7 albums for daily meditation and reflection from around the world

During this uncertain time, many of us are having to spend longer periods of time alone. Whilst this comes with its challenges, it might also be seen as an opportunity for us to meditate and reflect, perhaps practising activities such as yoga, tai chi and mindfulness. We've selected seven Real World albums from different parts of the world to soundtrack the quieter moments of your day, to help you enter a different headspace, or just to provide some simple relaxation.

1. Kenya

En Mana Kuoyo

AYUB OGADA

Kenyan singer-songwriter Ayub Ogada was a busker on London’s Northern Line when he came to Real World’s attention in the late 80s. And this 1993 set —his only record for the label— proved that it was a meeting of minds, with his disarmingly simple arrangements allowed to hang there unadorned, making a lasting impression.

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2. Tibet

Rain of Blessings: Vajra Chants

LAMA GYURME & JEAN-PHILIPPE RYKIEL

The meeting of a Tibetan Buddhist monk of the ancient Kagyupa School, messenger of one of the most ancient philosophies, and a French musician known for his mastery of the keyboards. This is an album of powerful chants with lush textures that capture the serenity of the Tibetan monasteries.

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3. Ireland

The Seven Steps to Mercy

IARLA Ó LIONÁIRD

Following the success of Afro Celt Sound System’s first album, the band’s vocalist entered the studio with Canadian producer Michael Brook to create his debut solo album: a haunting set of songs drawn from the sean-nós singing tradition of Ireland as well as Ó Lionáird’s original musical ideas.

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4. India

Rama Sreerama

U. SRINIVAS

U Srinivas is the child prodigy of Karnatak music who has taken the mandolin, an instrument unknown in India, to unique classical heights. A recording of an exquisite, candle-lit live performance at Real World Studios.

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5. China

Music, Food and Love

GUO YUE

From his early years in The Hutongs of North-East Beijing, through the Cultural Revolution that exploded in 1966 when he was just eight years old, to his departure for London in 1982 and his vivid, bitter-sweet memories of recent visits back to China, Music, Food and Love paints a vivid picture of a remarkable life.

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6. Armenia

Black Rock

DJIVAN GASPARYAN & MICHAEL BROOK

The black volcanic landscape of Lanzarote provided the unifying location for Gasparyan’s mellow, gorgeous performances and the inimitable creativity of guitarist/producer Brook. Together with multi-instrumentalist Richard Evans, they have created a dramatic, sultry and beautiful soundscape.

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7. Japan

The Gate

JOJI HIROTA

Capturing the mastery and rhythmic grace of this outstanding Japanese contemporary multi-instrumentalist. Emotional vocals are interwoven with taiko drumming, shakuhachi and string quintet.

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You can listen to a selection of calming and meditative tracks from all of these albums and many others on our Bliss playlist on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.

By Online Editor

Main image: Lama Gyurme. Photo credit: Sheila Rock.

Published on Mon, 23 March 20

Further reading

WOMAD Festival announce a new immersive audio listening series of online music performances

Featuring 8 artists, WOMAD at Home offers a 360° listening experience designed for headphones.

New Apple TV+ series ‘Long Way Up’ to feature music by Real World artists

Featuring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, the series follows the hugely popular 'Long Way Down'

Late Night Laments: Track by Track

Tim Bowness talks us through the songs on his new album, Late Night Laments.

An Introduction to Late Night Laments by Tim Bowness

Tim, whose music is published by Real World, releases his new album on 28th August.