Looking for non-English songs (protest or uplifting) for a picnic
July 10, 2018 9:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm helping to organize a community picnic for my local Indivisible group. I'm building a Spotify playlist of songs that are social/activist/protest-themed or uplifting/summer-themed. I'd like to add more non-English songs. Do you have suggestions for Native/Indigenous, Spanish, Arabic (and other languages from Muslim majority countries), or other non-English language songs that fit the above themes? Right now for non-English songs I have: Soy Yo, Danza Kuduro, Bailando, and Mi Gente -- so there's clearly a gap in my playlist building.
posted by orbit-3 to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Somos Sur (lyrics, translated)
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:29 PM on July 10, 2018

Nena - 99 Luftballons
posted by SisterHavana at 11:43 PM on July 10, 2018

The Italian anti-fascist Bella Ciao.
posted by Catseye at 12:07 AM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Many songs by Manu Chao (just about anything from the Esperanza album for starters) and Gogol Bordello (Immigrant Punk for instance).
posted by Helga-woo at 1:01 AM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite non-English singers is Shakila, who is from Iran. I honestly don't know what the lyrics are about, so I can't certify the themes, but I find them joyful. Two to start:

Shakila - Shahe Mani
Shakila - Keras Koudari

You can find more by searching her name.
posted by bertran at 1:17 AM on July 11, 2018

Jacek Kaczmarski - Mury.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:26 AM on July 11, 2018

In Dutch:
Bots - Zeven dagen lang (Seven days long)
Ramses Shaffy - Zing, vecht, huil, bid, lach, werk en bewonder (Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire)
Ramses Shaffy - We Zullen Doorgaan (We will keep going)
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:29 AM on July 11, 2018

A Tribe Called Red for Native American protest music.
posted by Candleman at 6:19 AM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Facebook group Songs of the New Arab Revolutions is a very active forum for these kinds of songs.
posted by mykescipark at 6:45 AM on July 11, 2018

This is one of the defining songs of the Pakistani feminist movement : Darya ki qasam:
I swear by the river, I swear by the waves, this warp and weft shall change...
posted by bardophile at 7:06 AM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird have some great Yiddish and Yiddish/English protest songs.
posted by northernish at 9:02 AM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony
posted by sandiegosbestwindow at 9:57 AM on July 11, 2018

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido - Quilapayún 1973 - a recent version: RUSSKAJA (2015); Spotify has several versions available.
(Lyrics: English and Spanish)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2018

Turkish versions of a couple of classics: Haydi Barikata (A las Barricadas) by Bandista, and Çav Bella (Bella Ciao) by Grup Yorum. Both of those bands have a lot of other lefty/protest songs. Also, a song that came out of the Gezi Park protests, Tencere Tava Havası, by folk collective Kardeş Türküler--the title and percussion (pots and pans) is a reference to the protest tactic of banging kitchenware, and a response to a comment then-PM Erdoğan made disparaging that practice.
posted by karayel at 4:01 PM on July 11, 2018

Oh and from Pakistan, the leftist band Laal has some great works of political poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Habib Jalib set to music, like Umeed e-Sahar and Mainay Uss Se Ye Kaha, as well as a number of original songs. There are also many wonderful renditions of Faiz's anthem Hum Dekhenge; Iqbal Bano's is probably the most famous.

Also you might want to add some of the many, many amazing South African freedom songs to your list: the soundtrack to the documentary Amandla is a good shortcut/overview, and Miriam Makeba's recording of Naants' Indod'Emnyama Verwoerd is a banger.
posted by karayel at 4:16 PM on July 11, 2018

Response by poster: These are all great suggestions! I thank you so much for what is now surely an awesome playlist.
posted by orbit-3 at 8:54 PM on July 11, 2018

Tribe Called Red (already mentioned above, but specifically): Sisters
posted by stinker at 6:22 AM on July 12, 2018

orbit-3, do you have this playlist online anywhere?
posted by aniola at 1:01 PM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

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