Listen up: 6 iconic music styles born in major cities

Discover the roots of global music genres that you never knew about

Kevin Crain

By Kevin Crain

A man holding a traditional string instrument.

Traveling to new destinations offers a chance to immerse yourself in different cultures and traditions. What better way to do so than through music? By exploring local sounds, you can deepen your understanding of a new place. Whether you’re swapping cities or countries, Blueground makes it easy with fully furnished apartments all over the world. Plus, each one is equipped with everything you need to show up and start living.

Get ready for a musical journey as we explore six must-listen styles for travelers. Because there’s no better way to prepare for your new home (or celebrate a move) than to listen to some of that spot’s best sounds. 

Grime | London 

Red lights show in a club

While the British Invasion of the 1960s understandably gets a lot of attention, there’s a more recent musical phenomenon from the UK — grime. Be sure to check out this high-energy, bass-driven music of London. With its rapid-fire lyrics and heavy beats, grime is the perfect music to get you pumped up and ready to explore the city. 

Whether you’re listening to a grime playlist as you work from the comfort of your Blueground apartment or getting your groove on at a club, the kinetic sound of this music style livens up any moment. 

Rebetika | Athens

Firstly, there’s rebetika. This bluesy style of music originated in Greece around the beginning of the 20th century and has roots in the music of Greek immigrants from Asia. It’s a hauntingly beautiful genre that often tells the stories of painful or rebellious experiences. From heartbreak and hardship to love and loss, rebetika explores the emotions that come with life. 

Make sure to catch a live performance at one of the city’s rebetika hotspots, like Aggelos and Marathonitis Tavern, if you’re staying in Athens. Trust us, every note transports you to another time and place. Or check out the Greek Classics playlist on Spotify. 

Turkish Classical Music | Istanbul

Calling Istanbul home for a month, a year, or longer? Don’t miss your chance to hear Turkish classical music. This style of music has been shaped by centuries of cultural influences. With origins in the Ottoman Empire, it contains intricate melodies and stirring vocals. Instruments used in Turkish classical music often include plucked strings and flutes, including the tanbur, ney, kemence, oud, kanun, and violin. If you get the chance, be sure to experience a live performance at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall or Süreyya Opera House. Either venue provides an unforgettable experience! 

Fado | Lisbon 

Next, treat your ears to the heartfelt and melancholic music born in Lisbon, Portugal. With its deep roots in Portuguese history, fado is a style that speaks to the soul. It explores themes of love, nostalgia, and everyday experiences. Featuring beautiful vocals and charming melodies, fado is a must-listen for anyone living in LisbonSoak up this fado playlist in one of the city’s cafes or catch a live performance at Tasca do Chico or Cafe Luso. This unique style of music delivers an authentic feel for Portugal no matter what. 

Sardana | Barcelona 

Thirdly, say hello to the traditional folk dance music of Catalonia, which is often referred to as “a powerful symbol of national unity and identity.” With its upbeat rhythms and lively sound, sardana brings a smile to faces and gets people moving to the beat. Dancers typically join hands in a circle and perform coordinated movements.    Ready to see it for yourself or join in the fun? Head to the Barcelona Cathedral on Saturdays at 6:30 pm or the Placa de Sant Jaume on Sunday afternoons or evenings. It’s a can’t-miss activity if you’re staying in Barcelona

Are you looking for more activities or adventures to fill your weekend? Check out our weekend guide for Barcelona.

House | Chicago

Green lights show in a club

Lastly, we have house music, which was born as a new genre in Chicago in the 1980s. Featuring relentless beats and driving basslines, house is the upbeat soundtrack every night out in The Windy City needs.  Ready to experience it live? Visit one of the top Chicago spots for house music, such as Sound Bar, Stereo Nightclub, and Primary Night Club. If you love to dance and enjoy entrancing audio and visuals, you’ll love Chicago house music.

Sounds great, right?

Is a fully furnished apartment with flexible terms music to your ears? Then be sure to check out Blueground’s thousands of turnkey homes around the globe. Stay for a month, a year, or longer as you explore the music of different cities. 

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain is a writer from Dallas, Texas. He’s dedicated to helping every Blueground guest live like a local and make their apartment feel like home. His favorite topics include active experiences, bucket list essentials, and hidden gems in cities around the world.