The 2018 editions of Firsthand Guide to Bled, Slovenia are now available in both paperback and Kindle format. The Shorter Edition has the basic information and reviews, Standard, information and interviews with more on Slovene wine and food and Special, which adds photos to the Standard.
The search continues. Undeterred by almost total failure to find music worth listening to in Montenegro we cross the border …
Starting at the beginning of March, I will be launching my new podcast. I will be talking about Technology, media, innovation, creativity and investment. Whatever tickles my fancy really – really. In the first episodes., guests will include people who are involved in creating virtual reality, there will be games developers, and I’ll be talking to some innovators – people who have struck out to do something new.
Gentle reader, I have failed. Aside from some rather cheesy (to my ears/eyes, anyway) “folk” videos and a few Eurovision entries, I can find no music from Montenegro. Here’s what I did find.
It is more than a month since my last post. It is more than seasonal torpidity that has kept me back. But it is largely. I’m fully conscious that I write this for myself – if anyone happens across it and reads it all the better. If you are that person I hope you enjoy it.
This instalment comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was supposed to be in Sarajevo this week last year, but I cancelled the trip when I saw the weather forecast. Looking at the street cam for Sarajevo, there is no snow there today.
The point of this blog in recent months has been to track my imaginary journey around the Mediterranean. Having …
After several days searching, I thought was going to get nowhere with Croatia. This tour began as an exploration of the coasts of the countries that are washed by the Med, but for this next section of the journey I am taking music from anywhere in the country I am exploring. I was just about ready to give up when I remembered the most underused resource in this journey – Ethnocloud.
The convenience: at one time I owned more than 5,000 of those vinyl albums. At one time or another the total, 10,000 would be a close approximation. I own none now. Precisely zero. Gave them all away. They took up so much room. But I have begun to buy books again. Paper books.
I started with great enthusiasm and energy finding and reading books to accompany me on the make-believe meander around the Med. When I reached Slovenia, I began to slow down for a brace of reasons. I hit a couple of difficult books that were not the page turners I prefer, and I had less time available.
So far … so good, but time to review the rules. To this point, the Mediterranean make-believe expedition has concentrated on coastal towns and regions. I don’t know whether I will be quite so strict for the second part of the trip beginning here in Slovenia where there is more to music than Laibach. A small country, but a big diversity of music.
Time for a breather and look back on the last few months’ music collecting. We started our journey in Gibralter, and I am pausing here on the doorstep of the Balkan peninsula. I hope you enjoy this music as much as I did. Do watch the videos, too.
Almost the last part of the of the Italian leg (sorry!) of this imaginary Mediterranean journey. Leaving Apulia and moving north, the plan now is to add “all of the rest” of the music that I have left behind so far, or can’t get a fix on exactly where musicians are from. The playlist is varied and draws mainly from the north east of Italy, but a few additions picked up along the way.
With life being a little less busy and enjoying the imaginary Meditteranean project, I’m getting more time to read. Project Med inspired me to engage with authors I might otherwise not know. At the same time, I am reading books I probably would usually reach for.
To the deep south of Italy to discover some of the most exciting and invigorating music that I have heard for years, all the more enjoyable as I have never heard of Pizzica music, seen such big tambourines or ever considered that at Italy’s heal there was such a concentration of superb musicians.
Finding music and literature from Rome, Naples and Florence on an imaginary journey around the Meditteranean.
It’s always the same. When I get excited about music I want to share it immediately. Even though, on this invented trip around the Med., I still have to pass through Rome and Italy, I’ve already discovered some of the music of Southern Italy. It is the most exciting I have heard on this voyage of the imagination. And I have to share some of it with you now.
Leaving Monaco with an Italian novel in my hand (set in Monaco) heading for North West Italy and music from Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Milan and Bologna.
As I continue my search for the best ethno/world music from the Mediterranean, (without leaving my home) I arrive in Monaco with all its soulless glamour, glitz, aspiration, but not much music to talk about.
My imaginary Mediterranean music tour continues. It was music from this region that twanged my interest in the search-the-Med-for-music trip. I have no idea how or when I came across them. The first is Dupain. who led me to La Mal Coiffée a book called Total Chaos and another band IAM. Here’s the story and the music.
I came across a couple of interesting and very useful resources which I want to let you know about. I’ll …
I was recently interviewed by email by Index on Censorship about podcasting. This is what I was asked and what …
I have tried very hard to trim down the playlists from Mediterranean Spain. I was aiming for 20. The final list has 50 and there were more I wanted to include. It is almost three hours long. I won’t be doing the same on YouTube.
The book for this first section is Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones. Marvellous. A challenging 700+ pages, but a beautiful read.
Catalonia, do you have a lot of music; and even more diversity than I was expecting, and a lot of protest which I suppose I was expecting. And there is Arabic, African, Chanteuse, Jazz (of many types), electro, experimental, early medieval European and some decidedly uncharacteristically odd without category. And a 3 hour playlist.
In my imaginary musical journey I decided to add some books to read along the way. I had already started to blog the journey and was re-reading A Colder War by Charles Cumming set in Istanbul when I had the idea. But where to start? Should the books be read at the time I am listening to the music of each country, or mix them up?
So far the best discovery of all the music in Valencia is the preservation and performance of early Spanish Music. The key figures seem to be based around one band, L’Ham de Foc and one individual in particular, Efrén López, who links to music well beyond Spain, into Persian, Ottoman genres. Also on the early music list are Mara Aranda and Capella de Ministrers.
A friend of a friend emailed me. He and his wife were going to Slovenia for a holiday and he would be grateful for any suggestions. The Visit Ljubljana website is excellent for places to go and things to do, but I think personal recommendations are better for restaurants and cafes (beats TripAdvisor hands down to actually speak to someone).
Last week an other friend of a relative said he was going to Ljubljana and Bled and asked for suggestions. So here are a few thoughts on restaurants in Ljubljana. Fir information on Bled, I have written this book.
The next stop on my make-believe music of the Mediterranean tour is Murcia. Aside from one discovery – Cuadrillas – the search is disappointing. But there are a couple of highlights for my rather paltry playlist – video and audio.
The next part of my imaginary journey around the Mediterranean –
music from Andalucía. If, when you think of Spain you see images of flamenco dancers, bull-fights and holidaymakers on packed summer beaches in soaring temperatures, then this is the Spain you are thinking about.
In the last post my imaginary journey was a walk through the border between Gibraltar and Spain. My intention was first to travel east exploring the sounds of Andalusia. And I will. But just as I was leaving the Rock, I read about Gibraltar Productions who run the Gibraltar World Music Festival. One of the artists that they represent is Jose Carlos Gomez. He is from Algeciras 20 kilometers on the other side of the Bay of Gibraltar.
The beginning of the journey and the beginning of the project. The search for interesting and challenging music around the Mediterranean starting in Gibraltar.