For the last two weeks, I've had a lot of fun listening to the first CD, Mingalarpar from the first "girl group" to break onto the newly opened music scene in Myanmar (also known as "Burma"): The Me N Ma Girls. The CD can be ordered from Amazon.com for under $10 and delivery is very quick.
You can read the New York Times article (which also appeared in the International Herald Tribune) for background on the group and the challenges faced by its young female members. I would have ordered the CD just on the basis of its significance as a clear symbol of the democratization (and Westernization) of Myanmar, but I was doubly motivated after hearing some clips from the Me N Ma Girls' performances on their MySpace page.
Although Me N Ma Girls is the creation of a savvy entrepreneuer (as have been lots of pop groups!), there's an urgency, synergy, and liveliness that redeems the underlying capitalist impulse. The young women are clearly both talented and committed to the musical, cultural and political impact of their work. The senses of freedom and fun that pervade Mingalarpar are immediately identifiable and, if you give the Me N Ma Girls a chance, they will have you toe-tapping and boogying along with them!
As you might expect, given the circumstances under which the recordings were made and the CD production work was done, Mingalarpar is not a sonic wonder. It's also far from being "cutting edge" dance music. And a few of the efforts to imitate hip-hop artists' bids for "street cred" will make you laugh. But the witty lyrics, combining English and Burmese (and, I suspect, some regional dialects and colloquialisms), and the rhythms are catchy . . . and the young women sing their hearts out! As much as I keep trying to approach the CD from an objective and healthily skeptical perspective, I just can't prevent myself from acting like a "fan!"
So, if you're looking for something completely different to reinvigorate your pop music palate, then give Mingalarpar a try. I think you'll be glad that you did. If you're not, then at least you can hang onto the CD as a symbol of Myanmar's continuing development - and hope that it appreciates in value because of it's "first-of-a-kind" status!
Keep listening and keep smilin',
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors:
Topic - "Girl Group" Pop . . . Myanmar Style! - SmilinKev 11:46:33 03/04/12 (0)