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The most popular music in Santiago de Chile, Riga, Jerez and Zurich

A tour of the musical panorama of some of the world’s most musical cities and of their most important events.

Chilean folk music and the best venues

Violeta Parra is one of the most representative symbols of Chilean folk music and an inspiration for today’s young musicians, who are igniting the scene in Santiago. Some are famous worldwide, such as Javiera Mena and Manuel García. You can also hear high-flying psychedelic rock or romantic songs in Chile’s capital.

The best bars for listening to live music are concentrated in the heart of Santiago, around the so-called Plaza Italia (or Plaza Baquedano). There are dozens of spots on the banks of the River Mapocho: the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM), with two halls with impeccable acoustics; the Museo Violeta Parra auditorium, the many bars and pubs in the Bellavista neighbourhood, and the Ópera Catedral bar.

Read a biography of Violeta Parra

Riga for classical music lovers

In the late 1980s, the Latvians, together with their neighbours, the Estonians and Lithuanians, organised to fight against Soviet domination with their own voices in what is known as the Singing Revolution. This Baltic capital has become a can’t-miss destination for lovers of opera and classical music. It also hosts one of the world’s biggest choral events, the Latvian Song and Dance Festival. More and more concerts are being performed in Latvia, and more Latvians are finding success abroad, including Andris Nelsons, musical director of the Boston Symphonic Orquestra, and the opera tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko.

The study of ethnic music is also becoming popular, thanks to the curiosity of young people about their country’s different traditional styles. Latvian Voices is a six-voice women’s a cappella vocal group from Latvia that mixes their country’s traditional songs with modern melodies.

Flamenco legends in Jerez

For more than a century, some of the finest flamenco artists have come from Jerez. Manuel Molina, Lola Flores, La Paquera, and José Mercé, famous in this Spanish art, were born in the city’s Santiago and San Miguel neighbourhoods. Today, a new generation of women performers are determined to show that flamenco in Jerez still has a lot to contribute, while preserving the legendary names in the world of flamenco. María Terremoto, Gema Moneo and Lela Soto are a few examples.

The city, located in Cádiz, hosts important flamenco events, such as the Festival de Jerez, held in the Teatro Villamarta; the Feria del Caballo – an Event of International Interest – and the Fiesta de la Bulería, with 50 years of tradition behind it.

Jazz culture in Zurich

Jazz was already known in Switzerland, but US Army officers introduced it into local culture during World War II. Remo Rau was one of the pioneers of Swiss jazz. From Japan, when Rau moved to Zurich, he fell in love with jazz and ended up heading the Cafe Africana jazz club. It was the first venue to host the Zurich Jazz Festival, and he attracted famous musicians such as the legendary US jazz pianist Horace Silver and the South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim.

Today, the iconic jazz club Moods – located in a repurposed warehouse in Zurich’s former industrial area – hosts concerts seven days a week.

Fly to Santiago to explore the best live music venues from 25,500 Avios each way.

Attend one of flamenco’s biggest events on the world music scene, flying to Jerez from 4,500 Avios each way.

Don’t miss the Zúrich Jazz Festival from 30 October to 2 November; you can fly there from 7,500 Avios each way.

Cover image courtesy of Moods Club