Playlists: songs about the colour orange

By Hoshino Sakura

There’s no time to waste. The traffic light is orange – step on the accelerator and go before it changes!

The colour orange seems to fit perfectly to how I imagine Jamaica – bright, vibrant and pulsing with energy. Prince Buster captures this feeling perfectly with Orange Street. Orange streetwas famous as a meeting place for musicians and so there should be no surprise if we run into The In-Crowd. Mango Walk has the type of reggae beat that makes me sway even in my chair. The darker orange of the mango seems to contrast with the brightness of the orange in Prince Buster track and I think we are off to a good start.

Earth Wind & Fire are a band I find heard to classify, and Orange Evolution is typically hard to define. Is it pop? Is it funk? Is it jazz? It does not matter – It is great! But is orange evolving into red or yellow? We will never know.

Eddie Henderson’s mum was a dancer at the original cotton club and as a child Eddie even had a trumpet lesson from Louis Armstrong, so there is no doubt we are in jazz territory now. The Kumquat Kids has a funky beat and definitely gets my foot tapping and puts a smile on my face.

Now from fruit to flowers. Genda Phool is an Indian marigold and Sujatha Majumdar evokes them beautifully in this track. I really felt that I could see them if I closed my eyes!

Reuben Wilson pays homage to the leftover part of the orange in Orange Peel but of course the peel also contains the zest of an orange, its most intense flavour, and this is an intense track.

We now take a short detour to my home – Japan. Orange is definitely associated with happiness in Japan and these two tracks convey this is different ways. Judy and Mary are one of those bands everyone knows, loves and has a favourite track. Hello! Orange Sunshine is such a great, feelgood example I can almost feel the orange sun on my face. Passepied are masters at making simple sounding pop songs and Orange is one of their best, capturing the joy of being single with a night out before you and full of possibilities.

Orange blossom

Orange blossom

There were several versions of this classic nominated this week but I choose the Nat King Coe version of Orange Colored Sky. He has such an amazingly beautiful voiceand with it he paints such exquisite pictures. I can really see him “humming a tune – drinking in sunshine”.

Next we have two tracks from Brazilian artists. Elis Regina-Menino has the perfect voice for Bossa Nova. Das Laranjas is a song about a boy selling oranges at a fair and the rythms and harmony really seem to evoke a sunny and carefree day, but apparently the lyrics are not so cheerful. The next Brazilian track is The Sabia. It is Brazil’s national bird which like an thrush but with an orange chest. Clara Nunes sings this version of the song with a swing that just makes me want to dance!

When I first heard the final track, I was left speechless and that is not an easy thing to achieve! I had to listen a couple of times to decide if I liked it or not, but I fell in love with it. Gilbert Bécaud is known as Monsieur 100.000 volts and we can really see why when he and his fabulous group play L’orange, a song about the theft of that fruit.