In this section feature music and songs that somehow have an impact on me during my nomadic life. As I am cycling mainly alone, music’s contribution to my organism in terms of dynamics and recovery is valuable. On the other hand, I will be continually meeting people from different origins and cultures. Therefore, I should be introduced to new music styles. I hope there is a way I can share some tracks in this section! Otherwise, you might hear some electronic and indie rock music that give me some company on the way 🙂
The purpose of the Jukebox is thus for you to share an earpiece with me while I am riding full speed down the valley or sweating painfully through the desert! Stop whatever you are doing and hop on my bike. Welcome on board!
A song I have been listening many times to even before arriving down under. Funny thing is, I only discovered over here that Tame Impala is actually an Australian band!
Again, a band I knew already but had no idea they were Australian. My Aussie friend Chloe explained me that this was one of those songs that would create instant happiness during student parties. Take me to your best friend’s house!
Now get ready for some exhilarating 3 minutes while Aussie country legend John Williamson keeps you entertained! In this song, he tries to console an emu (Australian ostrich) because it can’t fly. And the fans, they just love it!
Back to some really good sound by the Australian electro producer Flume. The build-up catches you and the unexpected drop is ridonkulously good. The video clip was recorded at the Sydney Opera House.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels in Australia are higher than in Europe, even during summer. Being located close to the ozone hole over the Antarctic means much higher, more severe levels of UV radiation get through to ground. Without surprise, Australians suffer the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This is why I have to spray my exposed body parts with 50+ sun cream at least 3 times a day. But listen to the lyrics, they give off positive vibes in times of struggle and doubts 🙂
Now Iggy Azalea is one of Australian’s mainstream music star I wouldn’t normally mention. Exception made with that track I listened to over and over again when I was still at University. Iggy Azalea explains in the song how she made it to the main stage, coming from… the red dirt. The red dirt is what I am longing for now, so this song is particularly appropriate. I’m sorry if the video clip includes obscene contents. I raped the repeat button myself, so what can I say?
My unnamed companion through the desert wasn’t a horse, nor was it an animal at all. It was my dear bicycle (“Oh really?”). I have been trying to personalize it and call “her” Adelaide. Sadly enough, it doesn’t pop up automatically in my mind. This is why I can relate to that oldie but goldie catchy song 🙂
This song is like magic to me, it always puts me in a good mood! I had good reasons to listen to it as I felt nostalgic about leaving Australia. The lyrics are a very good match to my current situation because they suggest you move on despite all the good moments you have had at the place ou are about to leave.
One of our outstanding hosts Muhammad in the Malaysian countryside introduced me to Malaysian indie-pop singer Liyana Fizi. She plays the leading role in her band called Estrella by mixing pop and folk with some jazzy bends. I am suggesting that song called “Stay” because it makes more sense considering goodbyes with my friend Muhammad were surprinsingly emotional and because it reminds me of one of my all-time favourite songs, which is The Fratellis – Whistle For The Choir. Coincidentally, I had Muhammad listen to the latter song which he posted on his FB wall the next day. Moreover, I will always remember playing that song at a school gig with my former band when I was still a rock star 😀
At the end of my stay in Thailand, I asked a bunch of guys I was binging whisky with what Thai music I should know. They played that song and I immediately gave them an unbelieving gaze! Why? That song is a a Thai version of What you know by Two Door Cinema Club! The guys couldn’t believe their ears when I played the original song. Disbelief, big laughters and more drinks followed ! 😀
Because the first song the guys gave me was not originally Thai, they put on other Thai songs. I don’t have many comments to give to describe these tracks however. In fact, the dozen guys I partied with on that night did not speak English at all! Google Translate saved the day but is still not good enough to make conversation. Anyway, I think this tracks sound nice. They actually put me in a good mood 🙂
In Cambodia, I was eager to explore the countryside instead of taking the national highway. It meant cycling on dirt roads instead of playing it easy on bitume. This is why I said goodbye to Macadam for a couple of days. One of my favourite tracks of probably my favourite French electronic musician 🙂
14. Chak Antong
You want to visit Cambodia but look cool at the same time? The play that music out loud in the street because it’s the hit of the moment! I keep hearing it everywhere anytime. The video clip is as sick as the tune. First, some ladies are dancing in a weird fashion, than a couple argues on a bicycle. This reminds me that travelling alone was the way to go! Thank God!
I am now suggesting you a totally different artist playing an evenly different style. Bob Dylan, alongisde Pink Floyd, are probably my favourite living legends. Indirectly, I gave you Blowin’ in the wind already through this blog post, so I am playing another track here. A nostalgic and romantic one. In parallel with the music itself, it makes sense to talk about Bob Dylan now as he is reknown for his political writings in favour of peace and justice. To give you an example, he hinted at the Vietnam war on a few occasions. And I am now cycling in Laos, a country indirectly devastated by the Vietnam war.
16. Matteo – Panama
That song by Romanian singer Matteo sounds familiar to me, but I can’t tell whether it’s because it is catchy or because I had heared it before. Apologies if I am not playing the quality music you were hoping for. I am filling this Jukebox line-up with songs that I keep hearing or that are meaningful in my travels. In this case, Lao people seem to like that song a lot because I have heared it many times already!
“Little by little” is what went through my mind while climbing my very first pass worthy of the name in Laos. While the first verse sounds good on a first listen, I have to disagree with it because I am not dreaming my dreams but living them instead. Happy to suffer, yay! 😀
We the people fight for our existence
We don’t claim to be perfect but we’re free
We dream our dreams alone with no resistance
Fading like the stars we wish to be
This is it, I made it to almighty China! And while I don’t use my vpn to surf on social networks, I couldn’t resist the temptation to use it in order to fill my travel jukebox with some sounds labelled “Made in China”. To begin with, let me get lost in contradiction and post my favourite song of the brilliant Katie Melua, who is anything but Chinese. What’s more, her song has little to do with China and bicycles, despite its name! However, her soft melody has the power to soothe me in times of anger and frustration. Definitely a good fit and hit in the music machine here.
This is a song from a popular Chinese TV show called “Eternal love”. The first time I heard it, I was in a car whose driver had saved me from torrential rains in the Yunnan mountains. We listened to it the next morning again, driving through the magnificence formed by the foggy mountains. A song inspired by China’s greatness. Undoubtedly a very beautiful memory on a personal note.
When I listen to this beautiful song, I think of Dunhuang’s sand dunes and crescent lake. In fact, that track is played over and at the national park. I feel for the staff taking care of the site because they must come to a point where they can’t stand the tune anymore!
21. Police – Every Breath You Take
Speaking of songs we have heard too much for too long, Every Breath I take is a classic that keeps getting harder for me to enjoy. However, my Jukebox is not only about what I like but also about what shapes my adventure. Beyond any doubt, coping with th cops in Xinjiang was a big annoying challenge in China. I had this tune constantly in my mind.
22. Pink Floyd – Bike
You probably know Queen’s hit called “Bicycle”, that one where Freddy keeps shouting that he wants to ride it where he likes. On the other hand, what you may not know is that bicycles generated similar inspiration to Pink Floyd’s founder Syd Barrett. In 1967, they released “Bike” in their first studio album. Despite Syd Barrett’s quick mental deterioration, this was just the start in their progressive and experimental journey. I discovered that tune on my bike riding through beautiful Gansu province.
23. Dave Brubeck – Take Five
Saxophone time! My instrument bag does not go unnoticed, and when somebody asks me to play a tune, all I can think of is Take Five. It has been too long since I have played it so I have got a lot of work to do to pay tribute to that jazz classic!
And this, kids, is how I started learning Russian. With a catchy pop song that gave me some valuable basic Russian knowledge!
The title of the song shows my general mood during my trip. I may have difficult days sometimes, and I may be angry at myself for keeping losing equipment on the way. However, I remember in those less funny times that what really matters is my current good shape and health. Making the most of them as long as I can has always been a great source of motivation!
26. Local Tajik music (and me dancing :D)
About the central Asia region, I thought showing a real musical scene would be the best thing to do. I was chilling at road restaurant when two guys were celebrating their birthday. Icing on the cake : I played and active role when I was dragged to the “dancefloor” 😂
Kyrgyzstan and Tadjikistan are both mountainous and therefore challenging countries. Every now and then, a musical therapy to get energized was needed. Moderat was the remedy 😏
Do Panjereh, two windows. The romantic drama of the impossible love between two windows sharing the same wall. Their captivity is their sole reason to be alive. Their freedom equals death but is their only way to end up together. Inevitably, this persian version of Romeo and Juliet highlights the predominance of drama and sorrow in Iran’s culture. While Googoosh is an icon of persian music, she can’t perform in Iran as women are not allowed to sing in public. I really have a crush on this masterpiece. Listening to thisas I was crossing empty deserts made me feel like a conqueror with a big heart. Now out of Iran, Do Panjereh still gives me the goosebumps.
Close your eyes and wander on the cracked soil of Iranian deserts. You are running out of water. Lucidity loss takes over as you stagger and stumble against small rocks. In an attempt to stand up, you eventually fall to the ground for good. Your dizziness and dry throat are your last signs of awareness until Mohsen, Namjoo and Sherek kill you off with this inevitable coup de grace.
30. Toto – Africa
OK, I can’t be more clichey on this one, but Africa – Toto HAD to feature in the list! Nobody will argue, and it’s an amazing feeling to play it out loud on a dusty red dirt road through Tanzania!!
Well, guess what? I played that song many times in Ethiopia, in my open bag as well so that it would entertain passing-by Ethiopians as well! Now that I’m looking it up on Youtube, it seems the singer is Eritrean! Eritrea and Ethiopia (especially Tigray) have similar cultures; it seems Ethiopia only knows one kind of musical rythm. This one is one good example of a very dense and sound-alike musical library!
32. Kokota piano!
Neighbouring South Africa, spending 3 lazy weeks in Francistown (hehe), I got familiar with SA black house music! I thought I would start listening to western-known artists like Die Antwoord, but this house tunes keep me going through the headwind i’m currently undergoing in Zimbabwe… Should you like Kokota piano ( I think it’s Zulu for “knock hard”), try Gugulethu (a township of Cape Town). Pretty damn good!