23 April 2006

Musical Wonders

teatro amazonas dome 2Image by nicholaslaughlin via FlickrWhat are the most amazing musical spectacles on the planet? (Really, what good are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon without a soundtrack?) An article by Robert Everett-Green in yesterday's Globe and Mail lists his seven musical wonders of the world as:

  1. Teatro Amazonas Opera House (Manaus, Brazil)
  2. Barcelona
  3. Bayreuth Festival, Bayreuth, Germany
  4. Austin, Texas
  5. Stars of the White Nights, St. Petersburg, Russia
  6. London
  7. Calgary Folk Music Festival
Read the full article to learn what's so interesting about his selections.

SoundRoots hasn't been to all of these places, and undoubtedly has different criteria. So here's our own list of where we've been, and where we'd like to go:
  1. The Fes Festival of Sacred World Music, Fes, Morocco: The largest, oldest annual global sacred music festival.
  2. Live performance of Kecak (Monkey Chant), Bali, Indonesia: The tale of the Hindu classic Ramayana told in dance and chant. Astounding.
  3. Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle, USA: One of the largest free folk/world festivals in the USA, always with new discoveries and throngs of music lovers
  4. Buskers, anywhere: Music in its rawest form, with no barriers (record label, advertising, hype, MySpace) between the artist and the listener. The music may be sublime or insipid, and payment is optional. When it's good, it can be very, very good.
  5. World Rhythm Festival, Seattle, USA: The largest free rhythm festival in the USA, with world-class performances and workshops in a vast array of world rhythm styles.
  6. WOMAD USA: R.I.P.
  7. Silence: Any place devoid of the sound of cars, planes, voices, music, industrial noise, cell phones -- and rich with the sound of wind, water, creatures.
What are your musical wonders?

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Anonymous said...

- Stax Records, Memphis, TN
- Sun Records, Memphis, TN
- Motown Records, Detroit, MI
- Lisbon, Portugal - fado and the sounds of the gitarra

SpinTheGlobe said...

Good ones - Mrs. SoundRoots also mentioned Stax & Motown on her list. Thinking of cities, I don't know how I left New Orleans off my list. Maybe because of the current uncertainly surrounding the rebuilding, but N.O. looms large in my musical landscape, with jazz, blues, Caribbean, and particularly those wonderful brass Mardi Gras bands. So strike the defunct WOMAD, and add in New Orleans.

Runners up (in the festivals subcategory): the Rainforest Music Festival in Malaysia (I think), the Festival in the Desert in Mali, and WOMAD festivals elsewhere around the world.