on September 5, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Seven musical days in London town

Seven musical days in London town

When traveling, one of the easiest ways to bring a piece of home along is music.You can be in the most unfamiliar of places, surrounded by sounds, sights and smells that are all completely new, and still find familiar ground when your favorite song comes on.I learned this firsthand just a few weeks ago when I spent seven days exploring London, both with one of my best friends and on my own.Now, visiting a bustling metropolis like London isn’t the same thing as say, backpacking through the rain forests of Brazil, or wandering through the Himalayas. In London you’re perpetually around people, and by and large you’re seeing and hearing your own language.Still, there are times being lost in a sea of people, when you need to tune out the roar of the crowd to actually appreciate what’s around.One of the joys of my time across the pond was spending an afternoon getting lost between theold and new that defines so much of the city, while listening to some purposefully random music. I’ve discovered one of the best ways to provide myself with delightful surprises throughout the day is going with the shuffle option when pressing play on my iPhone.This decision lead to some wonderfully soundtracked moments, like Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Fire” going along with afternoon tea, rapping along to Young Thug’s chaotic yowls as I wandered through Hatchard’s (London’s oldest bookstore), or missing someone special to Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.”There’s something special about having British bands like The Who come up, and wondering if Pete Townshend walked the same alley you’ve stopped in.For the more social side of things, I found the adage of stopping to smell the roses good advice. Walking through the tube stations, the busy square or along the river, I stopped and listened to the street musicians there. Do so and you’re likely to hear songs you know, often with an interesting approach or flourish.My favorite music discovery the whole trip was Scarfes Bar, a little place in the Holborn neighborhood, designed like a library. It’s all dark woods, low lights, books everywhere, and most importantly, live music every night.Fittingly, the bands booked at Scarfes all take blues, soul and pop and drench them in the neon lights of jazz. Over the course of three separate visits, I saw the Nicola Emmanuel Trio bring an authentic take to jazz standards, the Nick and Kitty Duo injecting some playful swing into classics in jazz and the American songbook, and the Damien Flood Trio bring the house down with some killer covers. On my last night in London, the Damien Flood Trio provided the perfect score, covering favorite’s like Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” The Eagles’ “Desperado” and David Gray’s “Babylon.”It was hearing these well-loved songs performed in a new way that I was again reminded of the power of music. It can even make a place thousands of miles away feel like home.

Clarke Reader’s column on how music connects to our lives appears every other week. A community editor with Colorado Community Media, misses Scarfes. Check out his music blog at calmacil20.blogspot.com. And share your favorite music travel stories at [email protected].

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