Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That (Sudanese) Target Ad

You've all seen it, that Target "dorm dance" ad, with what must be one of the best dance tracks and vocals ever in a mainstream advertisement. And you think, yes, every cool song, and especially now, the coolest world fusion tune, must, immediately and invevitably, be turned into a marketing tool.

(And if you are some nostalgist who imagines this never happened in the sixties, check out The Rolling Stones shilling for Rice Krispies, below.)

The song is "Calabria," by DJ Enur from Denmark, and features vocals by Natasja Saad, a Danish dancehall/reggae vocalist whose father, it turns out, is from Sudan. I can't claim there is anything remotely "Sudanese" about her singing, which is pure dancehall.

But she seems to be trying to look vaguely Sudanese in this photo, no?

On the other hand, here's Natasja in a more typical "dancehall" look.

Natasja was not just a star in Denmark, but also "the first non-Jamaican reggae/dancehall artist ever to win the Jamaican 'Irie FM Big Break Contest,'" according to wikipedia.

Here's the "official" video, in which Natasja appears. Pretty typical dancehall fare, I guess: one guy in a suit, ogling all the beautiful semi-dressed female bodies.

Natasja was killed in a car wreck in Jamaica in June 2007. "Calabria" was already a global hit by that time; in January 2008, it hit Number One on Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay.

And for those of you who are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to Jamaican patois (as I certainly am), here are the lyrics you hear on the Target ad:

Easy now no need fi go down (2x)
Rock that run that this where we from

Whoop Whoop, when you run come around,
Cu(z) I know you're the talk of the town, yeah

Best shown overall, shiny and tall,
One touch make a gal climb whoever you are,
Brass hat, hatter than fireball
Whoop Whoop!
You not small you no lickle at all


Anonymous said...

Nothing Sudanese about it at all. Who cares if her father was from Sudan--are you suggesting race is destiny?

Ted Swedenburg said...

Of course race isn't destiny. I wrote quite clearly that there was nothing "Sudanese" about the song at all, except for the family background of the singer. For me, it is news, and of inherent interest, when a song that hits the mainstream of US pop culture is performed by someone of Middle Eastern background.

w&w said...

interesting. i wrote about the 'calabria' phenom a while back, amazed by the long life of that earworm sax riff, but didn't think to address natasja's ethnic background. even so, the post generated a lot of discussion about the representation of race/ethnicity in reggae, hip-hop, and club music --

Anonymous said...

Ay Sudan aint Middle Eastern its AFRICA So big upzzz to SUDAN nd God BLESS NATASJA