A question for you, reader: what American or English-language songs would you play for Afghan students in order to both (1) introduce them to the broad range of English-language musical culture and (2) help them build their English listening and interpretation skills and familiarity?
There are some rules. My question is educationally motivated, so any music shared should support Afghan and Islamic values, and should promote the values that the Afghan educational system is trying to promote.
- No references to alcohol or drugs.
- No references to extramarital love, lust, or dating, and no references to sex. (That includes innuendo.)
- No misogyny. (Women-positive lyrics much encouraged, as long as they don’t violate #2.)
- Nothing that would be perceived as non-Islamic proselytizing. This includes no mentions of Jesus, the Bible, or biblical figures.
- Consider carefully the place of cursing and anti-establishment rhetoric in the context of a fledgling Islamic republic attempting to promote the rule of law.
Here’s an inital stab pedagogy: every week, make a playlist available to students. For homework, have each student choose a song he or she likes best and try to write down and learn the lyrics. In class, do some karaoke-style recitation, and then have discussion about vocabulary, cultural referents, and interpretation.
I’m seeking as diverse a sampling as possible, and hoping for music that might in some way be both representatively American or Western and that might be stuff they haven’t encountered before. I’d be grateful for any and all suggestions in the comments.
(One last thing: the class in question will also include a film portion. Any ideas for great American movies that fulfill the above criteria are welcome, as well.)