And welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter with book, music, and movie recommendations from around the world.
In this week’s newsletter: Sound of the Sahara, Two Career Books, Best Brazilian Movies, Music from the Gambia, Schottish movie, and 3 Bulgarian Tips.
I also posted the country profiles for Brazil, Armenia, Belgium, Afghanistan, and Australia.
Other suggestions are always welcome!
The Tuareg are nomadic people that live in the Sahara desert.
They have over a thousand years of rich cultural history and invented a music genre called the desert blues.
The songs are a dreamy mix with local instruments and lyrics in Tamasheq, often telling stories about the hardships of the Tuareg Rebellion.
You can find out more in this post, and check out the Spotify playlist here.
A few months ago, I switched jobs and started working on reforestation in Brazil. I also decided to study Portuguese, which should be doable after learning Spanish.
One of the best ways to study languages is through movies; luckily, Brazil has some fantastic films.
Many are about political topics like the favelas (#1 and #4), the overfull prisons (#8), the abuse of mental hospitals (#7), and corruption (#10).
How many do you know?
Check out 11 of the best Brazilian movies here.
When I moved careers some years ago, I decided it was a good time to think about what I wanted.
Two books that immensely helped me were What Color Is Your Parachute and The Pathfinder.
The authors don’t just tell you what to do.
Instead, they provide the right tools to find your personality, unique skills, and what you value in your job.
I recently visited a concert by Sona Jobarteh: a traditional Kora player and singer from Gambia.
I’ve never seen a crowd go so wild in a theater before. What was supposed to be a seated concert became a huge party.
My favorite songs are Gambia or Reflections if you need something more chill and almost meditative.
I was alone during the weekend and decided on a solo cinema visit to Aftersun: a movie about a father-daughter relationship during a holiday in an all-inclusive resort in Turkey.
At first, Sophie’s father, Calum, seems to be the ideal dad. Gradually, however, you discover his flaws, recklessness, and mental struggles. As the story unfolds, the tension increases because you know something will happen, but you don’t know what.
Aftersun is a beautiful film that brings back memories and sentiments. After the movie ended, the audience sat quietly, clearly moved and unable to walk away from the story.
Last week, I came in contact with Gergana from Altgirl, a newsletter for women covering feminism, health, love, friendship, fashion, culture, and nutrition.
Gergana is Bulgarian – despite having lived around the world – and recommended some personal favorites from female Bulgarian artists.
Book: Elisaveta Bagryana – is considered one of the “first ladies of Bulgarian women’s literature.” She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature three times and is one of Bulgaria’s most studied and admired writers. Here’s a collection of her poems.
Movie: Binka Zhelyazkova: She was a Bulgarian film director who made films between the late 1950s and the 1990s. She was the first Bulgarian woman to direct a feature film and one of the few women worldwide to produce feature films in the 1950s.
Music: Valya Balkanska’s music might not be everyone’s first choice, but she is one of the most famous Bulgarian folk singers. She was awarded the Stara Planina Orden (the highest Bulgarian award) and honored with her star plate on the Bulgarian Walk of Fame. This is her most famous song.
Full Discloser: Almost everything on Cultural Reads is free and written out of a passion for culture. However, if you want to support the project and buy something, you could do so through one of the occasional affiliate links.