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    Hear and There

    Five extraordinary people—from a pioneering Latinx musical artist to a wilderness-conservation hero—responded to our question: What single sound in all the world has the power to transport you to a specific place?

    Wind in the Desert

    Juan Arnau (@juanarnauelrow) is the co-founder and CEO of Elrow, which achieved fame for its multi-platform music and entertainment festivals on Ibiza and now stages events on five continents.

    “The wind is the element that I can most relate to. The wind blows hard when it comes to Monegros and Fraga, the city where I was born, where I grew and where my family started our career in entertainment back in 1870. But the wind brings specific memories of the Monegros Desert, from a piece of land my great great grandfather lost and won again in a poker game, and where our Monegros Desert Festival takes place. The wind that blows in the desert has brought unforgettable moments and memories to the festival, both good and scary, but all, always memories of wind.”


    Pioneering DJ, producer and composer Henrik Schwarz (@henrikschwarzlive) is known for his live laptop sessions, delivered from extraordinary locations around the world.

    “When you walk into the subway stations in Tokyo you can hear the ultra deep rumbling of the incoming trains, together with thousands of feet pairs bustling around. But the best part is when the automatic voice says “Shibuyaaaaaaaa!”whenever the subway doors open. Everybody else moves, but I stand still. Strangely this voice makes me feel home and safe, even if this is thousands of miles away from my actual physical home in Berlin.

    When I started making music, I wasn’t very confident about what I was doing. But when my music [was good enough that] it brought me to Japan for the first time, I learned it can’t be so wrong, what I am doing. So whenever I go back and hear this voice, it reminds me of my early days as an electronic musician; it reminds me where I came from, and it makes me feel good.”


    Born and raised in Colombia, now living in Toronto, the musician-singer-songwriter Lido Pimienta (@lidopimienta) won Canada’s top juried musical award, the Polaris Prize, in 2016. Her new album, Miss Colombia, is available now on Spotify.

    “This sound takes me to La Guajira, Colombia, where as a child, I would climb all the way to the top of the tallest mango tree and shake the branches as hard as I could. The ripe mangoes would fall into the skirts, shirts and aprons of my friends on the ground.

    Every house on our street had a mango tree, so I could tell when the best time would be to pick them. The rhythm and motion of the branches would inspire me to write melodies. My clothes would get stained, and I knew I would get screamed at because of it, but I didn’t care. Girls were not encouraged to climb trees or ride bikes alone; but it helped me be independent and spontaneous and strong.”


    A force to be reckoned with in the worlds of both world-class safaris and wilderness conservation, Luke Bailes founded Singita (@singita_) in 1993 in the South African bush where he spent his childhood.

    “We had just built Castleton [the original Bailes family home] in the Sabi Sand and were staying there for the first time. The front doors of the bedrooms hadn’t been finished— all we had was mosquito netting attached to the door frame. I was 13 years old at the time, and it was the first night; and I was sleeping in my bedroom for the first time. All of a sudden I was woken up by a lion roaring. It was standing twoyards from the doorframe. The room literally shook. I had never heard anything like it —and I didn’t sleep again! Almost every time I hear a lion roar I’m straight back at Castleton and that incredible experience.”


    Christopher Scarabosio is one of the most respected sound designers in Hollywood, with both George Lucas and Wes Anderson among the filmmakers he regularly collaborates with.

    “The sound of this melodic, exotic bird takes me to the Yucatan peninsula near the Mayan ruins of Tulum in Mexico. I was traveling there with Erin, my soon-to-be wife, and our plan was to mix ancient Mayan culture with the beach.

    I often travel with a recording device, and I was recording the Mexican jungle, getting some great sounds. On this particular day, we had visited the ancient ruins at Uxmal in the jungle of the region. We climbed up the steep pyramid steps, and I recorded a family of birds inside at the top.

    While driving back to the coast we kept seeing smallish black animals crossing the road. We stopped and realized the small animals were actually very large tarantulas. It was hot, and we wanted to get in the water. We drove to the ruins at Tulum, which are perched on a ridge overlooking the ocean. We swam beneath the ruins, and enjoyed the beach. Eyes closed, sound of the gentle surf where ancient Mayans created and an incredible civilization. And all amongst this idyllic moment was an undeniable bird song.

    As I often do at moments like this, I wanted to create a memory. Sometimes it’s a photograph, sometimes it’s a sound recording. In this instance it was the latter. For me a sound can trigger memories so vivid in a way a photograph can’t. Music works the same way: while typing this I am flooded with many more memories— a church song in Merida, the waves of cricket/insect sounds through our thatched-roof room on the beach, voices at markets, movements in the jungle, etc. These are fantastic memories to have, especially as we shelter in place.”

    PRIOR Team

    The PRIOR editorial team, overseen by David Prior, works together to write and produce stories that inspire curiosity about, and the desire to connect to, places and people across the world.

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