Zorba’s Dance by Mikis Theodorakis
Some of my fondest childhood recollections are of family members holidays to Greece. These times Zorba’s Dance is undeniably a little bit of a cliche, but when I listen to that sluggish bouzouki intro, I’m reminded of my father, who would place this LP on following drunken dinners and start off dancing the sirtaki. I watched Zorba the Greek for the first time during lockdown past year when I arrived throughout it in my dad’s DVD selection. I was surprised by how a great deal it affected me, producing me pine for Greece – and for my dad, who I realise appeared remarkably like Zorba (played by Anthony Quinn).
Vuoi Vuoi Me by Mari Boine
Womad has been the resource of so lots of of my musical introductions: it was there, in 2007, that I 1st observed Mari Boine – the unofficial ambassador of Sámi songs – carry out reside. It started off a fascination with Sámi society and joik, the distinctive guttural track fashion of the indigenous people today of northern Scandinavia. Several decades afterwards I was invited to Kautokeino, way up past the Arctic Circle near Boine’s home of Karasjok, for the Sámi Easter pageant. It felt like a crash training course in all points to do with joik and reindeer, but it also gave me an priceless insight into Sámi background and the people’s romantic relationship with those who colonised their land. These days the Sámi have their very own parliament, flag and national working day (6 February).
Which is It! by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Like lots of other people, I observed most of my vacation designs scuppered previous yr, together with a street excursion from Nashville to New Orleans to coincide with the New Orleans jazz fest. The impetus for the vacation experienced mainly appear about when binge-looking at the HBO series Treme. We’d compiled a playlist for our journey by Tennessee and Louisiana, but when it turned distinct that our desire of going to venues this sort of as Preservation Corridor in New Orleans wasn’t going to transpire, we’d enjoy it at residence. This keep track of by the Preservation Corridor Jazz Band generally lifts my spirits, receives me dancing and would make me useless set on rebooking our excursion as before long 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 music, steeped in saudade (nostalgia or longing). I could have picked any number of Cesária songs, but when I visited Santiago – premier of the Cape Verde islands – it was funaná that grew to become the soundtrack of my journey, blaring out of the packed alugueres (minibus taxis), sector stalls and bars. Funaná was banned by the Portuguese up right up until 1975 as they feared the tunes in Creole were being subversive and its frenetic dance rhythms immoral. Septuagenarian accordion participant Victor Tavares, AKA Bitori, is the genre’s unlikely star, largely 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.
Prepare Song by Sakar Khan
One particular of the most atmospheric pageant spots I’ve visited is the Mehrangarh Fort, dwelling of Riff – the Rajasthan International Folks Pageant, held every Oct in the course of the harvest moon in Jodhpur. This colossal pink sandstone edifice reverberates with the seem of Rajasthani folks musicians these 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 complete-on immersive practical experience and to do it justice, a certain amount of endurance is required as concert events commence at dawn, carry on by the warmth of the working day, then keep on prolonged into the night. Each time I hear the rasping seems of these historical devices, I’m quickly transported again to Jodhpur.
St Thomas by Sonny Rollins
A person of the rewards of learning French and German (in individuals satisfied EU days) was currently being equipped to expend a year as an English language assistant in a faculty in Vienne, just south of Lyon. Immediately after my stint training, I volunteered at Jazz à Vienne, a wonderful two-week jazz festival held in the town’s Roman amphitheatre. I returned each and every summer months throughout the early 1990s, building lifelong buddies and finding a crash study course in jazz in the system. In excess of the a long time I observed outstanding 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 players. The knowledge turned the foundation for my love of songs from close to the entire world and my operate nowadays.
The Plateau by Jenny Sturgeon
I’ve always located consolation in strolling, and very last year it took on even greater great importance. So concerning lockdowns, my husband or wife and I headed up to the Cairngorms to do some mountaineering. Just ahead of our journey I acquired Jenny Sturgeon’s musical tribute to Nan Shepherd’s book about the Cairngorms, The Dwelling Mountain. Each individual hike we embarked on would expose unique landscapes – and every single form of climate imaginable. Back again in London, listening to Jenny’s album delivers back again memories of those people mountains, specially listening to the bird tune on this opening track, as Jenny sings: “Step on action, foot by foot, we wander that is how we know, as a result of the heather and the mud, the plateau ringing by way of our blood.”
Count Your Blessings by the Como Mamas
One particular of my European festival highlights in new years was FMM Sines, held on Portugal’s wild and rather untouristy Alentejo coastline, in the towns of Porto Covo and Sines. A seriously relaxed, welcoming vibe permeated the opening weekend in the seaside vacation resort of Porto Covo, in which a combination viewers of locals and travellers congregated in the primary sq.. The Como Mamas, from Mississippi, have been not known to me, but turned out to be a revelation. As the 3 singers took to the phase, the atmosphere reworked into something resembling a devoted congregation at a gospel accumulating. Given that then, Count Your Blessings has come to be a mantra, particularly final yr.
Pothole in the Sky by Lisa O’Neill
1 of the points I sorely overlook through these socially distanced periods is individuals random discussions you strike up with entire strangers around a pint. There is nowhere much better to do this than in Dublin, especially in a person of the city’s a lot of songs pubs, these as The Cobblestone or O’Donoghue’s. I haven’t been blessed plenty of to see the Irish singer Lisa O’Neill at a session, despite the fact that she was evidently a common in pre-Covid times. The mix of chat, beer and songs is best and I just cannot 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 1 of the issues I most delight in about them is the communal listening experience. There is something visceral about listening to audio remaining carried out dwell with other folks close to you. For me, San Salvador perfectly encapsulate this emotion. A sextet from Saint-Salvadour in south-west France, they sing in Occitan. There is a serious physicality to their audio and anything very impressive about the mixture of voice and percussion. They constantly finish their sets with La Grande Folie – a tune that resonates with these crazy times.
• San Salvador are thanks to perform at Songlines Encounters Festival at Kings Put in Could (Covid allowing)