Music! Music! Music!

This item appears on page 48 of the January 2012 issue.

While traveling outside of the US, have you bought a CD of music typical of the country or area? A recording of the Berlin Philharmonic while you were in Germany, perhaps? Or maybe a CD of a street performer? For those of you who did, we asked that you tell us about the music and the artist plus any advice you might have on the subject. Responses appear below.

If you have something to add, write to Music! Music! Music!, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818-1910, or e-mail Include the address at which you receive ITN and state approximately when you made the trip.


In early 1992 a friend and I were traveling in Bolivia and decided to go to a hot springs spa for a weekend. On the 2½-hour van ride from La Paz, the driver played the radio until we lost the signal.

One of the songs we heard, so very romantic, stuck with me, so when we returned to La Paz I went to a music shop to see if I could find a cassette tape with it on it. I didn’t know the name of the song nor even the performer, but when I sang (badly) the refrain, the younger of the two ladies in the shop finished it with me.

She knew of the artist and had only to look through the tapes he’d made to find the one with the right song. I still have the tape. All the songs on it are beautiful, but this particular one spoke to my heart and always will be very special.

The artist, Luis Miguel, is now one of the top male pop recording artists in the world. Can I pick them or what! The song, by the way, was “Sin Hablar” and can be found on the album “Soy Como Quiero Ser.”

Florence Drake
Readfield, ME

While in Cuzco, Peru, in May-June 2010, we bought a CD, “Chakana, Mystery of the Andes” (Tupananchicama), by a group named Chakana, who performed at a restaurant we were dining at one evening. A great blend of Peruvian music (with panpipes) and popular music, it always brings back memories of that wonderful trip.

Gary Spinks
DeWitt, MI


During my first trip to Ireland, in 2001, our guide played the Irish Tenors CD “Ellis Island.” Many of us bought a copy while in the country. I still play the CD and love it.

Maggie Holler
Cupertino, CA


We always try to purchase a CD from each country we visit. The first was in South Africa in 1995 when they were hosting the Rugby World Cup. In a shop in Cape Town I heard fantastic African music. We found out it was “Anthems,” a CD of international rugby teams singing their anthems, backed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, an African group.

A friend got the last copy the store had, so I spent almost all of the next day hunting one down. It was worth it. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard “Waltzing Matilda,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Bread Of Heaven (Wales Forever)” or “O Canada” sung this way. (It’s still available (

We also got, from New Zealand, “Haeremai Ki Au” (“Welcome, Come With Me”) (Kiwi Pacific Records International, Wellington, NZ); from Scotland, “Scotland for Me” by The Igus Orchestra and “Scotland Sings,” with Grant Frazer and Stuart Anderson, and, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, “The Sounds of Nova Scotia.”

On a Princess cruise in winter 2002 we bought “A Few of My Favorite Things” by David A. Crathorne. He played and sang in one of the lounges and word spread. By the last night there were people spilling out onto the main stairway. He was excellent.

My absolute favorite — in college in the late ’60s I’d heard the song about Lazy Harry by The Brothers Four. When we were on a coach tour of Australia in 1998, the driver played one of his CDs for us. I told him my story and he said that the next day we would be near where Lazy Harry lived. He asked if I would like to hear him. That’s how we came to hear a bus-side concert by Lazy Harry and his daughter in Beechworth.

Of course, he brought CDs to sell and most of us bought at least one. I got two: volumes one and two of “Lazy Harry — Big Aussie Album” (P.O. Box 233, Beechworth, VIC, 3747, Australia; http://lazyharry

Judith A. Siess
Champaign, IL


While in Australia in December ’09, I purchased a CD of folk songs by Lazy Harry called “The Only Genuine Original Big Aussie Album.”

The songs are typically Australian, including “Waltzing Matilda,” “Tie Me Kangaroo Down,” etc. They also are humorous (“A Pub With No Beer” and “Redback on the Toilet Seat”) and patriotic (“Advance Australia Fair” and “Home Among the Gum Trees”).

We used this music for the computer slide show of our Australia trip.

Arlene Lichtenstein
Commack, NY

Mary Gibson with the Zamanani Brothers — South Africa.

When my husband and I were in Simonstown, South Africa, in April ’10, we encountered the Zamanani Brothers, a group of street singers. Their African songs were toe-tapping, their harmony was pitch-perfect and their dancing energetic and engaging.

I asked if I could join them in dancing (my talent is not singing) and they agreed. My husband took a photo of us.

They did not ask for donations but were selling their CDs for $20 each. Unfortunately, when I got home I found that the CD was very poorly made, but it was worth the money to get to hear them and dance with them.

Mary Gibson
Denver, CO


In our travels abroad, my wife and I have been very interested in the music of our destinations. For example, in my notebook from a trip to France in 1972 I found a list of artists to buy that was written by a young French friend. These included Serge Reggiani, Mouloudji and even Charles Aznavour. At this time, the world was moving from the seven-inch record to cassettes.

Some memorable prizes —

From Peru in 1984 we have recordings of a local group playing panpipes, a type of music which has since “caught on.”

In Australia in September 2002 we found John Williamson, a truly Australian folk singer and humorist.

From India in September 2006 we brought “Ghoomar,” a series of representative dance songs of Rajasthan. The music is by Ram Lal Mathur and the singer is Seema Mishra. It’s quite hypnotic once you get into it.

In Turkey in September 2009 we found a young singer named Sezen Aksu, whose CD “Deliveren” — a fun one — has even made it onto NPR. This is a folkloric classic. She has a great voice.

On our most recent trip, to France in September ’11, we were able to pick up two classic rerecordings. On “L’Auvergnat,” Georges Brassens brings out all his “hits” from the early ’50s. Equally, in “Mon Légionnaire,” Edith Piaf — the immortal “little sparrow” — sings many of her early songs from the late ’30s. These last two we found at a bouquiniste (used-book seller) on the banks of the Seine for €5 each!

Another favorite performer is Nana Mouskouri, a Greek singer with an angelic voice. She has control of about five languages.

Overall, we have sought out sounds typical of each area and often have found it useful to consult locals as to what is “in” at the moment. Otherwise, look for names or CD covers which please you — and take the chance!

Christopher Hartley
Ormond Beach, FL