WOMADelaide 2017 Music Fest
Beautiful sunshine and the scent of pine needles filled the air mid afternoon as the Hackney road gates were flung open to celebrate the opening of Womadelaide 2017 – the 25th anniversary of the best World Music event that Australia hosts every year. We were greeted by the bizarre sight of two Frenchmen clad in colonial officer garb astride 2 dodo’s – this was the first act we saw “Les Dodos” by Cie Ekart.
The first musical act was the Warsaw Village Band from Poland on the main Hackett Foundation stage. Lots of energy and Eastern European antique instrumentation produced a oompa esque sound that was charming for almost 15 minutes. We then strolled over to stage 3 for the Cretan sounds of Xylouris White with a freshly poured Coopers Pale Ale to improve the sound. This combination of folky roots and fierce drums was great fun and really fired the good afternoon crowd up.
The next act was the Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans who played a wide variety of covers of tunes like Marvin Gaye Sexual Healing in a big marching band jazz style. High energy and good performances were a highlight. Then your correspondent was invited to participant as a volunteer in a live dance performance with the act “Attractor” by Dancenorth, Senyawa and Lucy Guerin Inc- with a human beat box provided by Senyawa the trance-noise odyssey was a musical and tribal energy fuelled performance which enabled me to hit my 10,000 steps for the day by mid performance as well as be a unique audience immersion.
Our first performance was Bamba Wassoulou Groove on the foundation stage. Really excellent Mali sounds propelled by 3 spiralling guitars led by Moussa. Lovely intense tunes performed with typical West African intensity and showmanship – a festival highlight. We then strolled over to the Novatech stage for L-Fresh the Lion the hip hop artist from South West Sydney. He was very well received and the fast paced hip hop and call and response were enthusiastically embraced by the full and energetic South Australia crowd. A special flavour of the Novatech stage is the Pear cider tent (from South Australian local provedors Hills Cider) at the rear – highly recommended.
Brushy One String was up next on the Zoo stage. He is a Jamaican performer whose mix of covers of Bob Marley tunes and his own melodies were exceptionally popular with the vast crowd at the Zoo stage. In fact the crowd overwhelmed the area and perhaps a larger space would have allowed for a better experience for all to enjoy his melodic riddims. Bokante was next – a new group meaning “exchange” in Creole with 8 musicians from 4 continents – wonderful musicians and a lovely mix of blues and jazz with a gentle sprinkle of Creole flavours. We then strolled over to catch the second half of Nattali Rize’s performance of roots reggae flavours. The politically charged up beat reggae was an absolute joy. Nattali was the front woman from Blue King Brown and her expert musicianship was clear from her vocals, guitar playing and drumming. World class!
La Mambanegre (black mamba) played a furious set of Cali style south American music which had a full crowd up and dancing like an all night party disregarding the worst of Mike Blairs lockout excesses.
The last 2 acts were the one trick pony of Fuel Fandango alternating between a traditional style of flamenco dancing with Ibiza style dance music – slightly forgettable. The last act we caught was Emir Kusturica and the No Smoking Orchestra. A strange choice of headliner for the Saturday night Foundation stage with Serbian nationalist traditional eastern European tunes and a mixture of semi amusing stage banter encouraged an earlier night for team Womad.
By: Rory Fagan
What: WOMADelaide Fest 2017
When: 10-13 March
Where: Plane Tree Dr, Adelaide SA 5000