Multicultural Sounds: The Do – Tightrope (Janelle Monae Cover), BRAINSTORM (Mdou Moctar Covers)

Multicultural Sounds travels the world for contemporary reinventions of cultural staples.


The Dø – “Tightrope” (Janelle Monaé Cover)

Janelle Monaé is one charming lady, and her music for “Tightrope” is the type of spectacle one can watch and re-watch and hardly tire of. French-Finnish duo The Dø have decided to take a stab at slowing down the R&B dance track and adding a sultry lethargic bluesyness to it. While The Dø’s version certainly lacks the immediacy of Monaé’s, there are times when one desires to chill rather than bust ass, and their cover is a suitable go-to for such times.

BRAINSTORM – Mdou Moctar Covers (Music From Saharan Cellphones)

Portland pop band BRAINSTORM have recently covered two tracks from Nigerian musician Mdou Moctar. To ensure as close of a sonic match as possible, drummer and vocalist Adam Baz romanized the original lyrics and new English-language lyrics were created with the intention of maintaining the original flow and cadence of the song.

Moctar’s songs were first brought to the band’s attention by Sahel Sounds, a blog that releases West African music captured via cellphone SIM cards. This form of data transfer is one of the most popular and economically-sound options in an area where access to computers is limited. Below, you can listen to both BRAINSTORM’s covers and Moctar’s originals.

Written by
Vivian Hua 華婷婷

Vivian Hua 華婷婷 is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer. As the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle and Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication, REDEFINE, much of her work unifies her metaphysical interests with her belief that art can positively transform the self and society. She regularly shares human-centered stories through her storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE! In 2020, she will [hopefully] begin production on a comedic Asian-American series entitled Reckless Spirits.

Ask Vivian about MARSHMALLOWS, cuz she's gross... and being tips for being frugal while nomading!

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Written by Vivian Hua 華婷婷
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