Saturday, April 20, 2013

Media Intl

You can never predict the affect that art, religion, philosophy, music, entertainment, or fashion from one country can have on another.  What's considered attractive, interesting, or great within a given country sometimes doesn't translate past its own borders.  There are too many factors involved to easily explain why this is the case.  My guess is that whatever the medium, simplicity, scale of broadcast, and a sense of familiarity are major factors involved with whether or not media is picked up internationally.  

In Ethiopia, many foreign movies and songs get airtime but the ones that stuck out the most for me were the unexpected.  Hearing Michael Jackon's 'Thriller', or Celine Dion's tracks from Titanic, as a counter example, was not surprising.  Below are a few performers that surprised me.  How did they get here?  Why did they stay?

Don Williams - Surprisingly, country music gets a lot of love over here. Don Williams is one artist of several country music stars that get a lot of play and singalongs. I like Don Williams and he actually sounds great with an Ethiopian backdrop. Many rural towns (especially around the national parks) offer a decent setting for the thoughts and emotions his music evokes.

Leo Sayer - 'I love you more than I can say' sometimes plays on ETV, the most available station (and probably the most watched) in Ethiopia and can occasionally be heard in public buses, the streets of Addis Ababa, and on the radio.  It doesn't play as much as Celine Dion but I've heard this song just about everywhere.

Jean Claude Van Damme - Why him?  There are so many more action stars in this world that perform better.  Perhaps it's the simple, easy to follow plot that his movies usually follow.  The scene above was taken from the movie, The Inferno.  I think this clip typifies most Van Damme fight scenes: Van Damme encounters a psychotic villain and has to fight.  Although in better shape and seemingly much more coordinated than his enemy, Van Damme's role is to get roughed up by this guy until he looks like he wants to give up, fall asleep, or roll over and die.  This period of pathetic loosing lasts a minute or two and then he gathers his strength, motivation, or a lucky break somehow (in this clip a jet provides all three) to make a come back, put his enemy in submission, and even offer a little mercy.  The fallen psycho takes advantage of the mercy granted him (like in this scene), abuses it, and is killed as a result of mishandling of it.

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