And welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter with book, music, and movie recommendations from around the world.
In this week’s newsletter: Iranian Movies, Tamikrest Concert, Soulful Benga, Best Books Per Country & Built to Move.
Believe it or not, before last year’s protests, Iran was a relatively popular travel destination for Europeans (I imagine not for the US because it was blacklisted).
Although it’s off-limits now, there is another way to learn about the country…..through its movies.
Iran has a widely acclaimed film industry with directors who are not afraid to be critical.
Two great ones are Just 6.5, about Iran’s ~6.5 million drug addicts, and About Elly, a woman who goes missing, leading to chaos amongst complicated social constructs.
Find out the best 5 Iranian movies here.
As many of you may know by now, I’m a massive fan of Tuareg Desert Blues. After seeing the legendary band Tinariwen, I recently had a chance to see Tamikrest perform.
According to one of the Tuaregs I met at the concert, Tamikrest is a worthy Tinariwen successor and currently the most innovative Tuareg band.
It was a fantastic concert, and I was happily surprised to see so many Tuaregs attending and singing along with the band’s performance.
I came across a musical hidden gem last week and am excited to share it!
Udulele John is the father of Soulful Benga, an eclectic mix of singing and East African percussive sounds and reference to the Benga people from Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Udulele says, “It is music that is born from the soul and connects to the soul.“
My favorite song is Biwamiel.
Nowadays, we train like athletes but can’t perform basic movements.
That’s why Built to Move offers ten ways to have a base level of health & fitness. Some takeaways:
1. Getting up and down off the floor every day without using your hands
2. Stretch quads each day
3. At least 8,000 steps per day
4. Eating 800 grams of fruit and veggies each day. Afterward, you can snack.
5. Being able to squat and stay in that position.
6. Put on your shoes and socks while standing on one leg for better balance.