West meets East: 5 international songs shot in India

Published: February 12, 2016
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Coldplay isn't the first international band to shoot a music video in India, then why the outcry?
PHOTO: PHOTOFILE

Coldplay isn't the first international band to shoot a music video in India, then why the outcry? PHOTO: PHOTOFILE

While people debate over cultural appropriation in Coldplay’s latest track Hymn For The Weekend, their video is just another proof of West’s obsession with the East. However, the recent past has seen a surge of international singers feature this ‘fad’ in their music videos.

Coldplay video sparks Twitter outrage over Indian stereotypes

Here are five international songs shot in India:

1. Coldplay’s Hymn For The Weekend

Released in January this year, it’s surprising that this song is the first to generate widespread heated discussion about its reflection of India, since it isn’t the first music video to have been shot in the country.

2. Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s Lean On

In March 2015, Major Lazer and DJ Snake released their single Lean On which was also shot in Mumbai. The video features Indian backup dancers in a palace, and a traditionally decorated Indian bus, among other references.

3. M.I.A.’s Matahdatah Scroll 01 “Broader Than A Border”

In July 2015, English artist M.I.A released Matahdatah Scroll 01 “Broader Than A Border” which was shot in both West Africa and India. Her single Swords from the album Matahdatah was filmed in an Indian temple and shows different forms of dance in these regions, including a group of young girls making music by swirling metal poles like swords, juxtaposed with footage of the rapper lighting an Om symbol outside an Indian temple.

“My new song Swords was filmed in a Temple in India and we recorded the clang of the metal to make the beat at the same time as shooting these incredible girls,” M.I.A said in a statement of the single.

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4. Iggy Azalea’s Bounce

Back in May 2013, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, released her single Bounce, from her debut album The New Classic. The music video was filmed in Mumbai, India with Azalea sporting a bedazzled red sari in a choreographed fusion dance.

She is surrounded with backup dancers, which portray a dance party that looks like something out of an Indian wedding. The rapper also rides on an elephant and cruises in a rickshaw in her video. Iggy sports all kinds of outfits in Bounce, with a variety of saris in each shot.

5. Mumford & Sons’ The Cave

London-based Rock quartet, Mumford & Sons, released their third single The Cave in 2010, from their debut album Sigh No More. The Cave was shot on location in Goa during the band’s tour of India.

According to SongFacts, Winston Marshall, banjoist and electric guitarist for the band, delivered instruments to an Indian wedding band that they hired which spent three hours learning the song, but only two out of the four were actually musicians.

Is Coldplay the only band that can be accused of cultural appropriation, or are all of these artists guilty of the same?

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