Cultural Reads 56: Japanese Cumbia, The Monkey King & Past Lives

Hi Everyone, 

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

In this week’s newsletter: Japanese Cumbia, Ethiopian Gifts, Yoruba Culture, The Monkey King, and Past Lives.

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🎧 Minyo Crusaders (Japan)

What would a Japanese Cumbia or Bolero sound like? 

Minyo Crusaders allows you to find out. The group reworks traditional Japanese folk songs with Caribbean, Latin, and African influences.

The result is surprisingly good!

🎁 Fantastic Ethiopian Gifts

Do you believe I could teach more about Ethiopian culture in 2 minutes than you’ve known in a lifetime? 


Through the stories of my Ethiopian friend Tsega. 

With the help of 10 gifts, he’ll take you on the read of a lifetime. 

How did he get access to the forbidden book? And what does Ethiopian coffee and honey taste like?

You can find out in this post

📺 Yoruba Culture for Kids (Nigeria)

Nigeria is home to several languages, with Yoruba being one of the biggest. 

Unfortunately, due to migration and the use of English, many kids lose their connection to their culture. 

My Yoruba friend Kay has a solution for that. 

He created Ebi Folorunso: a Yorùbá Family animation/cartoon reconnecting Yorùbá kids with their language, roots & culture.

He also wrote a fantastic Yoruba kid’s book and shares about Yoruba culture on his Instagram.

Make sure to share it with your Yoruba friends!

📔 The Monkey King (China)

In the ancient kingdom of Flower Fruit Mountain, a mischievous monkey embarks on a thrilling journey filled with mythical creatures, divine battles, and self-discovery as he strives to claim his place as the legendary Monkey King.

The Monkey King is one of the oldest and most famous pieces of world literature, much like Ulysses and Don Quixote.

Although Wu Cheng’en’s book is over 400 years old (he wrote it in 1592), it’s surprisingly funny and funny and easy to read. 

I found it through this review on ayearofreadingtheworld!

🍿 Past Lives (South Korea)

Looking for a beautiful romantic comedy?

Then you should check out Past Lives, a Korean movie with a spectacular 8.2 on IMDB. 

Past Lives tells the story of two childhood friends with a starting romance who were wrested apart after one of them emigrates to the US with her family.  

Twenty years later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront notions of love and destiny.

If you’re interested in more Korean movies, check out these best 10 Korean movies of all time.

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