By: Serline Coelho
It has been a year or so since COVID-19 effectively hit the world and started spreading its ruin into our lives. It is not as if life was easy before the pandemic, but so many things we used to take for granted are now out of reach. From late-night dinners at local restaurants to Sunday walks with friends, there are a lot of routine experiences we are now eager to have again.
Above all, I must say that what I miss the most is traveling and exploring new places. For my wanderlusting soul, nothing compares to that exciting feeling of buying an airplane ticket. There is something special about the days preceding a trip and all the little details involved in it--packing your favorite clothes and snacks, looking up tourist spots to visit, discovering the local cuisine and restaurants...I miss the drive to the airport and watching all kinds of people rushing through escalators and checkpoints to catch their flight. Quite honestly, I even miss getting in the long lines preceding boarding and that very peculiar scent only airports have - almost like an omelet of cultures mixed in altogether in one place.
With safety restrictions and social distancing, it is as tough as ever to travel. Still, many of us are in dire need of seeing the sky from a different latitude; many of us are in dire need of adventures. While traveling is out of the picture for now, there is something else that can help fill this void: music! Nothing stops us from using music to break down geographical barriers and transcend cultures across the globe into our spirit. That is ultimately what the following playlist attempts to do.
This journey will start in the United States and proceed with stops in Brazil, Lebanon, Rwanda, Russia, Cambodia, and France.
Buckle up, press play, and relax!
“The Wayside” by Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown
TBSD was started in Nashville, Tennessee, by prodigy guitarist Tyler Bryant. With promising albums and original lyrics, the band fights to keep rock alive in the music scene. Their songs are a great example of how songwriting and poetry make for a powerful combination.
“Eu” by Mariana Froes
Mariana Froes is a Brazilian singer and songwriter. The 18-year-old artist has compositions that carry a unique identity and connect to people of all ages and backgrounds. She moves her music through Brazilian rhythms with sensitivity and deep perspective. Her voice and tone bring to light the power of melancholy.
“Saalouny el Nas” by Fairuz
Fairuz is a Lebanese singer who is considered by many as one of the most influential singers of all time in the Arab world. With a more than 50-year-old career, Fairuz is popularly known as “the soul of Lebanon.” Her yearning transcends generations worldwide and is often described to have a “prayer-like” tone.
“Solo” by Nel Ngabo
Nel Ngabo is a Rwandan R&B singer who dreamed of being an artist at an early age. His musical journey started in 2017 when he graduated high school and first entered a studio to record a single. Since then, the young musician has encountered many obstacles in the industry, but his perseverance has been paying off since his music has recently gained attention for its originality and warm rhythms.
“Капкан” by Mot
Mot is a well-known Russian rapper who writes thoughtful and poetic music. With his overflowing amount of creativity and the desire to express existence through writing, Mot found in hip-hop an opportunity to turn feelings and experiences into tangible concepts. In 2006, after years of solely keeping his music in a voice recorder, he decided to pursue music as a career and started recording in a professional studio. His music is appreciated by people all over the world due to his serene vocals and conceptual lyrics.
“Songsa Samlanh Chet” by Sinn Sisamouth
Sinn Sisamouth was an influential Cambodian singer and songwriter in the 1950-70s. His music helped develop what is known as the “Cambodian rock style” and blended traditional Khmer music elements with rock and roll and blues. His voice was well-modulated, and his rhythms continue to play a significant role in Cambodian culture even though his career was cut short following his disappearance. It is uncertain what exactly happened to him; however, he is likely to have been a victim of the Khmer Rouge in the 70s due to his rising popularity in Cambodia. It is estimated that he wrote over one thousand songs. Many of them were copied and sold without any rights going to his family.
“Je suis libre” by IGIT
IGIT is a French singer and songwriter who gained attention after participating in the show The Voice France. In his own words, IGIT “is a voice, a hoarse tone that alone tells a story.” His affinities with blues and folk help bring alive colorful rhythms that come together in his songs. His lyrics often speak of freedom and inner resilience.
Graphics: Elijah Sala
Editor: Tony Ninov