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5 Spots Around the World to Enjoy Sacred Sounds


If you find yourself looking for something simpler, more meditative or relaxing to do than the normal rounds of restaurants, bars, and shops on your next break, consider spending time listening to music. From the pure sounds of choirs, to the pulsing beat of Japanese drummers, or the haunting melodies of classical compositions, there are musical concerts, programs and events open to the public across the globe.

Instead of spending hours buying often pointless souvenirs or clothing on a shopping spree, you could uplift your mind listening to sacred sounds. Whether you choose to search out sombre chants, rhythmic drumbeats, or rousing exaltations, you're sure to find a sound to stir your soul. Read on for five top spots around the world where you should take some time to just stop and listen.

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James Blake Wins Mercury Prize- Listen

The annual Mercury Prize awarded to the best British album of the year was held last night, with experimental, ambient artist James Blake taking home the award for his second album Overgrown.  

He beat bookies' favourite soul singer Laura Mvula and the legendary David Bowie to the £20,000 prize, joking "well, I lost the bet".

The prize traditionally celebrates the more unusual and obscure music produced in Britain each year. However, critics claimed that the nominees were too mainstream this year with large acts like Arctic Monkeys, Disclosure, Rudimental and Jake Bugg all on the shortlist.

The smaller acts were however also represented by the likes of folk band Villagers, the all-female punks Savages and electronic musician John Hopkins

You can listen to one of the tracks from the winning James Blake album below, or download the entire album here.

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Get Set for the Festival Season

The Best Festival Tents

If you've been to festivals before, you're more than likely to have suffered from the ‘wisdom' of a friend who claimed that you should save money on the tent for beer. After said beers, you return to your campsite, with the tent hanging off a tree and your belongings strewn across the grounds.

On the other hand, you could invest in a sturdy piece of gear that could last you several festivals - like the following:

  • The Constellation DLX Cygnus is a perfect choice for you and your buddies. Set-up time clocks in at around 10 minutes and features a LED lighting system inside.
  • The Vango AirBeam Genesis 300 is definitely a pricy investment, but a worthwhile one if you value your time. No poles, just inflatable tubes and it just takes 4 minutes to set up.
  • The Antic White is the cheapest and fastest option in terms of setting up. It's customisable for your own designs if you want to make it stand out from the crowd, too.

Read on to find out how those who opt not to bother with a tent survive - you might find you're glad you don't share their apparent reckless attitude; not least when you consider how utterly unreliable the British weather can be. Staring up at the stars as you drift off is a nice idea, but what if you can't see for your eyes being filled up with rain?

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Mumford and Sons Close a Memorable Glastonbury 2013

Glastonbury music festival ended last night after 3 days of live music, huge crowds and (unusually) pretty good weather.

British folk band Mumford and Sons closed this year's festival, headlining the main stage last night. In their typically energetic style they got the crowd dancing throughout their set, before ending with a unique rendition of the classic Beatles song ‘With a Little Help from my Friends'. Fittingly, they got a number of other performers to join them on stage for the final song, including Vampire Weekend, The Vaccines and The Staves- you can watch it below.

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Reginald Smith Jr. - An Opera Star In The Making

Reginald Smith Jr. from University of Kentucky gave a shot to opera 5 years ago when he went to Atlanta from Lexington to audition for opera. Fast forward to today, he's an international opera singer in the making, flying from Lexington to Houston for a studio artist vacancy in Houston Grand Opera.

He used to sing in the choir at his local church while growing up in Georgia. Smith's mother was the director, and opera was eventually introduced to him despite the fact that he didn't have any other formal music training. He and his brother joined elementary choir together. His brother gave up singing in school choirs but Smith continued.

Choosing the Right University

Smith saw his first opera in the 10th grade, and he says that was the turning point of his life and the moment when the ‘opera bug' bit him. Smith then began to look for colleges for further education in the field. He looked into the programmes that were being offered, how they were being perceived, and the activities alumni were involved in after graduation.

Smith was aware that music education degrees and coaching can help students in major cities such as New York and other lesser-known music culture cities to enhance their singing skills.

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