Helmer Aslaksen's Favorite Music

I have a very diverse taste in music, but my primary interests are world music, especially Latin, Scandinavian and Celtic, and punk rock.

Latin

DLG Swing On Gotcha

I love DLG! Get all their albums! And don't forget that they also have a great song on the sound track from the movie Dance With Me, which is not on their other albums! OK, the movie sucks, but there's a two minutes appearance by DLG! Just get the video and forward to 37 minutes and 37 seconds! Actually, you may want to stop a couple of minutes earlier to watch Vanessa Williams trying to teach Chayanne to break on the 2!

If you're looking for a good album to practice Salsa to, you may want to get either of the first two albums. Except for one Samba track on “Swing On”, most of the songs on those albums are great for Salsa. “Gotcha” is an awesome album, but there's a bit of Bachata and other funky stuff that is not really good for Salsa.

They now also have a Greatest Hits album! Too bad they've broken up!

Scandinavian

Garmarna

I love the Swedish band Garmarna! Check out their album Vengeance . You can download videos. I recommend Gamen! I went to Sweden for their concerts at Gröna Lund in May 2000 and at the Falun Folkmusik Festival in July 2001.

Annbjørg Lien

My Norwegian favorite is Annbjørg Lien. I think Prisme is her best album.

Celtic

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I love Brigid Boden. Her music is a great mix of Celtic, hip-hop and reggae.

Dublin to Dakar

Unfortunately, Brigid Boden's album is hard to get, even on the web, but she has one track (One glimpse of you) on the Putumayo album Dublin to Dakar.

The Pogues

I still remember the first time I heard the Pogues! I suddenly realized that I was not the only person who felt that punk rock and Irish folk made for a perfect match!

Black 47

How about some rebel rap? Or rebel hip-hop? Check out Black 47 and Seanchai!

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If you want something more traditional Irish, nothing beats the Bothy Band! They have had a huge influence on modern Irish folk music.

Lunasa

For years I wondered if there ever would be a band to match the Bothy Band. My prayers have been heard! Incidentally, Lunasa is named after an old Celtic festival that corresponds to the Chinese seasonal marker “Beginning of Autumn”, lìqiū (立秋), one of the 24 jíeqì's (节气) in the Chinese calendar. (If you can't read the Chinese characters or the pinyin, please go to my page on Reading and Writing Chinese Characters and Pinyin on the Web Using Unicode.) For more details, see my paper on the Chinese calendar!

Runrig

There's a lot of exciting music coming out of Scotland at the moment. I'm a big fan of Runrig. They are a great, Celtic-inspired rock band. Unfortunately, their albums are hard to find. I went to Scotland for Donnie's good-bye concert in 1997!

Shooglenifty

I also love Shooglenifty. They have a great live album. They played at Womad Singapore in 1998 and 2000.

Folk 'n' Hell

I'm a big fan of the Hemisphere series. The album Folk 'n' Hell is maybe the best in the whole series, and gives a great introduction to modern Scottish folk music. Check it out! One of my favorite albums! If you don't understand the meaning of the title, ask the Flying Scotsman on the cover to pronounce it for you!

Punk Rock

The Clash

I used to be a big fan of the Clash. Their albums still sound fresh after all these years!

DKM

I recently discovered Dropkick Murphys. Check out The Gauntlet! Just do it!


Helmer Aslaksen
Department of Mathematics
National University of Singapore
helmer.aslaksen@gmail.com

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