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GUESTFRESH: Cultural Reads
diverse tracks from Africa, free meditation resources, Death Love and Robots, sets to power through housework to, creating your personal starting principles and more
happy Friday, FRESHers! we’re coming back to you with a special edition of GUESTFRESH today - from now on, we’ll be handing the reigns entirely over to our particular guest writer for an entire GUESTFRESH issue, published separately as additional content for you, every so often on Fridays. in-issue content will still follow the usual FRESH format that you know and love, as much as possible. (long time FRESHers will remember our Fridays used to be for paid issues - we’re bringing Fridays back, just slightly differently!)
give this issue a spin, and let us know what you think of our new format in our poll at the end!
if you’re interested in writing your own GUESTFRESH, drop us an email at email@example.com, or a message on Instagram.
we’re thrilled to be inviting Thomas Plaatsman on for this issue. find out a little more about him below, and enjoy the issue - it’s a detailed and diverse multicultural exploration!
Thomas Plaatsman is the founder of Cultural Reads, a platform that explores countries through culture. He’s Dutch but has lived in Spain, Ecuador, Kenya, and The Philippines. Through his work with the Red Cross, impact investing, and planting trees in Brazil, he meets many people worldwide. He aims to share non-mainstream cultural recommendations such as books, movies, and music tips to your inbox. You can find more info on his website or subscribe to his newsletter.
FRESH: African Mix
African Songs in the Mix
Many of these works of art are unknown to the public, which is why it’s great that more and more songs are being remixed. Three great examples are:
This is Spanish DJ Pablo Fierro’s mix of one of Bonga’s songs. Bonga is an Angolan singer who grew up during colonial times. He was exiled because he supported independence but became popular in many Portuguese-speaking countries.
I love this French remix of the most famous song by Victor Déme, a musician from Burkina Fasso. He had a troubled life and failed in music until he broke through at age 46. His success was short-lived because he died from Malaria at age 53. His hit “Djon Maya” sounds excellent but contains a more profound life lesson: "Don't look down on your neighbor because he doesn't have the same means as you, as tomorrow you might need him.”
A great mix called Solidarité with artists like Toumani Diabate, Seu Jorge, Ibrahim Maaloof, and Fatoumata Diawara. Toumani Diabate is a famous Malian musician who plays a traditional instrument called a Kora. Seu Jorge is an incredibly popular Brazilian singer of pop samba. Ibrahim Maaloof is a famous French-Lebanese jazz-trompetist, and Fatoumata Diawara is a Malian singer known for her mesmerizing live performances.
A Few Free Breaths For a Better Life
Most people know paid meditation apps like Calm and Headspace, but there are some great free resources.
My favorites are the app Insight Timer with this Tibetan Singing Bowls Meditation, this 6-phase guided meditation by Mindvalley, and Tony Robbins’ Priming Exercise when you need some morning motivation. I’m not lying when I say I have probably listened to the Tibetan Bowls a thousand times.
The Wonderful World of SciFi
Death, Love, Robots is a Netflix series that started in 2019 and has had three seasons (thus far). It’s a science fiction production, with each episode produced by a different director. Despite most of the short movies being animated, it reminds me a lot of Black Mirror, another SciFi I loved.
If you’ve already seen these, have a look at The Expanse on Prime or Altered Carbon on Netflix. Both are great SciFi series that make you think about the future differently.
I love listening to music while I work, but find lyrics distracting. I therefore usually go for instrumental jazz like Bill Evans or House/Techno music on Soundcloud.
Over the years, I have found three very clear favorites: EMOTIONAL, Gabriel Ananda’s Soulful Techno, and CarlosTorresV May ‘14 Podcast.
I’ll grab a coffee, put my headphones on, blast an EMOTIONAL playlist, and have 2 hours of productive work. EMOTIONAL is hard techno with minimal lyrics. They produce new tracks frequently, and almost all of them get me into the right flow.
Despite the hilarious, almost too stereotypical German access, Gabriel Ananda knows what he’s doing. In this mix, he combines his love for techno with vocals. He’s not a big fan of vocals because it’s too commercial, but I loved that he gave it a shot anyway!
It’s impossible not to dance on this mix, no matter the time of day or your state of mind. Whenever I clean the house (I hate vacuuming) or need some motivation for a hard workout, I play MAY ‘14. The playlist has a cover with a guy smiling and MDMA written on it, and I can see why.
Your six starting principles
In this wonderful article, Julian Shapiro shares a terrific life hack: set 6 principles that guide your life in the right direction.
The idea is that you write down six principles that will help you make the changes you want to make. Principles can be quotes, life lessons, or rules. This should help you steer towards only doing things you truly believe in. For example, “Half doing something is an expensive way of not doing it.”
My current set is:
1. Trust and follow my intuition. If I feel this is where I need to go, I'll go there.
2. Am I doing this out of fear or love?
3. What does my body want me to do now?
4. Outsource anything that I don't like and costs me less than $250 per hour.
5. If doing something that takes 1 hour and saves less than $250, don't do it.
6. I only read what I feel like and feel no obligation to finish courses or books.
Numbers 4 and 5 are hard because I set an ambitious goal, but I hope it helps shift my money beliefs to that of an entrepreneur.
Your Human Design. Astrology or Science?
I love personal development and personality tests like MBTI.
FRESH: Indigenous Sounds
Modern Nature Mix
I love tropical forests like the Amazon. Flora and fauna are stunning, and it’s full of indigenous wisdom. That’s why I love these remixes that carry a similar vibe.
Búho (Spanish for ‘Owl’) calls his style “natural electronic music”. I love how relaxed and dreamy the beats are.
Xique Xique is quite the opposite. This style is called Voodoohop. The duo exists of a French DJ and a Brazilian music producer who make songs with deep grooves, hypnotic melodies, and organic rhythms.
Nicola Cruz is a French DJ of proud South American descent. He lives in Quito, Ecuador, and his deep admiration for Andean culture inspires his music. That’s why this style is called "Andean Electronic Music."
Nils Kercher studied traditional music during several stays in West Africa. His music feels soft and smooth. That’s why I love this Soundcloud mix. I think the fast-paced beats amplify the mesmerizing sounds.
lots and lots of information and resources in there for you to digest, thank you to Thomas from Cultural Reads for sharing your recommendations and time with us! i’ve personally been reading up on Human Design and am finding it quite fascinating, have put Death, Love, Robots on my to-watch list, and am enjoying the sounds of Xique-Xique.
we’ll be back on Sundays with our regular issues, and stay tuned for more GUESTFRESH to come! it’s been wonderful watching FRESH evolve and get its own spin from each different writer we’ve had here.
love and robots,
alright, over to you now - hit up the comments section, or reply to this email with your thoughts! if you enjoy a little prompting:
what media from a different culture to your own have you been enjoying?
what are your starting principles?
sound off on your Human Design discoveries - do you find personality tests like this and MBTI useful?
what are your sci-fi television picks?