Tuesday Tracklist: AAPI Edition with IZ, Bblasian, Dave Pajo, Nicole Scherzinger And More (5/30)

In this weekly feature, a different LEO staff member will share 7-10 of the songs they’ve got on repeat right now. (Songs by Louisville artists are marked with an asterisk.) Got a track that you think we’d like? Let us know at [email protected] or at the author’s email below.

It is the last couple of days of Asian and Pacific Islander Month so my list is dedicated to appreciating and shouting out my AAPI folks.

IZ (Israel Kamakawiwoʻole) – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow

I love many renditions of this song. This might be my favorite and, in part, it is due to the video which shares a look at IZ’s too short life and career. I certainly wish we’d been granted more time with his beautiful voice. 

Papa M – “DLVD”* 

Louisville’s Dave Pajo delivers a tender guitar track and a beautiful and somewhat unsettling video for “DLVD.” Much of his work as Papa M, I find particularly moving and enchanting in a similar way as I am touched by Leonard Cohen. If there was a Filipino Leonard Cohen, I think I know who that might be. Listen also to “Over Jordan.”

James Ford Murphy, Kuana Torres Kahele, and Nāpua Greig – “Lava

I’m a sucker for Disney’s “Moana,” and cry every time I watch it. This song is from a short that came just before “Moana’s” release. It’s a very sweet, Hawaiian-inspired tune. I have almost learned to play this on ukulele. Almost. 

Karan Rai- “Changa”* 

From Louisville by way of a refugee camp in Nepal, Karan Rai was the winner of “The Voice of Nepal Season 4,” and came back to Louisville to share his win with the local Nepalese and Bhutanese communities. This song is surprisingly rock but with lovely instrumentation and strong vocals by Rai. 

Bblasian – “Change”*

Love a kid that loves his mama, and this song is a moving tribute of a son to his momma, acknowledging who he is, where he’s from, and mistakes made along the way. I also love to see this Louisville kid doing well in the music business. 

BiBi 비비 – “나쁜년 (Vengeance)” 

Love a song that makes girls feel powerful and especially in nations that are struggling with the ideas of feminism. Three cheers Bibi for giving Korean girls a badass eonni (언니) to look up to.

Maurice- “No Exit”*

Two of Louisville’s finest Asian musicians appear on this demo, The First Shall Be The Last. Both Dave Pajo and (Self-Destruct Records, Kinghorse, hiking-aficionado) Mike Bucayu, played in the legendary local band Maurice. Bucayu is like family to a lot of folks in the Louisville creative scene, and though he isn’t often on stages anymore (well a little bit now), his mark on local music is irreplaceable. Much of his work has sustained bands and promoted them in recordings and local showcases.

Todrick Hall (feature Nicole Scherzinger)- “Papi”*

Ok, I’m using the “local asterisk” a bit loosely here since this isn’t Scherzinger’s song, exactly, but Hall employs the perfect voice in Scherzinger for this tune. It’s a little bit funny and really fits Scherzinger’s Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) roots well (FYI, that was certainly quite a high school prom to attend). Scherzinger is a hard-working performer and that she is still making her name known makes Louisville quite proud.