The Sound of Music

I LOVE music.  Love, love, love.  Everything that goes through my head is accompanied by a song of some kind.  It’s like the soundtrack to life and a song can COMPLETELY change my mood.  Like last night.  I had a really shit week at work this week.  I mean really shit.  I even left work in tears one evening.  So I was going to come home and spend my Friday night getting in an early one to start the weekend right.  But I felt like crap.  I was tired, too tired to cook and definitely too tired to resist picking up a bottle of wine (ok, maybe it was two bottles….)

Bottle shopping done, I flicked on my iPad to listen to some new tunes I had downloaded onto my iPod over the weekend and hit play.  What the actual hell?  This shit was awesome!!!  Really awesome.  I mean, it had to be to actually pull me out of the mood I was in.

I got home, threw myself on the couch and flicked the bluetooth button on my Bose speakers to stream the incredible sounds from my iPod through to the rest of the house.  Instantly my bad mood did a backflip and I felt much, much better.  What was so good about them?  I mean, it’s not like I could understand any of the lyrics.

So what were these mystical tunes that turned my week around?  These lyrics I couldn’t understand?  The awesomeness that is Polish hip-hop.

Yep, Polish.  You might think that’s taking my destination research a little far, but I am Polish and my upcoming visit to Poland spurred me on to learn a bit more about the music scene.  So who have I been listening to?  Heavy bass, sophisticated, sexy beats –  little moody (but I love that) and some good looking Polish guys.  What’s not to like?  It’s based on the Toronto sound (think Drake).  Ok, there’s still the hot chicks, lavish lifestyle shots and fancy cars (though it’s Poland remember, so it’s old school beemers and sports cars direct from the 1980’s) but there’s a sensitivity to these tunes that I haven’t heard before.  Warsaw’s history feels like its written all over its face.

Let me introduce you to Taco Hemingway, Quebonafide, PlanBe and a few of the guys….

Taco – great hair, which carries on from his head down to his eyebrows and moustache.  Suave.  Excellent rapper, and you’ll always remember his voice.  Love 6zer where he grooves away with whisky in hand, without seemingly losing a drop.  This was the first song of his I heard and I loved it straight away simply because it featured my favourite Polish words “bardzo prosze”.

Quebonafide – ok’s, he’s diff.  Coloured hair, gold grillz, tatts galore (neck, fingers, eyelids, inside mouth), pokes his tongue out every five minutes, maniacal glint in his eye, but if you look through all that…. Que’s songs are madness, especially his travel rap stuff.  Beautiful clips from his world travels mixed with social comment.  He does loads of collabs, so check out his stuff with Planbe and Taco (at least).

Planbe – my favourite (such a lovely face, with quite possibly the nicest nose I’ve ever seen on a man).  I’m obsessed with the way his hands move when he raps.  His music is tinged with a touch of sadness and longing and he has probably the best voice of all the Polish rappers I’ve heard so far.  Plus he comes from a part of Poland not too far away from where my step-grandfather lived.  If I can’t catch a Planbe gig while I’m in Poland, I’ll die….

Bedoes – ok, he doesn’t have the smooth, cool raptones of the others, but there’s something quirky about him.  Boy can he roll his tongue.

Otsochodzi – he’s like a rich schoolboy, chillin in his dad’s mansion, with never a care in life.  You know the type, looks like Sam Prince from Made in Chelsea, best friends with everyone (before the whole Tiff Watson episode obvs).  I don’t actually know any of this about him, it’s the vibe I get.  He has an interesting rap style, full of sounds and cheek rather than vocal substance, but that makes his stuff catchy and playful.  Whimsical even  #Facepalm.

Thank god for Youtube, cause I’d currently be racking up one hell of a bill on downloading all this music (not that I won’t be doing that before I get to Poland, but I am TRYING to save right now….)

It got me thinking how amazing it is, that no matter the language, music is one of those things that really has no barriers.  It doesn’t matter that you don’t understand the lyrics, it’s the emotion it stirs up inside you, the way it makes you feel and groove.  The way it can change your mood in an instant.  These artists have reeled me right in and I’m loving exploring all their tunes.  Needless to say, it ended up being a long night last night, but in a really awesome way.

As I mentioned, these guys do loads of collabs, so it makes it really easy to get caught in Polish hiphop Youtube spirals all night long, checking out new artists.

Move over Kpop, there’s some new kids in town….

Around the World in Film

There’s nothing like getting a glimpse into the destination you are about to visit like watching a movie about it on the big screen.  The colours, the sounds, the smells – all seem to pop out right at you and suck you in.  You can almost imagine yourself there – perhaps minus the fight scene or motorcycle chase!

So here’s a few great films that give you a great glimpse into the location in which they were set.  Enjoy!

The Beach

Leonardo di Caprio’s master piece The Beach is set on Koh Phi Phi in Thailand.  You’ve probably seen this one – most people have.  It’s the story of a bunch of backpackers who have one by one found an island Thailand and made it their own secret community.  Richard stumbles across it after finding a map from his dorm room mate.  There’s death, drugs and cheating along with some beautiful location shots that make you just want to dive right into that crystal clear water.

Lost in Translation

A somewhat odd movie starring Bill Murray.  I’m not even sure what it’s about.  But it does show you what a great view you get if you dine at the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt, which I did after seeing this!

Ramen Girl

Another one set in Tokyo, Brittany Murphy starred in this comedy about a young American girl who travels to Japan to be with her boyfriend only to find herself dumped.  But no worries, she finds solace in learning how to make Ramen ‘with spirit’.  Full of tradition and a really great glimpse into the Japanese psyche.  Cute.

Tanamera – Lion of Singapore

Now this one I have not actually seen in film because I haven’t been able to track down a copy – even though it was an Australian mini series – but I did read the book (named Tana Mera) and with my love of Singapore, it had me hooked.  I could see all the locations in the book, right in my mind because some of them are still even there and I’ve visited them.  Set in Singapore during the turbulent years of the second world war, it tells the story of two families and the forbidden love between their two children.

If the book can paint such a vivid picture, I imagine the movie did the location justice according to the period of time, although you have to imagine Singapore back in the day without all those skyscrapers!

The Tourist

This thriller of a movie sees Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp tearing up the waterways of Venice whilst dodging bullets, leaping from buildings and damaging speed boats.  But always in the background are the magnificent buildings and lovely canals that Venice is famous for.  Definitely worth a watch – even if it’s only for a glimpse of Johnny.

Amelie

OK it’s a bit of a quirky one this, not to mention you’ll need to read subtitles (unless you are a master of the French language), but you get a lovely feel for the quaint neighbourhood that is Montmartre in the northern part of Paris city and that’s the whole point.

Singles

Set in Seattle on the west coast of the good ole US of A, Singles is probably one for a particular audience, but given my love of all things grunge at the time of it’s release and featuring cameos by artists such as Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder, it couldn’t have held more intrigue for me.

It’s the story of a group of 20 somethings and how they deal with the relationships in their lives.  It’s got great music and a bit of subtle humour in it and apart from the cameos, stars Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda and Matt Dillon to name a few.

Even better – it you make it to Seattle, make sure you look up Charity of Stalking Seattle and take one of her tours where she can show you some of the locations from the movie as well as many grunge era hot spots.

Under the Tuscan Sun

After Frances finds out her husband has been cheating on her, friends surprise her with a trip to Italy.  She ends up finding a property in Tuscany that grabs her heart and she buys it on a whim.  There’s lots of hard work along the way to get the home up to scratch and plenty of drama in between.  Lots of golden sunsets and rural settings.

Dilwale

A great movie – as all Shah Rukh Khan movies are – this one is set in a couple of locations, Sofia in Bulgaria and Goa, India.  As I had visited Sofia just last year it was a nice memory to see it again so soon.  The shots in Goa are beautiful too and you can just imagine the colours and scents jumping out of the movie screen at you, right before Shah Rukh Khan starts another fight.  It’s a bit of a chuckle too.

Chennai Express

Filmed in many locations around India, Chennai Express is one of those films that makes you want to book a flight right away.  It’s a love story at heart, mixed with plenty of singing and dancing, but also with a bit of action thrown in.  There’s so much going on in these Bollywood movies that they are never boring – even if they are three hours long!

And of course, it’s another Shah Rukh Khan movie.

Sex and the City

Any self respecting gal will know that you only have to watch one episode of the TV series to get the buzz of New York City in your veins, so why not watch the movie as well for that big screen feeling.  Once you get to New York, you’ll be surrounded by the same awesome places Carrie and the girls visited and you’ll understand just why they love it so much!

Happy travels!

Music to my Ears

Living in Perth, Western Australia, it’s always a bug bear of ours that no bands ever come to Perth.  It’s too far away from the more exciting Eastern States and most bands miss us out.  And given it’s more expensive for us in Perth to travel to the eastern states of Australia than it is to a lot of parts of the world, but in particular Asia, it’s not like it’s really an option to just jump on a plane to go to the gig.  It’s simply out of our league.  So unless you are a HUGE fan, you just deal with it and miss out.

Therefore, it’s in our opinion that everywhere else in the world has far better chance to see awesome bands than we do.  So it’s only natural that when you travel to other parts of the world you expect that there will be at least one awesome gig you could attend anywhere in the world at any given time.

That’s not been my experience though.  OK I know my travel has been only throughout Asia at this time, but still there are Asian bands and artists I love too (c’mon – y’all know what a fan of PopAsia I am!!!)  that I never manage to find playing a gig when I’m in town (in particular Headphones President or Shiina Ringo from Japan!).  And as a diehard music fan, it’s really disappointing!  Of all the travels I’ve undertaken there’s only ever been one gig that I’ve wanted to attend – and let me say it was definitely an ABSOLUTELY AWESOME one if that was to be the only overseas gig I ever see in my life – Motley Crue at Fort Canning in Singapore (insert funny/embarrassing story – this was an amazing gig and I was soooo excited to see Motley Crue, and more specifically at the prospect of seeing Nikki Sixx in the flesh, that I totally forgot I was in meltingly humid Singapore while getting ready, with a full face of makeup, just like I would have done if I was at home.  Long story short, on the train on the way back to my hotel after the gig, I was wondering why everyone was staring at me – thinking it was simply because I was the only white girl on the train at this time of night, I shrugged it off.  Until I returned to my hotel and the staff were extra smiley as well.  Just my night?  No, when I got in the lift it was quite clear they had all been staring at me because after a night of moshing to the Crue, all my makeup had run down my face! Bahahahha…….anyway…)

This is the only gig I have managed to catch overseas.  So with my upcoming trip, which includes London and the US – surely there’s going to be a major gig that I’ll be incredibly excited about getting tix to…..or will there?  I haven’t found anything yet….Seattle I’m holding out soooo much hope for you…..