupted by the filthy rhymes of Pafklik and Eterne Rima.