10 music that carry again recollections 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, regarded as Bitori, on phase with bass participant Danilo Tavares.

Some of my fondest childhood reminiscences are of family vacations to Greece. These days Zorba’s Dance is undeniably a bit of a cliche, but when I hear that gradual bouzouki intro, I’m reminded of my dad, who would put this LP on immediately after drunken dinners and get started dancing the sirtaki. I viewed Zorba the Greek for the 1st time throughout lockdown last calendar year when I came across it in my dad’s DVD selection. I was surprised by how substantially it affected me, earning me pine for Greece – and for my father, who I realise seemed remarkably like Zorba (played 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 numerous of my musical introductions: it was there, in 2007, that I very first saw Mari Boine – the unofficial ambassador of Sámi tunes – complete reside. It begun a fascination with Sámi lifestyle and joik, the distinct guttural track design of the indigenous individuals of northern Scandinavia. A number of yrs later on I was invited to Kautokeino, way up earlier the Arctic Circle in close proximity to Boine’s house of Karasjok, for the Sámi Easter competition. It felt like a crash course in all items to do with joik and reindeer, but it also gave me an invaluable insight into Sámi history and the people’s partnership with individuals who colonised their land. These days the Sámi have their individual parliament, flag and countrywide working day (6 February).

Which 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 many many others, I noticed most of my vacation designs scuppered final 12 months, such as a road vacation from Nashville to New Orleans to coincide with the New Orleans jazz fest. The impetus for the journey experienced largely come about even though binge-watching the HBO sequence Treme. We’d compiled a playlist for our journey by Tennessee and Louisiana, but when it turned apparent that our dream of checking out venues these types of as Preservation Hall in New Orleans wasn’t heading to transpire, we’d play it at home. This observe by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band usually lifts my spirits, receives me dancing and can make me lifeless set on rebooking our excursion as shortly as it is 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 songs, steeped in saudade (nostalgia or longing). I could have picked any variety of Cesária tunes, but when I frequented Santiago – largest of the Cape Verde islands – it was funaná that turned 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 music in Creole were subversive and its frenetic dance rhythms immoral. Septuagenarian accordion participant Victor Tavares, AKA Bitori, is the genre’s unlikely star, mainly thanks to singer Chando Graciosa who persuaded him to report this in 1997, and to Samy Ben Redjeb of Analog Africa, who rereleased it in 2016.

Prepare Tune by Sakar Khan

1 of the most atmospheric pageant places I have frequented is the Mehrangarh Fort, property of Riff – the Rajasthan Intercontinental People Festival, held every single Oct during the harvest moon in Jodhpur. This colossal crimson sandstone edifice reverberates with the audio of Rajasthani folks musicians this kind of as Manganiyar legends Lakha Khan and the late Sakar Khan, masters of conventional bowed, stringed devices the sindhi sarangi and the kamayacha. Riff is a whole-on immersive encounter and to do it justice, a sure level of endurance is required as concerts get started at dawn, have on by way of the heat of the day, then carry on extended into the night. Each time I listen to the rasping sounds of these historical instruments, I’m promptly 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 benefits of learning French and German (in all those satisfied EU times) was being able to devote a year as an English language assistant in a college in Vienne, just south of Lyon. Following my stint instructing, 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 summertime all through the early 1990s, generating lifelong pals and obtaining a crash system in jazz in the method. More than the many years I observed amazing artists, like Ray Charles, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and Sonny Rollins, who continues to be one particular of my favourite sax gamers. The experience turned the foundation for my really like of songs from all around the globe and my function nowadays.

The Plateau by Jenny Sturgeon

I have constantly found comfort and ease in walking, and previous 12 months it took on even bigger value. So concerning lockdowns, my associate and I headed up to the Cairngorms to do some hiking. Just before our trip I obtained Jenny Sturgeon’s musical tribute to Nan Shepherd’s guide about the Cairngorms, The Dwelling Mountain. Each and every hike we embarked on would expose different landscapes – and each individual sort of temperature imaginable. Again in London, listening to Jenny’s album brings back again memories of those people mountains, specifically listening to the chicken tune on this opening observe, as Jenny sings: “Step on move, foot by foot, we wander which is how we know, as a result of the heather and the mud, the plateau ringing via 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 front, Alentejo. Photograph: Alamy

One particular of my European pageant highlights in new yrs was FMM Sines, held on Portugal’s wild and fairly untouristy Alentejo coast, in the cities of Porto Covo and Sines. A definitely comfortable, friendly vibe permeated the opening weekend in the seaside vacation resort of Porto Covo, wherever a combination viewers of locals and travellers congregated in the primary square. The Como Mamas, from Mississippi, ended up unidentified to me, but turned out to be a revelation. As the 3 singers took to the phase, the atmosphere transformed into some thing resembling a devoted congregation at a gospel gathering. Given that then, Depend Your Blessings has come to be a mantra, notably final yr.

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

One of the items I sorely miss out on for the duration of these socially distanced times is all those random conversations you strike up with full strangers in excess of a pint. There’s nowhere much better to do this than in Dublin, in particular in 1 of the city’s numerous music pubs, such as The Cobblestone or O’Donoghue’s. I haven’t been fortunate sufficient to see the Irish singer Lisa O’Neill at a session, even though she was apparently a normal in pre-Covid instances. The mixture of chat, beer and new music is great and I simply cannot wait to revisit.

La Grande Folie by San Salvador

Most of the travelling I do as editor of Songlines is to festivals all over the world, and one of the matters I most get pleasure from about them is the communal listening knowledge. There’s one thing visceral about hearing new music staying executed dwell with other people all around you. For me, San Salvador perfectly encapsulate this experience. A sextet from Saint-Salvadour in south-west France, they sing in Occitan. There is a real physicality to their songs and a thing extremely potent about the combination of voice and percussion. They often finish their sets with La Grande Folie – a music that resonates with these ridiculous moments.

San Salvador are owing to perform at Songlines Encounters Festival at Kings Location in Could (Covid permitting)