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  • Writer's pictureThe Hub

The Hub's 2021 Birthday Party

Updated: May 25, 2021

A Bopping Birthday Playlist

Picture: The rooftop bar at 360 / Istanbul with panoramic views of the Bosphorus - 360 Photo:

A rooftop bar with-a-view, spicy rum cocktails on tap, a guest list of The Hub's favourite people and a self-curated banging playlist, banging til dawn. Well, that was the birthday plan before Covid-19 intervened!

This year, of course, most of our entertainment has been at home and virtual. So The Hub is offering its 2021 Birthday playlist to one and all to enjoy, safely. Stand by for the invite when its safe to party, venue suggestions gratefully received!

Some great suggestions on Top 10 Party Rooftops in the World. A sunset start at 360 / Istanbul sounds good! So too does London-Barcelona-based charismatic artist with Caribbean heritage Manu Mitchell's idea of a bar overlooking the Catalan capital's six miles of Mediterranean sandy beaches...

For a London gathering, journalist Caroline Byrne, author of the new Nazi Book Burning post and co-host on the podcast, recommends Nordic food-themed Panthechnicon on Motcomb Street in SW1. Cheers, or should I say Kippis!

In Da Club

YouTube video: 50 Cent - In Da Club (Official Music Video)

No better way to get a birthday party started than 50 Cents' Dr Dre-produced In Da Club with the opening refrain: It's your birthday, We gon' party like it's your birthday, We gon' sip Bacardi like it's your birthday.

From the 2003 debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin', the song hit No.1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the video garnered Best Rap Video and Best New Artist at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.

In Da Club was the first of seven tracks 50 Cent recorded in five days at Dr Dre's LA studio. Describing the studio sessions, he said:

Dre, he'll play dope beats saying: These are the hits 50. Pick one and make a couple of singles or something.
The first time he heard me rap on In Da Club he said: Yo, I didn't think you was going to go there with it, but, you know, it works. Then he expanded it into a hit record.

As much of Get Rich or Die Tryin' was "dark", 50 Cent wanted to write "the exact opposite" on In Da Club. He calls the song a "...celebration of life. Every day it's relevant all over 'cause every day is someone's birthday."

Pick of the Pops

Keen-eyed listeners will notice much of the playlist features some of the best dance floor hits from The Hub's broadcasts and blogs. Tunes to get you 'pon a dance floor or kickstart some energy into your day!

YouTube video: Vanderkraft - Vendredi c'est la fête

The Danny Darko-produced and Jova Radevska-voiced Like A Butterfly club mix is the energetic stand out from Butterfly, one of The Hub's favourite Facebook Live shows. Starting as a new release by pianist and composer Anna Sofia Nord, Butterfly then bloomed into a multi-zone, two-hour-forty-minute celebration of the colourful-winged insect.

First aired on a Facebook Live Days of the Week session, Jeudi pop pop (Thursday pop pop), by Mickey 3d from Loire, is one of several whimsical French tunes on the birthday playlist. Starboy, The Weekend and Daft Punk hit and Vanderkraft's Vendredi c'est la fête (Friday is Party Time) continue the 'songs to power you through the week' theme.

Le Bal des Oubliés (The Ball for The Forgotten), a club mix from Paradis' 2015 Coleurs Primaires (Primary Colours) album, is from a Facebook Live session on Colours: Your True Colours? This is part of an ongoing chromatic project with playlists in construction for a kaleidoscope of musical colours, including Red / Blue / Yellow & Gold / Black & White.

Goddess of the Sea

The Sea was one of The Hub's early themed playlists and became a multi-week labour of love. Perhaps because the sea is one of The Hub's favourite places? Thankfully, later playlists flowed more naturally! Three female voices from The Sea are on the birthday playlist.

YouTube video: Kelly Fraser – Sedna

The R3HAB-produced and Lia Marie Johnson-voiced The Wave take us out to sea. Native Canadian singer Kelly Fraser's Sedna heralded such promise from a talented performer tragically not to be fulfilled.

Sedna was a song on an early Hub Facebook Live episode of Desert Island Discs, chosen by Nancy Hurst, The Hub's pal from our south London squatting days. Now back in her native Canada, 'Niagara Nancy' lives in Hamilton, Ontario on the 725km Niagara Escarpment close to Niagara Falls.

Sedna is the goddess of the sea and marine animals in Inuit mythology, also known as the Mother of the Sea or Mistress of the Sea. Nancy included Sedna to highlight the unspotlighted plight of continuing deprivation and vulnerability to suicide of the Native Canadian population. Kelly Fraser came to prominence for her Inuit-language cover of Rihanna’s Diamonds and advocacy for indigenous culture. Sadly, Kelly succumbed to her demons during the making of her third album, Decolonize.

Underwater Love by Smoke City sung by Anglo-Brazilian singer Nina Miranda and programmed by Marc Brown take us away-from-it-all beneath the waves for an amorous tryst.

Africa Calling

The Hub's Paddy's Day playlist gave pride of place to its musical Irish-Romany uncle, Dave Lee of The Romantiks, with a bonus track of Said If You Need Me. So respect is due to The Hub's Ghanaian uncle Malek Crayem of 60s/70s Afro funk band The Psychedelic Aliens famed across West African for their soul, garage, rock, funk and psych music built on African rhythms and melodies.

YouTube video: The Psychedelic Aliens (The Magic Aliens) - Homowo - with Malek Crayem second from left playing the organ.

The Aliens were one of the local acts at the 1971 Soul to Soul concert in Accra featuring US acts, such as Tina Turner and Wilson Pickett, held in commemoration of African independence.

Included here is Homowo, one of the band's eight recorded songs, named after a cultural festival of the Ga people centred around Accra, the capital of Ghana. The choice is ironic, as the band called themselves 'Aliens' because each in some way felt alienated from mainstream Ghanaian culture. In Malek's case, because he had a Lebanese father.

Malek moved to Germany in the mid-70s to work as an engineer and visited The Hub's family home in Claybury Hospital near London with his German girlfriend. He breezed in a vision of mixed-heritage cool with his Afro, side burns, 70s garb and Ga-German accent.

Malek took us on a shopping trip to Oxford Street, never looking more stylish, to buy some on trend platform shoes. Fast forward a few years and The Hub would stay with him on holiday from boarding school back in Accra and devour his oh-so-brilliant late 70s soul and funk record collection while Malek was out playing in local venues with The Aliens.

Konkontiba (feat. Batman) is an upbeat more modern expression of Ghanaian music. Heading south to South Africa, Brenda Fassie's Vuli Ndlela is a classic of the 90s while Jerusalema (ft. Nocembo Zikode) is the surprise global viral dance hit from below the Limpopo for the Covid era.

Both songs feature on Qhubeka: Cycling Africa Forward the story of Jeremy Ford's #freebikefix campaign raising £120k to fund 120 bicycles for secondary school children and women's groups in southern Africa.

Ashes to Dust

YouTube video: Severija - Zu Asche, Zu Staub (Psycho Nikoros) – (Official Babylon Berlin O.S.T.)

French accents, like M's Belleville rendez-vous from Cliff Stammer's peerless Movie Music set, may be prominent on the playlist. But, The Hub is particularly fond of Zu Asche, Zu Staub (To Ashes to Dust) the unofficial theme tune of Weimar-era crime TV series Babylon Berlin. Music by singer and actress Severija Janusauskaite and band Moka Efti Orchestra, named after the infamous Berlin night club echoed in the series. The song and audience-participation dance routine take us back to the hedonism of between-wars Germany.

In a New Yorker review, Cameron Hood wrote of Babylon Berlin:

The show plays as part period drama, part police procedural, and part mystery thriller, but there is always an undercurrent of foreboding, drawing on our knowledge of what’s to come. Hitler’s name is heard only once in all sixteen episodes; Nazi Brown Shirts first appear in one of the last. The opening lines of the show’s haunting song “Zu Asche, Zu Staub” (“To Ashes, to Dust”) capture the era’s troubled Zeitgeist: “To ashes, to dust / Taken away from the light / But not yet / Miracles wait until the last.” Yet there would be no miracle for Germany ahead.

Nor for the rest of the world and the victims of a second world war. Later, out of the ashes and rubble of Hitler's 1,000-year Reich, the resurgent post-war Marshall Plan-fuelled German economy of the 50s onwards was termed Das Wirtschaftswunder. The economic miracle.

More Pop Picks

YouTube video: Жанна Фриске - Где то летом / Zhanna Friske

The video of Russian pop siren Zhanna Friske, as a picture of health and vigour in motion, singing Gde to Leto is a reminder of Brain Tumour Stars The Hub's tribute to a cast of talented international performers affected by a brain tumour diagnosis.

Scott Garcia's It's A London Thing features on a Hub celebration of ELATT, a Grade 1 Ofsted-rated Hackney community college, and a call out to London employers to offer vital employment opportunities to ELATT's students.

Rock-riff classic The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy sung by Dubliner Phil Lynott opens The Hub's Contemporary-to-Traditional St Patrick's Day Playlist. While solo Supertramp Roger Hodgson's Breakfast In America-on steroids Had A Dream (Sleeping With The Enemy) closes Side A of The Hub's Alice-in-Wonderland In Your Dreams double-sider.

YouTube video: AC/DC - Back In Black (Official Video)

The May 2020 Space X Crew Dragon flight flew NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the international space station. This was the first manned US space flight since Behnken's and Hurley's last flight on the demise of the shuttle program. The Hub broadcast a specially curated space flight playlist including AC/DC's Back in Black, the astronauts choice of Space X take-off music.

80s Gold classic, The Human League's Don't You Want Me, featured on a Facebook Live show. Trainspotting's 90s theme and club classic, Born Slippy (Nuxx) by Underworld, first appeared on The Hub on a Movie Songs Facebook Live double-set.

Thanks, as ever, to the A Record A Day crew for their welcome additions to the playlist and congrats to The Hub's fellow ARAD May birthday celebrants.

Birthday Playlist

You can listen to The Hub's 2021 Birthday playlist by clicking on the link below.


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