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Los Angeles’ new rail extension makes its way to the beach

For the first time in 60 years, Angelenos can take a break from the city’s gridlocked traffic and hop on the extended Expo Line train from Downtown all the way to Santa Monica beach

In Los Angeles, the US’s most congested city, commuters spend a hellish 164 hours a year stuck in a traffic jam. Mention rush hour on the 405 or the 101 and drivers will roll their eyes and groan. With a reputation for gridlocked highways, smog and an unwieldy public transport system, the car capital of America is a daunting city to navigate.

The I-10 from Downtown to Santa Monica is notoriously slow at weekends, when it can take up to two hours to drive the 17½ miles. But from this weekend, many Angelenos will finally be able to make a less stressful trip to the coveted beachside town. In what mayor Eric Garcetti describes as a “game changer”, the city has spent $1.5bn on the new Expo Line extension to the coast. Seven additional stations and 6.6 miles of new track mean that, as of 20 May, sun seekers can hop on a train, surfboard under one arm, in Downtown LA, and hit the beach 46 minutes later.

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‘In Peru, I was confronted by ancient instruments that people still play’

It’s not often you get to knock out a tune on a dead donkey’s jaw. Music producer Mala, of dubstep crew DMZ, skips the pan pipes to discover Peru’s musical roots

For me what’s inspiring is finding and capturing the essence of the old and seeing how I can marry it with what’s happening now. In Peru, I was constantly confronted by ancient instruments that people still play. I can’t think of anything more fascinating than what a dead donkey’s jaw sounds like when you put it on a sound system.

There’s an instrument called a cajita, which originated as a church donation box. Players open and close the lid, and hit it, to create an intricate rhythm. A quijada is that donkey jaw – if you bash the base of it with your fist, it creates this shot sound, but you get the rattle of the teeth, too. And a cajón was a cargo shipping box, because a lot of the slaves worked at the docks, and made instruments from what they could find.

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