Song Analysis

  • Topic: Song Analysis
  • Style: MLA
  • Number of pages: 3 pages/double spaced (825 words)
  • PowerPoint slides: 0
  • Number of source/references: 1

Order instructions:We’ve explored a variety of cultural soundscapes found throughout the world. In this assignment, you are to examine a song from one of the soundscapes we’ve discussed (Africa, Middle East, India, or Europe) and describe its relationship to the broader cultural context. What does the song reveal about culture? How does it reflect the artist’s world view? How do its musical elements characterize a distinctive musical style? I have provided a list of musical examples from which you are to choose one. Please select one from the list. You are required to provide background on the artist and song style, provide an analysis of the song’s musical elements, and explore the song/style’s relationship to culture. Please include a bibliography at the end that is seperate

Here are the songs you can choose from (Choose whatever you want):


Mbalax (Senegal)
“Without a Smile” (1994) by Youssou N’Dour. The Guide (Wommat). Sony/Columbia Records 4765082.

From folk to popular
The “Wimoweh” song. Compare the following original and two later versions of a popular hit:
1. “Mbube” (1939) written and recorded by Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds. citation: Soloman Linda and the Evening Birds. 1939. “Mbube.” Ngi Hambile. Gallotone GB 829.
2. “Wimoweh” (1955) recorded by the Weavers at Carnegie Hall, NYC. The Weavers at Carnegie Hall. Vanguard Records.
3. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (Wimoweh) recorded 1961 by The Tokens. The Lion Sleeps Tonight. RCA LPM 2514.

Fela Kuti
“Lady” (1972) by Fela Kuti. The Best Best of Fela Kuti (2000). MCA 314 543 197-2.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo (with Paul Simon)
“Homeless” (1986) by Paul Simon. Graceland. Warner Bros. 7599254472.

Shona (Mbira)
“Chaminuka We.” 2002 [1977]. recorded by Hakurotwi Mude. Zimbabwe: Shona Mbira Music. Nonesuch Explorer Series 79710-2.


“Soundz from the Des” (2002) recorded by Balbir Bittu. Bangra Beatz…A Naxos Word Collection. Naxos of North America 7601202.

“Didi Tera Devar Deewana” from the Indian film Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994). Recorded by Lata Mangeshkar and S.P. Balabhramaniam. The Rough Guide to Bollywood. RGNET 1074.

Vedic Chant (and) Ravi Shankar
“Mangalam” (1997). Ravi Shankar: Chants of India, produced by George Harrison. Angel Records 7243 8 55948 2-3.

The Beatles
“Within You, Without You” (1967) by the Beatles. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. EMI/Parlophone Records 46442.

Middle East


“Meli Meli” (What’s Happening to Me) recorded 1999 by Cheb Mami. Meli Meli. Virgin Records France ARK 21.


“il-Kalam Da Kabir.” recorded 2002 by Hakim. Lyrics composed by ‘Abd al­Mun’im Taha; music composed by Ahmad Shahin; music arranged by Hamid ish-Sha’ri.


“Sallimleh Alayh” (1999) by Fairouz. Mish Kayan Hayak T’Koun. EMI Music Arabia 0946 3 10939 2 0.

“Oglan Boyun” (1991) recorded by Omar Faruk Tekbilek. Fire Dance. Turkish traditional.

Folk Music
“Linda Linda” (from Lebanon). Sirocco, Vol. II. (1998) by Carbon Records SRC-002CD.

“Bir Demet Jasemen” (A Bouquet of Jasmine) (Turkish folk) by Turku. 1999. Alleys of Istanbul. Hittite Sun Records HSCD 1101.

“Simarik” (1999) by Tarkan. Tarkan. Istanbul Plak 547 513-2.

Turkish Hip-Hop
Ceza: VIDEO: “Holocaust” from the DVD Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005)

Latin America

Commercial huayno

“Palomitay” (3:52). Shabu, y Punto, track. #2:. An example of a commercial form of the huayno, an Andean folk music.

Bossa nova

“Garŏta de Ipanema” (The Girl from Ipanema) by Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim, and Stan Getz.1964. Getz/Gilberto, track #1.


“Forro em Monteiro” by Arlindo dos Oito Baixos. 2001. Live field recording by John Murphy at the home of Arlindo dos Oito Baixos. Music in Brazil (Oxford University Press, 2007), accompanying compact disc, track #14.

Latin Jazz

“Oye Como Va” (Look How She Walks) (1970) by Carlos Santana on the album Abraxas.


“Celia y Tito.” Celia Cruz and Friends: A Night of Salsa (2000), track #3.


“Alto Songo.” Afro-Cuban Allstars ( Ruben Gonzalez, Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez, Ibrahim Ferrer, Raul Planas, Pio Leyva, Manuel “Puntillita” Licea, Yanko Pisaco), A Toda Cuba le Gusta (1997), track #2.



1. VIDEO: “Der Kommissar” (1981) by Falco. Einzelhaft (1982).

2. “Nur Getraeumt” (1982) by Nena. Nena (1983). Columbia-Europe 32788.

German Rap

1. VIDEO: “Vier Gewinnt” (1992) by Die fantastischen Vier. Vier gewinnt. Columbia-Europe 472263-2.

2. VIDEO: “Hoha, Schnella, Weita” (1996) recorded by Das Roedelheim Hartreim Projekt. Zurueck nach Roedelheim (Back to Roedelheim). Sony Music.


1. VIDEO: “Guildo hat euch Lieb” (1998) by Guildo Horn & Die Orthopaedischen Struempfe. Spin Records 7243 8 85346 2 8, CD single.

2. “Dein Schoenstes Geschenk” recorded 1969 by Roy Black. Roy Black: Meine grossen Erfolge, 1998. Universal/Polydor 833 632-2, compact disc.

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