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

© Presented by The Guardian Photograph: Alamy Zorba’s Dance by Mikis Theodorakis © Photograph: Alamy



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


© Presented 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, known as Bitori, on stage with bass player Danilo Tavares.

Some of my fondest childhood recollections are of relatives holidays to Greece. These days Zorba’s Dance is undeniably a bit of a cliche, but when I listen to that gradual bouzouki intro, I’m reminded of my father, who would set this LP on following drunken dinners and get started dancing the sirtaki. I watched Zorba the Greek for the initially time throughout lockdown last year when I came across it in my dad’s DVD assortment. I was surprised by how substantially it affected me, producing me pine for Greece – and for my dad, 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


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

Womad has been the supply of so lots of of my musical introductions: it was there, in 2007, that I initial observed Mari Boine – the unofficial ambassador of Sámi songs – carry out live. It commenced a fascination with Sámi tradition and joik, the distinct guttural song model of the indigenous people today of northern Scandinavia. Various a long time later I was invited to Kautokeino, way up earlier the Arctic Circle around Boine’s dwelling of Karasjok, for the Sámi Easter festival. It felt like a crash class in all points to do with joik and reindeer, but it also gave me an priceless perception into Sámi heritage and the people’s marriage with individuals who colonised their land. These days the Sámi have their have parliament, flag and countrywide 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 lots of other individuals, I noticed most of my journey strategies scuppered previous 12 months, like a road trip from Nashville to New Orleans to coincide with the New Orleans jazz fest. The impetus for the journey experienced largely occur about although binge-seeing the HBO series Treme. We’d compiled a playlist for our journey through Tennessee and Louisiana, but when it turned clear that our dream of traveling to venues these as Preservation Hall in New Orleans wasn’t heading to come about, we’d engage in it at household. This keep track of by the Preservation Corridor Jazz Band generally lifts my spirits, receives me dancing and would make me lifeless established on rebooking our journey as shortly as it is safe 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 amount of Cesária tracks, but when I frequented Santiago – greatest of the Cape Verde islands – it was funaná that became the soundtrack of my excursion, blaring out of the packed alugueres (minibus taxis), market stalls and bars. Funaná was banned by the Portuguese up until eventually 1975 as they feared the tunes in Creole had been subversive and its frenetic dance rhythms immoral. Septuagenarian accordion participant Victor Tavares, AKA Bitori, is the genre’s unlikely star, mostly 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.

Teach Song by Sakar Khan

Just one of the most atmospheric festival locations I’ve frequented is the Mehrangarh Fort, dwelling of Riff – the Rajasthan Worldwide People Pageant, held each October all through the harvest moon in Jodhpur. This colossal red sandstone edifice reverberates with the audio of Rajasthani folks musicians such as Manganiyar legends Lakha Khan and the late Sakar Khan, masters of regular bowed, stringed devices the sindhi sarangi and the kamayacha. Riff is a full-on immersive expertise and to do it justice, a specified stage of endurance is necessary as concerts start out at dawn, have on by means of the heat of the working day, then proceed lengthy into the night time. Whenever I listen to the rasping appears of these ancient instruments, I’m quickly 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 competition, France. Photograph: Alamy

A single of the advantages of finding out French and German (in people joyful EU times) was becoming equipped to invest a year as an English language assistant in a school in Vienne, just south of Lyon. After my stint instructing, I volunteered at Jazz à Vienne, a fantastic two-7 days jazz competition held in the town’s Roman amphitheatre. I returned every single summer time during the early 1990s, generating lifelong buddies and obtaining a crash study course in jazz in the method. Around the several years I noticed incredible artists, including Ray Charles, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and Sonny Rollins, who continues to be just one of my favourite sax players. The working experience became the foundation for my enjoy of new music from about the planet and my operate today.

The Plateau by Jenny Sturgeon

I have usually identified comfort in going for walks, and very last calendar year it took on even increased importance. So involving lockdowns, my spouse and I headed up to the Cairngorms to do some mountaineering. Just just before our trip I been given Jenny Sturgeon’s musical tribute to Nan Shepherd’s reserve about the Cairngorms, The Dwelling Mountain. Every single hike we embarked on would expose distinct landscapes – and just about every form of weather conditions possible. Again in London, listening to Jenny’s album provides back again memories of these mountains, especially hearing the bird track on this opening track, as Jenny sings: “Step on stage, foot by foot, we wander that’s how we know, through the heather and the mud, the plateau ringing by means 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

One of my European pageant highlights in current many years was FMM Sines, held on Portugal’s wild and fairly untouristy Alentejo coast, in the towns of Porto Covo and Sines. A truly calm, 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 main sq.. The Como Mamas, from Mississippi, have been not known to me, but turned out to be a revelation. As the a few singers took to the stage, the environment reworked into a little something resembling a devoted congregation at a gospel accumulating. Considering that then, Count Your Blessings has come to be a mantra, specially very 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

A person of the issues I sorely overlook all through these socially distanced instances is people random discussions you strike up with comprehensive strangers above a pint. There is nowhere far better to do this than in Dublin, specially in one particular of the city’s quite a few audio pubs, such as The Cobblestone or O’Donoghue’s. I haven’t been lucky more than enough to see the Irish singer Lisa O’Neill at a session, though she was apparently a frequent in pre-Covid periods. The combination of chat, beer and new music is ideal 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 over the environment, and a single of the things I most get pleasure from about them is the communal listening experience. There’s anything visceral about hearing audio staying executed live with other men and women around you. For me, San Salvador flawlessly encapsulate this feeling. A sextet from Saint-Salvadour in south-west France, they sing in Occitan. There’s a genuine physicality to their music and some thing exceptionally effective about the combination of voice and percussion. They often finish their sets with La Grande Folie – a tune that resonates with these outrageous instances.

San Salvador are thanks to execute at Songlines Encounters Competition at Kings Location in May possibly (Covid permitting)