Cultural Reads 72: Soulful Benga, Best Historical Fiction Books, Rocumentaries

Good morning, 

And welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter with worldwide book, music, and movie recommendations. 

In today’s newsletter: Soulful Benga, Best Historical Fiction Books, Rocumentaries, Spiritual Music, Chinese Sci-Fi Series, Brazilian Novel.

Kenyan Music Udulele Soulful Benga Music

🎙️ Discover Soulful Benga (Kenya)

Several months ago, I discovered a new genre in my Spotify Discover Weekly called Soulful Benga.

I reached out to the father of Soulful Benga, Udulele, and he agreed to an interview full of music, video snippets & learnings!

He’s also competing in an international songwriting competition. If you like his music, vote for him here!

📕 Best Historical Fiction Books

Travel back to unknown places and times with these 8 best historical fiction books.

I love historical fiction because instead of reading a Wikipedia page with the history, you FEEL the history. You live the story through someone who experienced that part of the past.

It always motivates me to learn more about the facts of that part of history later. I hope you enjoy the list!

🍿 3-Body Problem (China)

I recommended the book The 3-Body Problem some time ago, which has now become a Netflix series

It has been Americanized, so if you prefer something closer to the original, watch the Chinese series for free on YouTube. 

For the Best Chinese Books, go here.

📽️ Best Documentaries

One of my favorite resources is Rocumentaries, a free website that curates the best documentaries from various channels, such as Netflix, YouTube, Prime, Channel 4, etc. 

You can filter per genre and channel or use the search bar to look for documentaries and ratings.

If you want monthly suggestions, you can join 3,500+ people and subscribe to the newsletter.

📙 The Crooked Plow (Brazil)

Before traveling to Brazil, one of my colleagues recommended reading The Crooked Plow, mainly because I work in agriculture.

It’s one of my recent favorites and reminded me of the classic A Hundred Years of Solitude. Although the author created a similar, almost mythical atmosphere, the book is actually about the harsh conditions of Bahian farmers, who, despite the abolishment of slavery, still live in similar situations.

Nonetheless, it’s highly readable fiction that flows and gives an insight into Bahia’s strong Afro-Brazilian traditions.

🎵 Spiritual & Relaxing Music

Need to rewind after a long day of work?

Check out Chantress Seba. In this one-hour set, your worries will flow away, guided by her beautiful, soothing voice. 

It reminded me of some of the music I heard at the BOOM festival, including DJ Apukuna‘s sets.

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