Aural Memories & the Music of Travel - Atlas Obscura
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Aural Memories & the Music of Travel

Like memories, sounds are embedded within the fleeting nature of travel. The experiences we engage with while abroad involve many different layers of contact with foreign cultures, making the sound of a country just as important as its image. Whenever I travel, locally or abroad, I hire my ears on a full-time job: scouting for music to complement the “feel” of a place. Joining travel experience with music can happen in many ways:

First, and most enjoyable, are the spontaneous yet talented street musicians that never fail to surprise with their talent. From Boston’s public parks to the streets of Paris, the allure of a street musician is striking and deeply moving. Often unexpected, its energy is enveloping, and transforms a walk down the street into a musical cruise. My personal favorite, this musical experience allows for the spectator to join the talented performers (don’t be shy…). 

We also have the option of attending musical events wherever we travel. Here, the privilege of watching professional performances, often tailored to perfection, leaves me breathless. Also, this type of musical performance can come with dancing and acting and a whole bunch of bonus features. Watching the River dance in Dublin was so delightful for me that I had to see it twice in my short three-day Dublin stop.

And sometimes, we don’t even need to leave our bedside to enjoy the mingling of travel and music.  Many people have come together to share and blend international voices into a musical experience that fits right onto our screens. These efforts to engage common humanity among the people of the world enable us to hear voices beyond our borders and experience the beauty of travel without journeying out of our living room.

So whether we’re out in the streets of Vienna or camping in our living room, there are always ways to build some wordly musical memories. Like that time I joined a street musician in Dingle Town in an ode to Belle and Sebastian…