Sunday 21st June is International Music day, a day to celebrate (and listen to) the very best music from around the world.
Music is undoubtedly one of life’s great pleasures, transcending the boundaries of space and time to allow us to connect with different places and people, which is especially important during these difficult times. Or, as Dick Clark rather more elegantly put it, “music is the soundtrack of our lives”.
It is also an integral part of our cultural identity, with musical genres such as jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll all telling an important story and defining an era. To celebrate International Music Day this year, we’ve picked out some of our favourite musical destinations to help get you feelin’ groovy…
Where better to start than at the home of the King, Elvis Presley? Although Elvis was actually born in Tupelo, Mississippi, the Presley family upped sticks and moved to Memphis in 1948, when Elvis was 13. It was in Memphis, at the legendary Sun Studios, that Presley recorded his first hit That’s All Right in 1954, a moment regarded by some as the true beginning of rock and roll. The rest, as they say, is history. The King’s musical legacy in Memphis is enduring, with Graceland, his former home, now a popular tourist attraction. Memphis’s musical heritage extends far beyond Elvis Presley though: Sun Studios has been graced by the likes of B.B King and Roy Orbison, whilst Beale Street is lined with famous blues and jazz clubs.
Find out more: Texas, Presley’s Memphis & New Orleans
Nashville is famous as the home of country music, and the location of the historic Ryman Auditorium, where the original Grand Ole Opry (a weekly country music concert) was first broadcast to the nation in 1925. Nashville went on to produce country music stars including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton, all of whom got their break at the Ryman Auditorium and are celebrated at the city’s Country Music Hall of Fame. Studio B and the famed Ernest Tubb Record Shop are among country music’s other top sights in the city.
Find out more: Elvis Presly’s Memphis, New Orleans & Nashville
Although the Netherlands perhaps does not have the same association with waltz that Austria and Germany do, it is the birthplace of a certain Andre Rieu, the King of the Waltz. Widely acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest living musical legends, Andre Rieu is an accomplished violinist, excellent conductor and renowned showman. With his Johann Strauss Orchestra, choir and soloists, André Rieu brings a delightful and innovative approach to his concerts. Each year, the Waltz King performs a number of annual concerts in the Netherlands, including in his hometown of Maastricht and in Amsterdam.
Find out more: André Rieu concerts in 2020 and 2021
New Orleans, Louisiana
Known as the Big Easy, it was in New Orleans’ French Quarter that jazz was born well over a century ago. Today, the legacy of Louis Armstrong and other jazz legends such as Sidney Bechet and Buddy Bolden, is alive and well in the jazz clubs and cafés of the French Quarter, with its picturesque time-warped, iron-balconied buildings. New Orleans has a rich and extraordinary music history, a lot of which stems from its cultural diversity. The city has a strong Creole community, who originally inhabited Louisiana during the Spanish and French colonial rule in the 16th and 17th centuries, many of whom are descended from slaves. The famous Mardi Gras Carnival has strong ties to French colonialism, including its name, which translates to ‘Fat Tuesday’.
Find out more: Deep South Rhythms, New Orleans & Caribbean Cruise