Songs for Travellers, Expats and Emigrants


Every culture brings its music wherever it goes, sometimes fusing with the music of a new homeland, and always retaining beats, melodies and lyrics that reflect a unique identity.

Here are five songs of discovery, heartbreak and hope that speak to the experience of travelling and living abroad.

No Roots – Alice Merton

If you’ve ever lived abroad, travelled extensively or moved multiple times, you won’t be able to stop yourself dancing to No Roots’ powerful refrain. Alice Merton’s debut song is inspired by the artist’s several moves throughout her lifetime, from Germany to Canada to the UK.

Parce qu’on vient de loin – Corneille

This German-Rwandan-Canadian artist takes advantage of Canada’s bilingual audience by singing in both English and French. Parce qu’on vient de loin will resonate with anyone who “comes from afar”.

Flesh and Bone – Wara

Years before Brexit, anti-immigrant sentiment was on the rise and UK policy reflected this. Several points-based visas were being eliminated, including post-study work visas for students graduating from UK universities. Wara, a band made up of several international students at SOAS, didn’t hesitate to voice their objection to this trend on their debut album, Leave to Remain. The notes of Flesh and Bone intertwine with Cuban, Venezuelan, Chilean and Congolese beats – a song about young woman whose visa application is denied, with bitingly critical lyrics in English and Spanish:

“How do you like borders,
Tight, tight or tighter?
How do you like Britain,
White, white or whiter?”

Citizen of the Planet – Alanis Morissette

For any Canadian whose first trip abroad ignited their global outlook, helped them connect with their heritage and gave them a love of travel, Citizen of the Planet is like an ode to your gap year.

Somos – Ana Maria Posada

This song won Latincouver’s video contest in 2017. In her contest submission, Ana Maria writes about wanting to create a song based not only on her life but on the testimonies of other Latinos who live in Canada. The result is a melodic tribute to the Latin diaspora.

Do you know of other great songs about travel, moving abroad and immigration? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.