I’m going to try my hand at a music post. I’ve been making a few weird mixes from time to time, so here’s one of them.
The mix is called Melancholia, and it’s a collection of songs that seem to suggest melancholia to me. That is to say, it’s not just a collection of sad songs, but something more…elusive.
The ‘cover image’ is from Giornale Nuovo, from this post entitled Melancolies, specifically.

Here’s the track list and some comments
1. Deep Lake by Bruce Cockburn. Bruce Cockburn is a Canadian singer songwriter, but I hardly know anything about him. I got this song off Phoenix, an American student who was in Israel at the same time I was. She was playing this CD in her caravan (a demountable house really) and I liked the music. This song impressed me with its clear sparse sound.
2. Deportation/Iguazu from the Babel movie soundtrack. The movie is drenched with melancholia and this song in particular ran through the film like a thread. It’s an instrumental piece that somehow invokes both deserts as well as the loneliness of a big city at the same time
3. Through the mist of your eyes by Yair Dalal from the BBC World Music Awards CD.
4. Lalo Lalo by Ustad Mahwash and Ensemble Kaboul. This song is also from the BBC World Music Awards CD. I hesitate before putting this song here, since the tempo is almost joyful, but there’s also a lot of melancholia suffused through, even though I have no idea what the song is about.
5. La Soledad by Pink Martini. The best thing about Pink Martini is that once you hear it, you cannot stop feeling happy that you know that they exist. They sing in a multitude of languages, and this one is from their first album ‘Sympathique’. I still cannot believe that this group came out of the US.
6. A Andorinha Da Primavera by Madredeus. I first heard of Madredeus through a comment on Metafilter, and since I was already fond of Fado at the time, I checked out their website, and was immediately blown away. Madredeus songs demand attention, and darkness, and silence mediated by wine and cigarettes.
7. Araruna by Marlui Miranda. There is a long story behind this song, but it suffices to say that the album it’s from- Putumayo’s Native American Odyssey– was the one that got me listening to ‘world’ music.
8. Porale Ponuthaye by A.R.Rahman. I’m not a fan of Indian movies, and even less a fan of the music contained in them, but this song is so haunting that I was completely blown away.
9. Ambassel by Getachew Mekurya. This is from the Ethiopiques collection, and I found it posted on an internet forum.
10. Guitar and Violin by Arik Einstein & Shalom Chanoch. Shalom Chanoch was one of the first Israeli musicians I really liked and I even went to a quaint little concert in a Kibbutz. He sang this song, but it was a very old hit for him, and he actually forgot the lyrics midway and had to be reminded by the audience singing along.
11. Kikuchiyo to Mohshimasu by Pink Martini. Yes, I really like Pink Martini. This one is in Japanese?
12. Suzanne by Leonard Cohen. Cohen needs no introduction I presume. It’s the ‘tea and oranges from china’ line that always gets me, for some reason.
13. Nostalgia by Tezeta. This is another song from the Ethiopiques collection.

So there you go. A fine set of melancholic songs. The only thing missing is some Irish music.

And finally. Here’s a zip file with the tracks in mp3 format.


12 thoughts on “Melancholia

  1. Groovy list. Pink Martini is one of my favourite bands. I discovered that first album as it was recommended by a friend while down in Portland, OR where the band comes from. I’ve seen them here in Vancouver, BC at the local jazz festival last year. Very diverse, emotive and a great live band.:)

  2. Hi Dinesh, I was led to your website via the comment you left on my blog (thanks!). I like melancholy so I tried to download your file but it was painfully slow. Must be my Internet connection.

    Have you listened to Misia? She’s my favourite fado singer.

  3. The file is pretty large: it’s around 70mb. So I guess it would take ages to download 🙂 I haven’t heard (of) Misia, but I’ll give it a go. Thanks!

  4. Hi, I’d lost sight of you – glad to see you again. I’m listening to melancholia now, and it’s wonderful (suzanne and poraale were already among my favourites) — but very very large – please make another (different) one soon, and split it into two parts. 🙂

  5. He put his eye to the hole. He just managed to spy some people sitting in deckchairs chanting, before a finger came out of nowhere and poked him in the eye. As he staggered back, the people started chanting, “Fourteen, fourteen, fourteen…”

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