We have mentioned how everything in Burma seems to be behind 100 years but one thing that only goes back to the late 80’s - the music!!! During our 12 days we learned that rock ballads are just about as prevalent as the temples, stupas and smiles in Burma. So if you’ve been missing your daily dose of heart wrenching smaltz, pop on a Chicago album and join me in belting out the classics.
“It’s Your Love…..it does something to me, sends a shock right through me. ….Can’t get enough”.
At every tea house, restaurant, hotel lobby and streaming from open windows we heard them. Covered in English by some unknown band or sang with Burmese words you would see shop keepers humming and often hear a rousing karaoke version from private apartment blocks. Kenzo our horse cart driver would hum them as he trotted us off to 11th century temples. I even joined in to my favourite Tim McGraw anthem (above - ok maybe some included late 90s) and of course plenty of Chicago, Boston, Scorpions and Queen had our vocal chords vibrating.
In addition to providing listening enjoyment, we would find ourselves stopping in the middle of the street wracking our brains to figure out the original song name of what we were hearing. Just a few of the many we heard:
“Who wants to Live Forever” - Queen (sung in Burmese)
“You say it Best —When you say nothing at All” –??
“Winds of Change” - Scorpions
“Hold me now - It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry” - ?? (EVERY Burmese person knows this song)
“I’m the one who Wants to be with You” - Mr Big
Burmese TV provided additional musical escapes and lessons in culture with full concerts of Bonnie Taylor‘s greatest hits by a Burmese woman dressed like Sheena Easton. All concerts had sponsor’s names running at the bottom in a continual streaming add not to mention government propaganda broadcast at varying intervals.
However, the belly laughing best had to be watching old Michael Jackson and Beyonce videos dubbed over with Indian music. And yes, it actually works in some strange way. Who would have thought Michael Jackson could get weirder J
So if you don’t think those bands get enough air play these days, jump on a plane to Burma and you’ll be singing along in no time.