Zorba’s Dance by Mikis Theodorakis
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of household holiday seasons to Greece. These times Zorba’s Dance is undeniably a bit of a cliche, but when I hear that sluggish bouzouki intro, I’m reminded of my dad, who would put this LP on immediately after drunken dinners and begin dancing the sirtaki. I watched Zorba the Greek for the very first time for the duration of lockdown very last 12 months when I came throughout it in my dad’s DVD selection. I was astonished by how a lot it afflicted me, generating me pine for Greece – and for my father, who I realise appeared remarkably like Zorba (played by Anthony Quinn).
Vuoi Vuoi Me by Mari Boine
Womad has been the supply of so lots of of my musical introductions: it was there, in 2007, that I initially noticed Mari Boine – the unofficial ambassador of Sámi new music – perform live. It started out a fascination with Sámi lifestyle and joik, the distinctive guttural track design and style of the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. Quite a few several years later I was invited to Kautokeino, way up previous the Arctic Circle near Boine’s house of Karasjok, for the Sámi Easter pageant. It felt like a crash course in all issues to do with joik and reindeer, but it also gave me an priceless insight into Sámi record and the people’s marriage with those people who colonised their land. These times the Sámi have their possess parliament, flag and nationwide working day (6 February).
Which is It! by the Preservation Corridor Jazz Band
Like several other folks, I noticed most of my journey options scuppered previous calendar year, like a highway vacation from Nashville to New Orleans to coincide with the New Orleans jazz fest. The impetus for the trip had largely come about while binge-looking at the HBO series Treme. We’d compiled a playlist for our journey by means of Tennessee and Louisiana, but when it grew to become crystal clear that our dream of checking out venues this kind of as Preservation Corridor in New Orleans was not heading to take place, we’d engage in it at property. This track by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band often lifts my spirits, gets me dancing and can make me useless established on rebooking our vacation as soon as it’s risk-free to do so.
Bitori Nha Bibinha by Bitori
The most internationally celebrated artist from Cape Verde is the late Cesária Évora, the doyenne of morna music, steeped in saudade (nostalgia or longing). I could have picked any selection of Cesária tracks, but when I visited Santiago – major of the Cape Verde islands – it was funaná that grew to become the soundtrack of my vacation, blaring out of the packed alugueres (minibus taxis), current market stalls and bars. Funaná was banned by the Portuguese up until finally 1975 as they feared the songs in Creole ended up subversive and its frenetic dance rhythms immoral. Septuagenarian accordion player Victor Tavares, AKA Bitori, is the genre’s unlikely star, mostly thanks to singer Chando Graciosa who persuaded him to document this in 1997, and to Samy Ben Redjeb of Analog Africa, who rereleased it in 2016.
Prepare Song by Sakar Khan
A person of the most atmospheric competition locations I have visited is the Mehrangarh Fort, residence of Riff – the Rajasthan Worldwide Folk Pageant, held each and every October all through the harvest moon in Jodhpur. This colossal red sandstone edifice reverberates with the sound of Rajasthani folk musicians these as Manganiyar legends Lakha Khan and the late Sakar Khan, masters of common bowed, stringed instruments the sindhi sarangi and the kamayacha. Riff is a full-on immersive encounter and to do it justice, a sure stage of endurance is expected as live shows start at dawn, have on by way of the warmth of the day, then proceed extensive into the evening. Anytime I hear the rasping seems of these historical devices, I’m right away transported back again to Jodhpur.
St Thomas by Sonny Rollins
One of the positive aspects of learning French and German (in people pleased EU days) was staying equipped to spend a calendar year as an English language assistant in a college in Vienne, just south of Lyon. Right after my stint teaching, I volunteered at Jazz à Vienne, a wonderful two-7 days jazz competition held in the town’s Roman amphitheatre. I returned just about every summer time in the course of the early 1990s, earning lifelong good friends and acquiring a crash course in jazz in the process. Around the years I noticed outstanding artists, which includes Ray Charles, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and Sonny Rollins, who continues to be one of my favorite sax players. The expertise grew to become the basis for my love of new music from all over the earth and my do the job right now.
The Plateau by Jenny Sturgeon
I have usually identified comfort in walking, and last 12 months it took on even higher great importance. So in between lockdowns, my spouse and I headed up to the Cairngorms to do some hiking. Just just before our excursion I gained Jenny Sturgeon’s musical tribute to Nan Shepherd’s book about the Cairngorms, The Residing Mountain. Just about every hike we embarked on would expose distinct landscapes – and every kind of weather possible. Again in London, listening to Jenny’s album delivers back again recollections of all those mountains, primarily listening to the chook track on this opening observe, as Jenny sings: “Step on phase, foot by foot, we wander which is how we know, by means of the heather and the mud, the plateau ringing as a result of our blood.”
Count Your Blessings by the Como Mamas
A person of my European pageant highlights in current yrs was FMM Sines, held on Portugal’s wild and comparatively untouristy Alentejo coastline, in the cities of Porto Covo and Sines. A truly calm, friendly vibe permeated the opening weekend in the seaside resort of Porto Covo, exactly where a mixture viewers of locals and travellers congregated in the key square. The Como Mamas, from Mississippi, were being mysterious to me, but turned out to be a revelation. As the a few singers took to the phase, the environment transformed into something resembling a devoted congregation at a gospel collecting. Given that then, Depend Your Blessings has become a mantra, especially previous 12 months.
Pothole in the Sky by Lisa O’Neill
One of the factors I sorely skip in the course of these socially distanced periods is these random discussions you strike up with finish strangers over a pint. There is nowhere superior to do this than in Dublin, particularly in one particular of the city’s many tunes pubs, this sort of as The Cobblestone or O’Donoghue’s. I have not been fortunate sufficient to see the Irish singer Lisa O’Neill at a session, even though she was seemingly a normal in pre-Covid situations. The blend of chat, beer and music is great and I can not hold out to revisit.
La Grande Folie by San Salvador
Most of the travelling I do as editor of Songlines is to festivals close to the planet, and a person of the factors I most delight in about them is the communal listening experience. There is something visceral about listening to music being performed reside with other people today all around you. For me, San Salvador beautifully encapsulate this sensation. A sextet from Saint-Salvadour in south-west France, they sing in Occitan. There’s a genuine physicality to their songs and some thing incredibly effective about the blend of voice and percussion. They generally complete their sets with La Grande Folie – a music that resonates with these crazy moments.
• San Salvador are owing to carry out at Songlines Encounters Festival at Kings Position in May (Covid permitting)