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
You not small you no lickle at all