There are many ways to get know another culture. My favorite? The house party.

Even the seemingly most conservative of cultures transform into festive affairs of dance, drink, and drums when a house party is declared. There is something irresistibly human about throwing back a couple shots of fire water, turning up the stereo volume, and transforming the living room into a dance floor. After a couple hours, it tends to look like this:

global voices party

I told you: irresistible.

With this in mind, at the last Global Voices Summit in Budapest I asked each of the participants to bring a bottle of fire water from their home country as well as a couple classic party songs. The idea was to burn 70 or so MP3 CD’s and hand them out so that we all had some festive global tunes to take back home with us.

Instead … we got kicked out about 15 minutes after the first bottle of Japanese plum wine was opened. (It creeps up on you.) Sami heard the voice of Karl Marx, Collins taught me how to dance to the soundtrack of Grease, and we all learned how to do the Benny Lava.

beni lava

But I still have the MP3 files on my computer and I’ve been meaning to make a podcast for months now. Solana finally convinced me to throw it together. I hope you like it.


Download MP3 version

Download AAC version (with embedded photos and links for iPods/iPhones)


  1. Ana Elli 3layki Meshta’ by Joseph Sakr
  2. ????? by ??? and China Blue
  3. La Fete au Maroc by Jil Jilala
  4. Loi by Koffi Olomide
  5. Nezlen 3a el-Bestan by Kulna Sawa
  6. Dale Dale Dale by Meta Guacha
  7. Vuli Ndlela by Brenda Fassie
  8. Vasos Vacíos by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
  9. Kalluri Vaanil (AKA “Benny Lava”) by Prabhu Deva Sundaram
  10. Lameck by Alan Namoko and Chimvu Jazz

With appearances by Georgia Popplewell, Kiruba Shankar, Lova Rakotomalala, Ndesanjo Macha, Eddie Ávila, Juliana Rotich, Hamid Tehrani, Ethan Zuckerman, and Solana Larsen.