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International Sad Hits: Volume One introduces four singer-songwriters from Asia to the English speaking world. All four are veteran musicians in their respective homes, with decades-long careers, large discographies, and devoted followings. These are not pop stars or traditional folk artists, but singer-songwriters in the tradition of Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, and Nick Drake. As a result, their music has, for the most part, never traveled beyond their national or linguistic cultures. This co mpilation is intended to take the music across those borders, and introduce it to the wider audience it deserves.
The tracks were selected by 20/20/20 owners Damon & Naomi, who first encountered these songs when touring the world themselves. These four singers are among the discoveries closest to their hearts. And while the title points out that these artists are linked by a linguistic family (Altaic) as well as a continent (Asia), what truly connects them is their love of melancholy.
Indeed, these could be among the saddest songs you'll ever hear. One of them, "Bohemian" by Kim Doo Soo, is reputed to have caused two suicides in Korea. Mikami Kan and Tomokawa Kazuki are famous in their native Japan for their extreme emotional singing styles, and Turkey's Fikret Kizilok plays melancholy love songs backed by guitar, strings and percussion. Rather than a common style, the poetic lyricism and emotional possibility of these songs unite them.
After all, even if you grew up in Anatolia, and someone gave you a comp with Nick Drake, Tim Buckley, Tom Rapp, and Bob Dylan, wouldn't it blow your mind whether or not you understood the lyrics?