10 songs that convey again memories of my travels: Jo Frost’s playlist

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

© Delivered by The Guardian
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, recognized as Bitori, on stage with bass participant Danilo Tavares.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of spouse and children holiday seasons to Greece. These times Zorba’s Dance is undeniably a bit of a cliche, but when I listen to that sluggish bouzouki intro, I’m reminded of my dad, who would set this LP on right after drunken dinners and start out dancing the sirtaki. I viewed Zorba the Greek for the 1st time for the duration of lockdown final year when I arrived throughout it in my dad’s DVD collection. I was shocked by how significantly it affected me, generating me pine for Greece – and for my father, who I realise looked 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

© Delivered by The Guardian
Sami musician Mari Boine on stage in Norway. Photograph: Gonzales Image/Alamy

Womad has been the resource of so lots of of my musical introductions: it was there, in 2007, that I to start with saw Mari Boine – the unofficial ambassador of Sámi music – perform are living. It begun a fascination with Sámi society and joik, the distinct guttural tune style of the indigenous people today of northern Scandinavia. Several a long time later I was invited to Kautokeino, way up past the Arctic Circle around Boine’s house of Karasjok, for the Sámi Easter festival. It felt like a crash study course in all things to do with joik and reindeer, but it also gave me an a must have insight into Sámi heritage and the people’s partnership with those who colonised their land. These times the Sámi have their individual parliament, flag and nationwide working day (6 February).

That’s It! by the Preservation Corridor Jazz Band

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

© Delivered by The Guardian
Jazz at Preservation Corridor, New Orleans. Photograph: Alamy

Like quite a few some others, I saw most of my travel programs scuppered very last calendar year, including a road vacation from Nashville to New Orleans to coincide with the New Orleans jazz fest. The impetus for the journey had mainly occur about although binge-viewing the HBO sequence Treme. We’d compiled a playlist for our journey through Tennessee and Louisiana, but when it became clear that our desire of visiting venues this sort of as Preservation Hall in New Orleans wasn’t going to come about, we’d perform it at dwelling. This keep track of by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band normally lifts my spirits, receives me dancing and helps make me dead established on rebooking our vacation as quickly as it’s secure 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 audio, steeped in saudade (nostalgia or longing). I could have picked any range of Cesária tunes, but when I visited Santiago – major of the Cape Verde islands – it was funaná that turned the soundtrack of my vacation, blaring out of the packed alugueres (minibus taxis), industry stalls and bars. Funaná was banned by the Portuguese up till 1975 as they feared the tracks 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 many 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.

Train Tune by Sakar Khan

A person of the most atmospheric competition spots I’ve visited is the Mehrangarh Fort, residence of Riff – the Rajasthan Intercontinental Folks Competition, held just about every October throughout the harvest moon in Jodhpur. This colossal pink sandstone edifice reverberates with the sound of Rajasthani folks musicians such 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 whole-on immersive experience and to do it justice, a certain stage of stamina is needed as concerts begin at dawn, carry on through the warmth of the day, then keep on extensive into the evening. When I listen to the rasping appears of these ancient devices, I’m immediately transported back again to Jodhpur.

St Thomas by Sonny Rollins

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

© Supplied by The Guardian
The Jazz a Vienne competition, France. Photograph: Alamy

A person of the added benefits of finding out French and German (in all those content EU days) was currently being ready to expend 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 fantastic two-week jazz pageant held in the town’s Roman amphitheatre. I returned each individual summertime throughout the early 1990s, building lifelong friends and receiving a crash course in jazz in the course of action. Above the years I observed remarkable artists, including Ray Charles, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and Sonny Rollins, who continues to be just one of my favorite sax gamers. The practical experience grew to become the basis for my like of songs from all over the earth and my operate right now.

The Plateau by Jenny Sturgeon

I’ve usually observed ease and comfort in walking, and very last calendar year it took on even better relevance. So in between lockdowns, my husband or wife and I headed up to the Cairngorms to do some mountaineering. Just in advance of our trip I gained Jenny Sturgeon’s musical tribute to Nan Shepherd’s ebook about the Cairngorms, The Living Mountain. Each and every hike we embarked on would expose distinctive landscapes – and each individual variety of weather conceivable. Back in London, listening to Jenny’s album provides again memories of people mountains, primarily listening to the fowl tune on this opening observe, as Jenny sings: “Step on stage, foot by foot, we wander which is how we know, by the heather and the mud, the plateau ringing through our blood.

Depend Your Blessings by the Como Mamas

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

© Furnished by The Guardian
Porto Covo seaside, Alentejo. Photograph: Alamy

A single of my European pageant highlights in current several years was FMM Sines, held on Portugal’s wild and fairly untouristy Alentejo coast, in the cities of Porto Covo and Sines. A truly peaceful, welcoming vibe permeated the opening weekend in the seaside resort of Porto Covo, where a mixture viewers of locals and travellers congregated in the principal square. The Como Mamas, from Mississippi, ended up 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 accumulating. Since then, Depend Your Blessings has turn out to be a mantra, especially previous 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

© Delivered by The Guardian
Irish musicians at O’Donoghue’s pub, Dublin. Photograph: Hugh Reynolds/Alamy

One particular of the factors I sorely skip in the course of these socially distanced moments is those random discussions you strike up with comprehensive strangers about a pint. There is nowhere greater to do this than in Dublin, particularly in 1 of the city’s quite a few tunes pubs, this sort of 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 apparently a typical in pre-Covid situations. The mix of chat, beer and tunes is fantastic 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 all-around the globe, and a single of the points I most love about them is the communal listening practical experience. There’s one thing visceral about listening to music currently being executed stay with other men and women all around you. For me, San Salvador completely encapsulate this sensation. A sextet from Saint-Salvadour in south-west France, they sing in Occitan. There’s a serious physicality to their tunes and a little something extremely effective about the mix of voice and percussion. They generally end their sets with La Grande Folie – a track that resonates with these ridiculous times.

San Salvador are due to perform at Songlines Encounters Pageant at Kings Position in May (Covid allowing)