Cultural Reads 48: Yemeni Coffee, ChatGPT Music, Colombian Concerts

Hello Everyone, 

And welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter with book, music, and movie recommendations from around the world.

In this week’s newsletter: Use ChatGPT for Spotify playlists, Yemeni coffee adventures, the best Filipino movies, Colombian concerts & The Work.

🎧 How to create Spotify playlists with ChatGPT

Do you want to use ChatGPT to create better Spotify playlists? 

1. You can export any Spotify playlist to Excel with Exportify.

2. You can then ask ChatGPT to identify recurring playlist themes or give recommendations. It’s pretty fun but not as good as Spotify’s algorithm. 

ChatGPT does a great job creating playlists based on other criteria, however.

For example, ask ChatGPT for the 20 best Afrobeats artists and the best three songs per artist. 

You can then ask ChatGPT for a CSV overview with two columns, TITLE and ARTIST.

3. Importing this Excel into this program will convert the CSV directly into a Spotify playlist, providing an easy way to create a playlist per theme or country.

🍿 The Best Filipino Movies

In 2015, I had one of the best experiences of my life, volunteering with AIESEC in Davao, the Philippines. 

I love the country, which is why I’m so excited to share these best Filipino movies

I recommend watching #3 Metro Manila (one of my favorites) or the Filipino blockbusters #1 Himala and #4 Four Sisters and a Wedding. 

In Davao, we also had a chance to meet Duterte, who – at the time – was running for president as the city’s mayor.

This meeting sparked my interest in Filipino politics.

If you feel the same, you must watch #6, The Kingmaker, a fantastic documentary about Imelda Marcos, one of the most controversial figures in Filipino politics, and her links to Duterte.

🎹 3 Colombian Tiny Desks

I’ve been a Tiny Desk fan for years, and it’s one of the best ways to find new music.

The Youtube channel is becoming more international, and today, I want to highlight three famous female Colombian artists:

1. Karol G
2. Bomba Estereo
3. Monsieur Periné

📔 The Monk of Mokha (Yemen)

Are you a coffee lover? Or someone who loves adventures? 

In both cases, The Monk of Mokha is the right book for you. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while. 

After meeting Ali, a Yemeni refugee seeking a job in the Netherlands, I realized I knew little about Yemen. I looked for something to read and stumbled on The Monk of Mokha. 

This work by Dave Eggers tells the incredible and true story of Mokhtar, an American with Yemeni roots. 

Moktar finds out that the first cup of coffee was brewed in Yemen but that Yemen barely makes any money from it nowadays. 

He decides to change this and, without industry knowledge, starts a coffee company with beans from Yemen.

When things finally kick off, he suddenly finds himself stuck in the middle of the war in Yemen.

The Monk of Mokha is an excellent intro to Yemen, culture, and coffee and left me eager to read something from a Yemeni author.

I’d also recommend Dave Egger’s book What is the What about the lost boys of Sudan.

🎥 The Work (USA)

The Work is a powerful documentary that follows a group of men as they participate in a four-day intensive group therapy session inside Folsom State Prison, a maximum-security facility in California.

The film captures the emotional and psychological journey of the men as they confront their deepest traumas and begin to heal through the intense and transformative experience of group therapy.

Through visceral and intimate footage, The Work offers a unique and moving exploration of the human capacity for growth and change, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

It’s available on Amazon and Vimeo (for free).

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