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


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


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


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 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


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


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


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

John Metcalfe announces new album and reveals first track ‘Xylem’

Tree is set for release on vinyl, CD and digitally via Real World Records on 22 September 2023.

Long-awaited release of Kayhan Kalhor and Toumani Diabaté collaboration

The album is a spiritual meditation by two culture bearers of centuries-old musical traditions.

Africa comes to Real World: revisiting albums by six legendary artists

Jane Cornwell explores our new reissue series 'Africa Sessions at Real World'.

Sheila Chandra: The pursuit of radical vocal expression

Sheila's trilogy of albums for Real World is being re-issued on CD, and on vinyl for the first time.