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International Musicians You Should Know

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SCU chapter.

I was lucky enough to do some traveling over winter break and alongside my full camera roll and dozens of memories, one of my favorite parts of coming home is reminiscing about all the great languages I’ve heard. Of course, winter vacation was a while ago and I can’t always have the luxury of travel, so to keep my memories alive I’ve been listening to international music that’s both surprised and amazed me.

Here’s a list of the top few I keep coming back to that can spice up your playlist.

  1. Stromae

If you’re looking for some upbeat hip-hop dance music, this Belgian artist is perfect for you. Notable songs include Alors on Danse and Papaoutai. Just as vibrant as his music are the videos that accompany them. His fame spans Europe and he was recognized by personalities like Nicolas Sarkozy, past president of France.

  1. Fard

Fard was a rapper I originally stumbled upon as a joke—until I realized his rap was some of the best I’ve heard. This German rapper has a huge global following, for good reason. Though I can’t understand any of the words, songs like Reich und Schon are constantly on my playlist

  1. Michael Kiwanuka

Okay, I recognize this might be kind of a cheat because he sings in English, but Kiwanuka is British, which is international, right? Though folk/soul music isn’t generally my thing, songs like Love & Hate and Black Man in a White World are both thought provoking and catchy. His voice and peaceful style are great for easy listening.

  1. Behzad Leito

This rapper has been a favorite for years. Leito is an Iranian rapper and hip-hop artist who first caught my ear in Tehran. He takes inspiration from American artists like Drake.  Favorite songs include Doostam Hastam and Farda.

  1. Mashrou’ Leila

This alternative rock band rose out of the underground music scene in Beirut, Lebanon. They’re famous for their bold statements supporting the LGBTQ community and controversial satirical lyrics. The band often includes beautiful violin and piano riffs in their songs. Almost all the songs off of their album Raasuk   and Ibn el Leil are spectacular—especially Lil Watan and Tayf.

  1. Jonsi

Jonsi is an Icelandic artist known for out-of the box sounds. He’s been featured in soundtracks for large movies and videogames like How to Train Your Dragon, We Bought a Zoo, and FIFA 11.

Great music comes from tons of different places, so feel free to add some of these to your spring playlist!

Photos courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo and Mark Solarski

Bethool is in her second year studying Biochemistry and Philosophy. She loves reading all kinds of books, photography, exploring the great outdoors, and playing music.
Laurel Fisher is a senior at Santa Clara University. She is double majoring in math and French. She loves traveling, scrapbooking, and anything to do with France. In her free time, she loves taking photos of just about anything, watching Netflix, eating delicious food, going to the gym, and spending time with her friends.