The global music scene is dominated by English songs, but this doesn’t mean that we should limit ourselves to strictly English songs. It’s a wonderful thing that people in different countries are catching on to the fact that there is a vast selection of exceptional songs sung in various other languages. Great examples include songs that became worldwide phenomena such as The Ketchup Song (Asereje) by Las Ketchup, We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool and DUP, and Gangnam Style by PSY. These songs have even encouraged many to start taking language lessons!
There are also songs that are just so good that they have been translated and recorded in various languages so everyone can share the love. It’s already quite impressive for one song to be remade into 2 or 3 languages, but over 25 must mean they’re really something special! Here are 5 songs that have been released in over 25 languages.
Note: This list does not include songs of worship, Christmas carols, and children’s songs like Happy Birthday to You, It’s a Small World, Amazing Grace, and Silent Night, four of the most translated songs in the world.
Anak – Freddie Aguilar
The title of this Tagalog song translates to ‘a child of a parent’, and the lyrics are about Filipino family values. ‘Anak’ was a finalist for 1977 Metropop Song Festival in Manila and became an international hit. The song was so popular that it inspired over a hundred covers – it was also released in 56 countries and in over 26 languages! ‘Anak’ took the number 1 spot in the U.S. Billboard charts for two weeks.
Golden Dreams of Gandhiji – Dr. Kesiraju Srinivas (a.k.a. Ghazal Srinivas)
Not only is the song sung in 125 different languages, it is also listed in the Guinness World Records as the song sung in the most languages by one individual, including 56 Indian and 44 foreign languages. The song was based on Civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha philosophy, which called for world peace, the insistence on truth, and nonviolent resistance.
Let It Go – Idina Menzel
Who knew that this song from Disney’s 2013 animated feature film Frozen would have such an impact? ‘Let It Go’ won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2014 and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media in 2015. It was also included in the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and was recorded in 42 languages and dialects. More than that, the song is about letting go of insecurities and coming to terms with who you really are.
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Reflection – Lea Salonga
Before Elsa, there was Mulan, and before ‘Let It Go’ there was ‘Reflection’. The song was an integral part of the soundtrack for Disney’s 1998 animated film Mulan. In the movie, Mulan pours her heart out in this song after a failed attempt to impress a matchmaker. She sings about wanting to show her true self to her family and the rest of the world, rather than live behind a mask in fear of disappointing those around her. Various versions of this song was recorded and released in different languages, including Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Catalan, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Taiwanese Mandarin, Thai, and Turkish.
As you may have noticed, these songs have themes of values, personal growth, and empowerment. If you’re interested in being able to sing any of these songs (and more!) in other languages flawlessly, go ahead and take language lessons! If you’d love to play them with nothing but the language of music, you can take music lessons such as piano lessons or guitar lessons instead. Either way, you can find language tutors or music teachers through Classes A to Z!