A dare to listen with your heart
across your own border

When we started Europopmusic in 2008 we had the dream that we would stimulate others into listening to music from the European mainland that they would otherwise be unaware off. With an average of 200 to 300 unique visitors a day I might say we at least succeeded in attracting people.

But writing and building Europopmusic also brought me something else I not anticipated at first. Mapping out the history of popular music in Europe and linking that to local social-cultural events gave me a deeper insight in Europe, its diversity and its people. By immersing and transposing myself into another european culture and history I found myself often having a greater understanding of the people, their culture and their country. It made me read the newspaper with a different mindset and visit countries with a different perspective then that of the average bystander.

Europopmusic went online at a time when anti-european sentiments grew. Eurosceptics sketched a situation in which they felt their local culture was threatened by other European cultures. As countermovement we found that the search for a pan-european heritage and identity also grew. In the year we started Martin Klimke and Joachim Scharloth released their research on ‘1968 in Europe’ which turned out to be a valuable resource for our featurette in finding the sources of European pop culture. That story-cycle also lead to one of the most inspiring moments for us when we came in contact with the POPID project in 2013. POPID explores the relationship between popular music and contemporary renderings of cultural identity and local and national cultural heritage in a pan-European context.

It seems there are more people searching for the binding factor. But aside these international stream of thought we also experienced that language is a major obstacle for people to listen beyond their borders. Even for those that aspire a pan-European ideal. We often found ourselves at concerts where people asked what we were doing there, and how we got to know this artist in the first place. And that while music is perhaps the most universal language to convey your feelings without the need of you necessarily understanding the words. From the moment, mid-nineties, when we let go of the idea that we can only appreciate music if we can understand the lyrics a new world opened up for us. By ignoring the fact that you can not understand the lyrics you let the music enter on a more subconscious layer. Like tuning in on another frequency. You will find that you know which emotion the performer wants to convey without you understanding what is sung. And often after translation it will prove that you were not that far off. You’ll find that you can relate to the artist without understanding him.

I was intriguid by popular cultural philosopher Roman Krznaric who argues in his book about ‘the empathic revolution’ that our brains are wired for social connection: and empathy is at the heart of who we are. Empathy, Krznaric argues, has the power to transform relationships, from the personal to the political, and create fundamental social change. In my mind, music can be a first step to achieve and exercise that goal. See it as an empathic lubricant. Also, of all the art forms, music is perhaps the one closest to being heard and used in everyday life. In a way, music made me more empathetic for fellow European countries by only listening and opening my ears. Krznaric lists some obstacles that make empathy difficult, one of them is distance. I think that language can be classified in that segment. People feel a distance because they literally can not understand the language. Nevertheless it is very well possible, even suprisingly easy, to experience the music on another level and thus emphasize with the artist if you step across that obstacle. I dare you to gap that distance. And who knows, maybe music can even bring us closer together.

On our website you’ll find a whole range of artists, background info and reviews in all kinds of genres, from easy listening to metal. I would like to challenge you to pick a random artist every week or month from a country other than your own and listen to a song or entire album. If you’d like to share what artist you've heard and what you thought you can always leave comments on our Facebook group, through Twitter (@europopmusic) or mail info@europopmusic.eu.

AS ALWAYS, ENJOY THE MUSIC

Double Bass (january 2015)

Best album

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Selection of
Classic albums

 

Czesław Niemen (Poland)
Enigmatic (1969)

Alice (Italy)
Exit (1998)
Phoenix (Romania)
Cantofabule (1975)
Silly (Germany)
Bataillon d'amour (1986)

Jana Kirschner (Slovakia)
Krajina rovina (2010)

Sezen Aksu (Turkey)
Adı bende saklı (1998)

Alaska y Dinarama (Spain)
Deseo Carnal (1984)

Lucio Battisti (Italy)
Il mio canto libero (1972)

Arsen Dedic (Croatia)
Čovjek kao ja (1969)
Haris Alexiou (Greece)
Di Efchon (1992)
Serge Gainsbourg (France)
Le histoire de melody nelson (1971)
Miguel Bosé (Spain)
Bajo el signo del Caín (1993)

Bijelo Dugme (Croatia/Serbia)
Bitanga i princeza (1979)

Anne Linnet (Denmark)
Jeg og du (2000)
Marek Grechuta (Poland)
Korowód
(1971)

Barış Manço (Turkey)
2023 (1975)

Eefje de Visser (Netherlands)
Nachtlicht (2016)
Pierre Rapsat (Belgium)
Je suis moi (1977)
   
Recently added artist biographies

António Variações
(Portugal)

Jorge Palma
(Portugal)
Julien Doré
(France)
Siiri Sisask
(Estonia)
Nina Nikolina
(Bulgaria)
Petra Marklund
(Sweden)
Maria Peszek
(Poland)
Mikael Simpson
(Denmark)

Background info on Europe and popmusic
Browse by country
The roots of pop: Folk music
The roots of pop: Art music
Political issues: the constant struggle of local culture against multinational power
In Memoriam: For those artists that passed away and should not be forgotten
Interview archive
Newsletter archive

 
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1968 in Europe: the origin of local pop & rockculture

In 1968 Europe was in turmoil with student protest, political violence and a inflamable social climate. It also turned out to be the birthyear of European pop and rockmusic with artsist no longer mimicing the English acts but started to create protest music in their own language and with their own cultural elements. Read our investigation on the origin of European pop/rock.

 

The History of Electronic music in Europe

From prog-rock to disco, the synthesizer plays an important part in the history of Europopmusic. Read the history of the use of electronic music and the use of the synthesizer within the European popscene, from the 1920's till now... Read full story.

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Altin Mikrofon, the cradle of Anatolian pop

The sixties were the defining era for European popmusic. One of the most emphasized events took place in Turkey were the Altin Mikrofon contest of 1965 caused an explosion in modern music. Read full story.

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Hip Hop and Rap in Europe:
The culture of the urban ghetto's

Hip Hop and Rap play such a basic part in Europopmusic of today that it’s hard to imagine that in the Eighties it was still considered an underground scene in most European countries. We take you back to the start. Read full story.

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State labels of Central Europe (1960 -1970)

There is a saying that every downside has an upside. If we look at Central Europe's music industry in the period under Soviet Rule we could apply this saying. Allergic to anything coming from the West (especially the USA) the local authorities created monopoly state companies for recording, pressing and releasing music. In tribute to those old state labels we present an overview. Read full story

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The forgotten Knokke - Heist songcontest

In the sixties Belgium decided to create a songcontest mainly focussing on young talent from the various European countries. It was European Cup for vocal recitation but became known as the Knokke - Heist songcontest. At the time it played an important part in giving a stage to the light-popular genre but today it's almost forgotten. In the article you'll find a history of the festival put together from the bits and pieces we were able to find. Read full story

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'Les grand orchestres' of the fifties

Nowadays it has become more of a rarity or special event when a pop-singer or rockartist is backed up by a big orchestra (think Robbie Williams or Michael Bubblé). But in the two decades just after WW2 it was the orchestral arrangers that stood at the basis of European popmusic. Read full story

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Europopmusic the online magazine and encylopedia about european pop and rock music