June 12, 2024


It's time to think about Travel.

10 tunes that convey back reminiscences of my travels: Jo Frost’s playlist

a person standing on a stage holding a guitar: Photograph: Alamy

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Photograph: Alamy

Zorba’s Dance by Mikis Theodorakis

a person sitting on a stage: Cape Verde accordionist Victor Tavares, known as Bitori, on stage with bass player Danilo Tavares.

© Photograph: Alamy
Cape Verde accordionist Victor Tavares, acknowledged as Bitori, on phase with bass player Danilo Tavares.

Some of my fondest childhood recollections are of relatives holiday seasons to Greece. These times Zorba’s Dance is undeniably a little bit of a cliche, but when I hear that sluggish bouzouki intro, I’m reminded of my father, who would set this LP on right after drunken dinners and get started dancing the sirtaki. I viewed Zorba the Greek for the initially time through lockdown final yr when I came across it in my dad’s DVD selection. I was stunned by how considerably it afflicted me, making me pine for Greece – and for my father, who I realise appeared remarkably like Zorba (performed by Anthony Quinn).

Vuoi Vuoi Me by Mari Boine

Mari Boine holding a microphone: Sami musician Mari Boine on stage in Norway. Photograph: Gonzales Photo/Alamy

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Sami musician Mari Boine on stage in Norway. Photograph: Gonzales Photo/Alamy

Womad has been the source of so several of my musical introductions: it was there, in 2007, that I to start with observed Mari Boine – the unofficial ambassador of Sámi audio – execute are living. It began a fascination with Sámi lifestyle and joik, the exclusive guttural tune type of the indigenous individuals of northern Scandinavia. Many many years later on I was invited to Kautokeino, way up past the Arctic Circle close to Boine’s household of Karasjok, for the Sámi Easter competition. It felt like a crash study course in all factors to do with joik and reindeer, but it also gave me an a must have perception into Sámi background and the people’s partnership with people who colonised their land. These times the Sámi have their personal parliament, flag and nationwide working day (6 February).

That is It! by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band

a group of people sitting in front of a crowd: Jazz at Preservation Hall, New Orleans. Photograph: Alamy

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Jazz at Preservation Hall, New Orleans. Photograph: Alamy

Like numerous some others, I noticed most of my vacation designs scuppered last year, like a highway trip from Nashville to New Orleans to coincide with the New Orleans jazz fest. The impetus for the excursion experienced largely occur about though binge-observing the HBO collection Treme. We’d compiled a playlist for our journey through Tennessee and Louisiana, but when it turned crystal clear that our dream of going to venues these as Preservation Hall in New Orleans was not heading to transpire, we’d perform it at residence. This track by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band generally lifts my spirits, receives me dancing and can make me lifeless set on rebooking our trip as before long as it’s protected 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 songs, steeped in saudade (nostalgia or longing). I could have picked any selection of Cesária music, but when I visited Santiago – major of the Cape Verde islands – it was funaná that became the soundtrack of my vacation, blaring out of the packed alugueres (minibus taxis), industry stalls and bars. Funaná was banned by the Portuguese up until 1975 as they feared the songs in Creole had been subversive and its frenetic dance rhythms immoral. Septuagenarian accordion player Victor Tavares, AKA Bitori, is the genre’s unlikely star, mainly many thanks to singer Chando Graciosa who persuaded him to record this in 1997, and to Samy Ben Redjeb of Analog Africa, who rereleased it in 2016.

Coach Music by Sakar Khan

One particular of the most atmospheric pageant spots I’ve visited is the Mehrangarh Fort, dwelling of Riff – the Rajasthan Global Folk Festival, held each individual Oct throughout the harvest moon in Jodhpur. This colossal purple sandstone edifice reverberates with the sound of Rajasthani people musicians these as Manganiyar legends Lakha Khan and the late Sakar Khan, masters of traditional bowed, stringed devices the sindhi sarangi and the kamayacha. Riff is a entire-on immersive knowledge and to do it justice, a specific degree of endurance is needed as concerts commence at dawn, carry on by the heat of the day, then continue on long into the night. Whenever I listen to the rasping seems of these historical devices, I’m immediately transported back to Jodhpur.

St Thomas by Sonny Rollins

a large city landscape: The Jazz a Vienne festival, France. Photograph: Alamy

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The Jazz a Vienne pageant, France. Photograph: Alamy

A single of the rewards of finding out French and German (in those people joyful EU times) was remaining in a position to invest a year as an English language assistant in a school in Vienne, just south of Lyon. Immediately after my stint training, I volunteered at Jazz à Vienne, a superb two-7 days jazz competition held in the town’s Roman amphitheatre. I returned every summer months during the early 1990s, building lifelong mates and acquiring a crash course in jazz in the procedure. Around the several years I saw outstanding artists, which includes Ray Charles, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and Sonny Rollins, who continues to be a person of my favourite sax gamers. The practical experience became the foundation for my adore of songs from all-around the entire world and my get the job done currently.

The Plateau by Jenny Sturgeon

I’ve generally identified ease and comfort in walking, and final calendar year it took on even better relevance. So in between lockdowns, my companion and I headed up to the Cairngorms to do some hiking. Just before our excursion I gained Jenny Sturgeon’s musical tribute to Nan Shepherd’s book about the Cairngorms, The Residing Mountain. Every hike we embarked on would reveal different landscapes – and every single type of weather conditions imaginable. Again in London, listening to Jenny’s album provides back reminiscences of people mountains, especially listening to the chicken song on this opening monitor, as Jenny sings: “Step on step, foot by foot, we stroll that’s how we know, via the heather and the mud, the plateau ringing by way of our blood.

Depend Your Blessings by the Como Mamas

a rocky beach next to the ocean: Porto Covo beach, Alentejo. Photograph: Alamy

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Porto Covo beach, Alentejo. Photograph: Alamy

A person of my European competition highlights in modern a long time was FMM Sines, held on Portugal’s wild and reasonably untouristy Alentejo coastline, in the cities of Porto Covo and Sines. A truly comfortable, welcoming vibe permeated the opening weekend in the seaside vacation resort of Porto Covo, where by a mixture audience of locals and travellers congregated in the major square. The Como Mamas, from Mississippi, ended up unknown to me, but turned out to be a revelation. As the a few singers took to the stage, the environment reworked into a thing resembling a devoted congregation at a gospel accumulating. Due to the fact then, Count Your Blessings has turn into a mantra, particularly previous 12 months.

Pothole in the Sky by Lisa O’Neill

a group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant: Irish musicians at O’Donoghue’s pub, Dublin. Photograph: Hugh Reynolds/Alamy

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Irish musicians at O’Donoghue’s pub, Dublin. Photograph: Hugh Reynolds/Alamy

1 of the issues I sorely miss all through these socially distanced periods is all those random conversations you strike up with entire strangers above a pint. There is nowhere much better to do this than in Dublin, primarily in 1 of the city’s a lot of songs pubs, these as The Cobblestone or O’Donoghue’s. I have not been lucky sufficient to see the Irish singer Lisa O’Neill at a session, though she was seemingly a standard in pre-Covid moments. The blend of chat, beer and tunes is fantastic and I cannot hold out to revisit.

La Grande Folie by San Salvador

Most of the travelling I do as editor of Songlines is to festivals around the environment, and one particular of the matters I most get pleasure from about them is the communal listening encounter. There is one thing visceral about hearing new music being done stay with other people today close to you. For me, San Salvador correctly encapsulate this experience. A sextet from Saint-Salvadour in south-west France, they sing in Occitan. There is a actual physicality to their tunes and some thing incredibly potent about the combination of voice and percussion. They constantly end their sets with La Grande Folie – a song that resonates with these mad instances.

San Salvador are due to perform at Songlines Encounters Pageant at Kings Place in May perhaps (Covid permitting)