Cultural Reads 40: Ethiopian Reggae, Chinese SciFi, Amsterdam Bars

Happy Tuesday All

And welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter, with a bi-weekly book, music, and movie recommendations from all around the world.

In this week’s newsletter: Music from Pakistan & Ethiopia, Amsterdam Tips, Chinese Science Fiction & Worldwide Toys 

🎶 Best Pakistani Singers | A Top 10

Sometimes you hear something so new and different that it’s difficult to form an opinion. 

It then grows on you until you can’t get enough of it. 

That’s what happened when I discovered these top 10 Pakistani singers.

My favorites are videos #1, #3, and #4. 

🧳 How To Enjoy Amsterdam | Best Places Per Area

Some 5 million tourists visit Amsterdam each year.

The city has a lot to offer, but it isn’t easy to know where to go.

You stroll around for hours, looking for an affordable, tourist-free restaurant.

It’s tough.

That’s why I asked my friends from Amsterdam to share their best bars, coffee spots, and restaurants.

The result is this list for both tourists and locals.

🎵 Teddy Afro (Ethiopia)

Teddy Afro is one of the most significant Ethiopian artists of all time.

He’s known for picking controversial political topics such as government corruption. For this reason, some of his songs have been banned, but it didn’t decrease his popularity.

His songs are a mix of reggae, traditional Ethiopian styles, and pop music.

My favorite song is Demo Be Abay.

📀 Best African Movies & Albums 2022

If you’re looking for African music or films, you should follow movie critic Wilfred Okiche.

He recently shared two great lists, with the best African albums and best African movies of 2022.

📕 The 3-Body Problem (China)

Recently, I spoke to an American entrepreneur who had sold his company to Google and taken a 3-year sabbatical. 

I asked him if he could recommend a book that greatly influenced him. 

His answer was The 3-Body Problem by Cixin Liu.

This trilogy starts during China’s Cultural Revolution with a scientist contacting an alien civilization and continues billions of years into the future. 

The scientist assumed that extraterrestrial life would be friendly, only to learn the truth later. 

The book is so popular that Netflix and two Chinese TV Channels are making a series about it. 

🧸 Popular Toys Around The World

Have you ever wondered how kids’ toys around the world differ?

Check out the most popular toys per country here.

📽️ Movies About The Filthy Rich

I love movies that are big enough for mainstream cinemas but alternative enough for independent theaters.

You know they’ll be more interesting than most Hollywood blockbusters, yet also entertaining because of their budget.

You can now watch two great examples in the theaters: The Menu and Triangle of Sadness.

Both make fun of the super-rich, The Menu as a thriller and Triangle of Sadness as a hilarious comedy.

💡 Short Book Takeaway

What we see as death, empty space, or nothingness is only the trough between the crests of this endlessly waving ocean.

It is all part of the illusion that there should seem to be something to be gained in the future and that there is an urgent necessity to go on and on until we get it.

Yet just as there is no time but the present and no one except the all-and-everything, there is never anything to be gained—though the zest of the game is to pretend that there is.

The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are – Alan Watts

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