I suspect that I’m addicted to music (along with all the other things). A journey without a soundtrack is almost a journey not worth having, and a playlist can tell a story as well or better than any article. For this reason, I’ve sharing what I was listening to throughout my six months. You can check it out on Spotify via the link, or browse individually below.
Balderrama – Mercedes Sosa
Mercedes Sosa, affectionately called ‘La Negra,’ is a legend of South America. Her songs are rooted in the folk music of her native Argentina, but her voice came to embody the spirit of peoples across the continent. In fact, I was listening to this song months before I ever came to South America. It plays in the final scene of Steven Soderbergh’s two-part biopic on Che Guevara, another Argentinian icon. The film and the song both helped me practise my Spanish and, later, helped me to charm more than one Argentinian surprised to discover ‘La Negra’ known as far away as Australia.
Oil – Oliver Schories
Another pre-trip song that carried all the through the trip. Schories’ smooth, driving techno track is one of my favourites of the genre and an essential listen whenever I was taking off in an aeroplane to a new destination.
Cariñito – Los Hijos del Sol
Another South American classic, this one from Colombia. I first heard it played by friends at the Rainbow Gathering, most notable as we sped back from our food mission in the back of a truck, singing ‘Aiiiiiii cariño!’ all the way.
Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club
Of course, when it comes to South American anthems, almost nothing comes close to the Cuban flavour of ‘Chan Chan.’
Love Her Madly – The Doors
This and other ‘Doors’ classics were blasted by one Chilean truck-driver all the way through the desert to drown out the noise of the road – the AC was broken and the windows permanently down. Thus, it was emblazoned into my memories of one of the wildest adventures of my trip.
Britannia – Undercatt
But, when it comes to being on the move. Nothing beats a solid bass line and a melody with just the right combination of wistful melancholy and irresistible momentum.
El Condor Pasa – Los Incas
Written in 1913 by the Peruvian Daniel Alomía Robles, this one has been covered by thousands of different artists, including Los Incas. You might recognize part of the melody from Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence,’ and they even did a full cover of the song with added lyrics on the album Bridge Over Troubled Water, after performing together with Los Incas in Paris in 1965.
Sol – Alef
A beautifully smooth journey of a track by Greek producer Alef that transports you half-way around the world with ever needing to leave your house.
Trape La Verite – Yemen Blues
One of the most unique sounds I have come across, this song was perfect for maintaining a state of serenity while strolling through the chaos of a new city.
Nànnuflày – Tinariwen
As you can tell from the previous entry, I went through a bit of a North African fusion period. This bluesy-rock flavoured track from Malian band Tinariwen is the best of the lot.
La Petit Mar – Titi Robin
French composer Titi Robin blends two of my favourite cultures – Arabic and Spanish – together into an exhilarating odyssey of a song that will coax your hands into clapping without you even realising.
Ayahuasca – Liquid Bloom & Poranguí
Having taken part in an ayahuasca ceremony (read about it here) I can attest to the importance of the music that is played throughout. I can only wonder what effect this song might have in such a context.
One More Dance, Jules – Oliver Schories
I’m sorry, I can’t resist putting another from Schories. I saw him live in Melbourne just before I left and it was an experience I’ll never forget. You know you can’t say no to that melody!
Solitary Daze – Maceo Plex & Gabriel Ananda
So, after some flirtations with other genres, we’re now back definitively back in techno territory. Funnily enough, I don’t think I went out to a single techno club in South America. This must have been compensation.
Sunset – Oliver Schories (Joris Delacroix Remix)
Just one more from the man – this time, it was shown to me by a friend on my yoga course in Peru. The title says it all – a perfect song to watch the sun go down on another crazy day.
Dancing People Are Never Wrong – The Bianca Story (Jan Blomqvist Remix)
Another recommendation from the Peruvian yoga course. The vocal in this really takes me back to the end of high school and those early EDM tracks.
Acid Pauli’s ‘Eulogy to Eunice’ was one of the anthems of my Australian ‘17/’18 Summer. With this one, he’s done it again.
The Last Dance – Eagles & Butterflies
This was the song that was playing as I emerged from the subway into the Plaça d’Espanya on my first night in Barcelona, having returned to Spain after my time in South America. A perfect way to come back to a city I had made so many memories in already.
Innerbloom – Rufus (Sasha Remix)
Rufus’ Innerbloom is up there with my favourite songs of all time. That it took me so long to discover such a beautiful remix is something of a travesty, really.
Dust in the Wind – Kansas
A little out of left field, but let me explain. About halfway through my trip, I purchased a violin, teaching myself to play as I travelled. ‘El Condor Pasa’ was one of the first songs I learnt on the road, and ‘Dust in the Wind’ one of the last. May well have more to say about all that in another post, though…
Koop Island Blues – Koop
To tell you the truth, I’m not actually sure how this one managed to sneak onto the list, or even where I first heard it. Anyway, who doesn’t love a clarinet?
Sun My Sweet Sun – Red Axes (Konstantin Sibold Afro Tech Remix)
But we can’t stay away from the techno for long. The rising and falling of the deep synths has something of the opera of Stephan Bodzin in it, while the percussion ensures things don’t get too heavy.
Gracias A La Vida – Violeta Parra
And, finally, actually one of the first songs I was introduced to on my trip. Violeta Parra is one of Chile’s national treasures, and ‘Gracias a la Vida’ her most famous song. It was one I returned to again and again, in times of celebration and in times of hardship, as a reminder to forever be grateful for whatever life brings.