#2 Bad Music

March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Nothing quite says long-termer in the Timorese ex-pat community more than having rarely engaged with any contemporary music past 2002. Although this lack of interest in anything resembling musical innovation might seem strange to newly arrived ex-pats who are treated to extended sessions of Bryan Adams in ex-pat bars, this is actually performs a two fold purpose. It emphasizes how long “real” expats have lived in Timor without access to music that isn’t a best of bob Marley CD and it also re-enforces how committed and consumed by humanitarian development they are to pay attention to music that might be culturally shifting their communities back home in a life changing way.

Do not let these good times die

The exception to this is of course top 40 music, and usually anything involving pitch-shifting vocals. It is this type of music a long with some particularly terrible trance music that no self respecting Timorese expat would be without when planning their party.  The more vulgar, commercially bland or pitch-shifted the music, the more the expat feels comfortable playing it in front of their peers at a badly themed metiaut house party. Shakira’s world cup theme song carries a particularly large amount of currency, and so much that it will sometimes be played 4 or 5 times in a night complete with dancers mouthing the unintelligle chorus while swinging a half empty can of tiger on the dance floor. Also of course, no ex-pat party is complete without the blackeyed peas lyrical masterpiece “tonight’s going to be a good night” remixed in 5 different obnoxious versions that seem to do the unthinkable by making the original seem almost listenable and inoffensive.

Poetic Geniuses

Perhaps one of the great musical pillars in the expat community are the famed caz-bar “international” djs whose credentials as a dj are usually possessing an ipod of 1990s ministry of sound compilations , and reputation as international meaning they once visited another country other than Timor Leste. Never actually having played music in front of an audience who want to dance doesn’t seem to be a hinderance to Caz’s full moon parties. And what hangover after a night of bland Portuguese bland dance music can be complete without a breakfast soundtracked by Jason Mraz or 4-non blondes?


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