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Albums That Transport You To Another Time or Place While You Practice Social Distancing

2020 is the year of virtual traveling. While flights are cheaper than ever before, there’s nowhere safe to go. Plus, you probably shouldn’t go anywhere, but you know that already. Thankfully, you can travel without moving an inch. How? Consider how many multicultural albums, movies, books, and TV shows are at your fingertips. The travel bug doesn’t need to go away—it just has to change its form for a while.


Here are six great albums to transport you to another time or place.



Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Shaka Zulu
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Shaka Zulu

Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Shaka Zulu


There’s a good chance you know this South African male choral group already. You’ve probably heard Paul Simon’s famous Graceland album, right? Ladysmith Black Mambazo is the choral group that you hear throughout Graceland. While Graceland brought fame to the group, they have excellent independent records, too. This album, Shaka Zulu, is perhaps the group’s most accessible album, with some songs in English and more traditional songs that still cater to the Western ear.



Billie Holiday - Lady in Satin

Billie Holiday - Lady in Satin


Toward the end of Billie Holiday’s life, her voice lost its sweetness, but not its power. One of the best jazz and blues vocalists to ever live, Lady in Satin illustrates Holiday’s virtuosic talent. Lady in Satin carries songs filled with heartbreak, like “I’m a Fool to Want You” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” Whether you’re experiencing heartbreak or coronavirus-related grief, Billie Holiday will suit your mood. 



Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club


It’s hard to travel to Cuba, coronavirus or no coronavirus. Thankfully, when Ry Cooder went on an adventure to Cuba, he brought back a timeless gem. One of the greatest Latin jazz albums, Buena Vista Social Club is loaded with some of the best Cuban jazz performers ever to live. Sit in your living room, drink a Cuba Libre, and dance your heart out as if the country’s on lockdown (wink wink).




Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson

Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson


Serge Gainsbourg left an imprint on French Pop that will never disappear. This album tells the story of Melody Nelson, the teenage heroine for whom Serge lusted over. At times beautiful and at times creepy, this album will transport you to one of France’s finest eras. Buy a baguette, pour yourself some wine, and make an indoor picnic while listening to this fantastic album.







Paco de Lucia - Entre Dos Aguas

Paco de Lucia - Entre Dos Aguas


Close your eyes, and imagine yourself walking through southern Spain to the sound of Flamenco music. “But,” you say, “I don’t know what southern Spain looks like.” Well, neither do we, but Paco de Lucia paints an excellent picture of it with one of the best flamenco albums ever made. From “Monasterio de Sal” to the more famous “Entre dos Aguas,” this album will blow you away and give you a momentary distraction while you’re social distancing. 




Dolly Parton, Linda Rondstadt, and Emmylou Harris - Trio

Dolly Parton, Linda Rondstadt, and Emmylou Harris - Trio (1987)

What happens when you get the best women country singers of the mid-to-late 20th-century and put them in a room? You get Trio, one of the best country albums ever made. The Trio is greater than the sum of its parts, which is pretty impressive considering the strength of each individual on the album. Transport to the South in this album, filled with traditional, original, and classic songs.




It’s high time for virtual exploration. Grab some multicultural food and pick up one of these albums for a fantastic time-and-place travel!