We talk a lot about our additional services. After all, they are one of the key things that sets us apart from the competition, and even more important in the new normal. But our regional playlists are one of the services we don't often bang the drum (excuse the pun) about.
The playlists are designed to tantalise the tastebuds before you travel; to soundtrack your trip while you're away, and to act as a reminder of happy times when you're back home. They've been evolving over the years because there are some true music fanatics in the Original Travel team who are constantly on the listen out for new music from around the world while on their research trips and holidays, supplemented with additional recommendations from our global network of clued-up local Concierges.
Normally we only share a link to the relevant regional playlist (North America, Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa & the Middle East, Asia and Australasia) on Spotify (or Deezer) when clients book a trip, but while we're all unable to travel we're making these playlists available for anyone to enjoy.
Our favourite? Without doubt the Africa & Middle East playlist because of the sheer diversity of sonic treats from the region. There's a lot of work by Malian and other West African artists because we love how the region's music has influenced music around the world. West African slaves shipped to the cotton plantations of the southern USA clung to their musical heritage, which then spawned jazz, the blues, soul and more. These in turn gave birth to pop as we now know it in the West, which influenced Asian pop music and so it goes on, but all thanks to West Africa's rhythms and melodies. Listen to the many songs on the playlist by the blind Malian duo Amadou & Mariam and you'll get a flavour.
It's not just pop music, either. The Asia playlist features traditional music, such as Indian sitar solos and tribal songs from Northern Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. It's all pretty eclectic and designed to introduce people to as wide a range of musical styles as there are cultures to appreciate around the world.
The Foreign Office has now given the green light for travel, so the playlists have reverted to being only available for clients who book. Sorry!