Musical Vocab...or, listen to something different...

Once in a while, customers come in to the shop wanting me to give them my opinion on their rapping or production. I'm very honest with them...sometimes brutally honest.

Usually, the first question I ask them, even before listening to anything, is what are their influences? know...who do you listen to? Invariably (that means most of the time for the SC grads), they only listen to the genre they are producing...Hip-Hop heads only listen to Hip-Hop, House heads only to house, Jungle heads only to Jungle,...etc.

I tell most of them they are limiting there musical vocabulary, that they are only drawing from a limited pool of sounds(samples), melodies, and beats. After listening to their tracks I try to give them an example of what I mean but usually fall short in explaining myself.

The following videos exemplify what I mean.

The first is Malcolm McLaren's "Madame Butterfly". It's a remake of a classic Puccini aria (once again, that means female solo for the SC grads) from Madame Butterfly. Malcolm McLaren, for you hip hop heads, is known for producing "buffalo gals" as well as producing/managing the punk group the Sex Pistols. "Buffalo gals" itself draws from American square dancing...but that's a different story.

The second is one of my favorite renditions (that means performances) of the Puccini aria.

At a minimum check out the first video, there is a lot of eye candy!!!

As an aside, when I first heard and saw the Malcolm Mclaren Version I was amazed...jaw dropping amazed. So much so, that I even went to the L.A. Opera to see the live performance of Madame Butterly!! And now, I go whenever they are performing this specific opera!!!


Malcolm McLaren "Madame Butterfly"

Puccini "Madame Butterfly" as performed by Ying Huang

In case your wondering, the spoken/rapped lyrics in Malcolm's version is pretty close to the story line of the opera and song...what can you say...Ex-pat American men always screwing around with the local women and leaving little cio cio san's (pronounced CHO CHO SAN for the SC grads) everywhere.

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