World Cup 2010 is HERE! Musings on music…
Woot woot World Cup is here! Unarguably THE most festive sports occasion, all countries (except the USA) will be madly cheering, jeering and drinking for the next several weeks. Although I’m glad to see that the US is starting to get with the program and is somewhat beginning to embrace the world religion that is football.
Make sure to tune in tonight on ABC at 8:00 ET for the FIFA World Cup Kickoff Celebration to see performances and highlights from the opening concert, which featured a bunch of awesome performances from musical artists around the world. I watched some clips online this morning and the vibe was simply amazing–the excitement of the crowd at this event is PALPABLE! I expect ABC to favor American performances, but hopefully the network will show plenty of performances from non-American musicians too.
On a related note, I spent lots of time listening to and analyzing the different World Cup anthems, official and unofficial. There’s been controversy about the fact that Shakira’s song, “Waka Waka” was chosen to be the official anthem as opposed to a song by a local artist. Her song is awesome and lots of fun, but I do feel that this event would have been a golden opportunity to showcase an African musician. This is Africa’s very first time hosting an event of this magnitude, and we sense that the whole continent is spiritually coming together for this event, so why overlook masterful musicians from the host country itself, as well as the plethora of musicians from the other 50+ African countries for that matter, and go with one of Sony’s already-best-known singers? Besides, “Waka Waka” borrows very heavily from an old Cameroonian song, “Zangalewa,” that was popular all over Africa during the 1980s. Yes, Shakira is backed by popular South African group Freshlyground, but there are many well known African singers who are capable of holding their own on a song. And yes, I’m aware that there’s no rule about the official song having to come from the host country, but that’s not my point. My point is that this is the FIRST time that Africa is hosting an event like this. South Africa is standing on the world stage trailblazing for the entire African continent right now, so I think that symbolically in a land that has given so much music to the world, handing off the official song to a non-African singer was a poor choice.
Anywho, that’s all I have to say about that. I’ll still gladly buy Shakira’s song along with the others. Other strong contenders for the official anthem included Senegalese-American singer Akon’s “Oh Africa“–a great song. My personal favorite was Somalian-born singer K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag,” which had long been rumored to be the official anthem. For me, his song screams serious anthem while Shakira’s song is a bit trite in comparison. Eventually these songs got picked up as Pepsi and Coca Cola’s official World Cup songs, respectively. All the anthems have fabulous videos and commercials attached to them, like this ad from PEPSI featuring Akon’s song.
So I hope you’ll all be watching. I’ll definitely be heading to Fritz & Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables at least once to take in the football madness, and recommend this fabulous football-worshipping place to anyone in the Miami area. Good food, good beer, great atmosphere.
Any thoughts and predictions on World Cup 2010 so far? Please share!