10 songs that deliver back 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.

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Cape Verde accordionist Victor Tavares, recognised as Bitori, on phase with bass player Danilo Tavares.

Some of my fondest childhood reminiscences are of family members holidays to Greece. These days 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 place this LP on just after drunken dinners and start out dancing the sirtaki. I watched Zorba the Greek for the very first time all through lockdown last calendar year when I arrived throughout it in my dad’s DVD collection. I was stunned by how a great deal it impacted me, producing me pine for Greece – and for my dad, 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 phase in Norway. Photograph: Gonzales Photo/Alamy

Womad has been the supply of so a lot of of my musical introductions: it was there, in 2007, that I initially observed Mari Boine – the unofficial ambassador of Sámi audio – conduct live. It commenced a fascination with Sámi society and joik, the distinct guttural track model of the indigenous persons of northern Scandinavia. Several several years later on I was invited to Kautokeino, way up past the Arctic Circle in the vicinity of Boine’s house of Karasjok, for the Sámi Easter competition. It felt like a crash program in all matters to do with joik and reindeer, but it also gave me an priceless perception into Sámi historical past and the people’s partnership with these who colonised their land. These times the Sámi have their possess parliament, flag and countrywide 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

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Jazz at Preservation Corridor, New Orleans. Photograph: Alamy

Like quite a few some others, I noticed most of my journey ideas scuppered previous 12 months, including a highway excursion from Nashville to New Orleans to coincide with the New Orleans jazz fest. The impetus for the vacation experienced largely arrive about even though binge-viewing the HBO collection Treme. We’d compiled a playlist for our journey by way of Tennessee and Louisiana, but when it turned very clear that our dream of going to venues these as Preservation Corridor in New Orleans wasn’t going to take place, we’d perform it at residence. This observe by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band constantly lifts my spirits, gets me dancing and makes me dead set on rebooking our vacation as quickly as it is harmless 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 tunes, steeped in saudade (nostalgia or longing). I could have picked any quantity of Cesária music, but when I frequented Santiago – largest of the Cape Verde islands – it was funaná that became the soundtrack of my journey, blaring out of the packed alugueres (minibus taxis), market stalls and bars. Funaná was banned by the Portuguese up until finally 1975 as they feared the songs in Creole were being subversive and its frenetic dance rhythms immoral. Septuagenarian accordion participant Victor Tavares, AKA Bitori, is the genre’s unlikely star, mainly many thanks to singer Chando Graciosa who persuaded him to history this in 1997, and to Samy Ben Redjeb of Analog Africa, who rereleased it in 2016.

Practice Track by Sakar Khan

Just one of the most atmospheric competition places I have frequented is the Mehrangarh Fort, dwelling of Riff – the Rajasthan International Folk Pageant, held just about every Oct through the harvest moon in Jodhpur. This colossal red sandstone edifice reverberates with the sound of Rajasthani people musicians these as Manganiyar legends Lakha Khan and the late Sakar Khan, masters of conventional bowed, stringed instruments the sindhi sarangi and the kamayacha. Riff is a total-on immersive practical experience and to do it justice, a specific amount of stamina is required as concert events begin at dawn, have on as a result of the heat of the day, then carry on lengthy into the night time. Each time I hear the rasping appears of these historic 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

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The Jazz a Vienne pageant, France. Photograph: Alamy

One particular of the positive aspects of finding out French and German (in those joyful EU times) was getting ready to shell out a yr as an English language assistant in a faculty in Vienne, just south of Lyon. Just after my stint educating, I volunteered at Jazz à Vienne, a great two-week jazz festival held in the town’s Roman amphitheatre. I returned just about every summer months through the early 1990s, making lifelong close friends and finding a crash study course in jazz in the course of action. Above the years I observed incredible artists, together with Ray Charles, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and Sonny Rollins, who remains one of my favourite sax gamers. The knowledge grew to become the foundation for my like of audio from all-around the entire world and my work now.

The Plateau by Jenny Sturgeon

I’ve constantly uncovered consolation in going for walks, and past year it took on even bigger relevance. So amongst lockdowns, my partner and I headed up to the Cairngorms to do some hiking. Just before our vacation I obtained Jenny Sturgeon’s musical tribute to Nan Shepherd’s ebook about the Cairngorms, The Living Mountain. Each and every hike we embarked on would reveal distinct landscapes – and every single sort of weather imaginable. Back again in London, listening to Jenny’s album delivers back again memories of people mountains, specifically listening to the bird music on this opening keep track of, as Jenny sings: “Step on step, foot by foot, we walk that is how we know, as a result of the heather and the mud, the plateau ringing by means of our blood.

Rely 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 seaside, Alentejo. Photograph: Alamy

Just one of my European festival highlights in new a long time was FMM Sines, held on Portugal’s wild and rather untouristy Alentejo coastline, in the towns of Porto Covo and Sines. A really calm, helpful vibe permeated the opening weekend in the seaside vacation resort of Porto Covo, wherever a mixture audience of locals and travellers congregated in the primary square. The Como Mamas, from Mississippi, had been unknown to me, but turned out to be a revelation. As the three singers took to the phase, the environment reworked into one thing resembling a devoted congregation at a gospel accumulating. Since then, Count Your Blessings has become a mantra, notably last 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 particular of the issues I sorely skip throughout these socially distanced occasions is all those random discussions you strike up with complete strangers over a pint. There’s nowhere far better to do this than in Dublin, specifically in a single of the city’s lots of new music pubs, these as The Cobblestone or O’Donoghue’s. I have not been blessed sufficient to see the Irish singer Lisa O’Neill at a session, despite the fact that she was apparently a common in pre-Covid instances. The mix of chat, beer and tunes is best and I can not wait to revisit.

La Grande Folie by San Salvador

Most of the travelling I do as editor of Songlines is to festivals all-around the planet, and a single of the items I most delight in about them is the communal listening working experience. There is a thing visceral about listening to music staying executed reside with other men and women all around you. For me, San Salvador properly encapsulate this sensation. A sextet from Saint-Salvadour in south-west France, they sing in Occitan. There is a true physicality to their tunes and a thing incredibly powerful about the mixture of voice and percussion. They constantly finish their sets with La Grande Folie – a tune that resonates with these crazy periods.

San Salvador are owing to carry out at Songlines Encounters Competition at Kings Place in Might (Covid permitting)