The travel playlist of Marc Nair

Nothing beats a good soundtrack on moments of your travel—moments which get permanently etched in your mind and resurfaces within the first notes of those songs. This week we approached Marc Nair who travels extensively to share with us on music, a travel playlist and his most recent trip to the Balkans.

Balkan Tourist, published in Spomenik by Marc Nair

Did you chance upon anything from the Balkans that you liked or found interesting?

I discovered rakia (a fruit brandy), and had a few swigs of a particularly potent homemade brew from a friend while we were climbing up St John's Hill in the Bay of Kotor. It was a rather 'challenging' trip downhill. 

Did the situation in “Left Luggages” really happen?

The road to Kosovo banks around villages,
opens upwards into the Balkans, a quiet
judge rising above smokestack and river.
A commotion, and the landscape screeches
to a halt. Suitcases have been lost, tumbled off
the unlit mountain somewhere after the border.

Yes, it really did, and it happened exactly as I described it. It was too dark on that mountain road to take a photo of half the bus standing around and smoking cigarettes while the other half of the bus went searching for the luggage, but I would say the exact moment the poem was born was when I looked up and saw the stars. 

You are also a member of the spoken word band Neon and Wonder – how did that come about?

I've started three or four bands over the years, and I've also worked with other musicians here and there. Neon and Wonder has existed since 2008, and I've developed a really good understanding with my band-mates. They know the cadence and rhythms of my words and are quick to devise melodies and build music around my text.

Finally, what do you think of the relationship between music and literature?

I think there is a lot of music in literature and vice-versa. But what I do is try to layer poetry with music, which could be seen as complicating the text, or at best, adding another level of meaning; perhaps something more emotive or imbuing it with a different kind of kinesis.

Marc Nair’s travel playlist

On the way to the airport: The Killers — Day & Age

On the plane: Aurora — All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend

Enroute to a new place: Twenty One Pilots — Vessel

Walking around (and getting lost): K'naan — Troubadour

Dinner music: John Mayer, Hozier

Bedtime jam: Federico Albanese — The Blue Hour

Listen to a sampler mix of songs from Marc’s list here.

Spomenik is a collection of poems and photographs from the Balkans. It is available on our webstore, Kinokuniya and MPH. Limited edition postcards featuring photos from the book are now available on our webstore—mail away!