The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!
So Eurovision isn’t happening this year… but we thought we’d stick to the musical theme nonetheless and ask everyone to share some musical instruments from your country.
In May, write about a special musical instrument from your country.
Which instruments from your country sound like “home” to you?
There are quite a few musical instruments that come to mind for us here in Portugal, but the guitarra Portuguesa (aka, Portuguese guitar) is probably the most iconic one, the one always makes us a little sentimental to hear. It’s a complicated type of round guitar, with 12 strings and tuners in the shape of a peacock tail that is commonly associated with fado and serenade songs.
The most famous artist of this instrument was called Carlos Paredes, and to this day I cannot hear him play his guitar without getting a little weepy…
What about your own country? Which instruments are part of the national heritage, and what makes them culturally significant to your people? Share them on the postcards you send out this month, and on the comments below as well, if you’re inclined to — we’d love some tips to discover new sounds! 😊
It’s called “Putting a stamp on it”, and consists of 39 (mostly) golden oldies tunes, all featuring postcards, letters, stamps or mail carrier themes. From Carpenters’ “Please Mr. Postman” to Elvis “Return to Sender”, you’ll find a lot of familiar tunes there… but there’s also a few surprises! Overall, they’re upbeat songs that promise to fill your snail mail moments with happy vibes. We love it!
You can listen to it on the player to the right, or using this link to open it on Spotify.
Are there any songs about mail that you know, that might be missing from this list? Let everyone know in the comments!
Some time ago, we received a nice email from Peter (aka p22earl), asking whether we’d be interested in knowing how he had been using Postcrossing to learn about music from all over the world from other postcrossers. Well, we love music and we love fun projects that members run using the site… so yes, please! :)
Here he is, explaining his postal/musical experiment:
I came across Postcrossing by chance at home one evening. I was reading about Bookcrossing which I have done a bit of in the past when I stumbled upon Postcrossing. As a lover of snail mail I was instantly hooked on the idea and signed up to begin sending postcards.
I read some other users accounts and got a sense of how to set out my own ‘who i am and what i want’ profile. I thought about the kinds of postcards I’d like to receive and additionally I considered what I would like to perhaps learn from fellow Postcrossers. I have quite a lot of music on CD and cassette tapes. I don’t collect vinyl. My radio is hardly ever off. I decided that I really wanted to learn more about music from other parts of the world and that Postcrossing would be a good way to help me learn about it.
My profile reads… ‘I like to learn about different types of music from all over the world. Please tell me about your favourite music from your home country / city / town.’ And on postcards I sent out across the skies I wrote words to a similar affect. Often I would tell people what I was listening to that day or about my favourite bands (Breed 77, Beach House Joanna Gruesome, etcetera…).
The responses I had from Postcrossers did not disappoint. There were those who wrote about musical instruments they play, or what genre of music they enjoy. One from Netherlands wrote about how they could hear children going from door to door singing songs and collecting candy as part of traditional Saint Martin’s Day celebrations (11 November). And I started to learn as I had hoped about lots of genres of music I had never heard of (or considered) such as Medieval Rock (Saltatio Mortis), Mandopop (JJ Lin), Slovakian punk (Horkýže Slíže), Daina Baltic Folk (Alina Orlova), Russian Folk (Пелагея).
And as time went on I started to think about what I would do with my new found knowledge. Eventually I decided that I would make a mixtape of various Postcrossers’ favourites. Once I reached 100 postcards I selected one from each postcrosser who wrote to me or replied about music. I chose to not include bands whose music is familiar to me such as Abba or the Bee Gees – not just because I don’t like them but my aim with the project was to discover music that was new to me. And importantly I wanted that music to be an international portrait of Postcrossing members’ diverse tastes.
And as I used to do so much in my teens, I taped the music onto cassette. This is the only physical copy of the postcrossing playlist. I painted it with a small (inaccurate) map of the world on one side and on the reverse is a postcard including a real stamp. The mixtape exists as two playlists on Spotify. One side (playlist 1) featuring music from postcards I received and the second side (playlist 2) featuring songs from replies to postcards I sent. Side 1 plays 47 minutes, and side 2 runs for 43 minutes.
I hope you enjoy learning about some new music from around the world too. Let me know your favourite song from the playlist. And if you send me a postcard make sure to tell me about the music from your home country / city / town.
Peace, post & music
PS – Since not everyone has access to Spotify, here’s the track listing for Peter’s mixtape:
Country of Artist
Country of Postcrosser
Without a Fight
Russia & Finland
Twenty One Pilots
We Singing Colors
Envie d’en rire
Country of Artist
Country of Postcrosser
Wachstum Über alles
Lass uns gehen
When we were at war
You N Me
Lithuania & Norway
PPS – Notice something inside Peter’s mailbox on the first picture? Here’s a better photo:
Yup! Peter has little people who live inside his mailbox and take care of all the mail! He says he put them there to surprise his wife for her birthday, and they ended up staying… How nice is that? 😀