Well it’s that time of year again, when some of the most remarkable sounds in the world converge upon South Australia for probably the best-run music festival in Australia. The beauty of Womadelaide is that with 8 stages, workshops, hell even cooking classes from some of the bands, you can basically program your own festival, and as such it’s a different experience for everyone who attends. Set within the gorgeous surrounds of Adelaide’ botanical gardens, you couldn’ ask for a better location to experience these incredible artists.
This yearly collection is but a taster, barely skimming the surface of the festival, but it does whet the appetite. It opens with Malian afro pop artist and crusader for Albino rights, Salif Keita, with Samfi, off his recent Tale album, where he works with the likes of Bobby Mcferrin and Roots Manuva. This track too is really evocative, strangely enough featuring a sample from the B-52s, with dense percussion and a deep electro groove, with Keita’ distinctive voice weaving in and out over earnest backing vocals.
Next up is a peculiar tribal psychedelic track from the Tajikistan/Israeli band The Alaev Family featuring a master doyra (frame drum with metal rings inside) player. It’s strange and disconcerting, totally overwhelming and quite amazing. Definitely a band to check out this year. New York afrobeat purists Antibalas pop up with a track from their latest album entitled Dirty Money, whilst Bosnian Goran Bregovic drops a Cocktail Molotov, which sounds exactly like you’d imagine from the Balkan Roma artist’s 2002 album Tales and Songs From Weddings and Funerals.
There’ Celtic ditties from Jordi Savall, Latin salsa from Colombia’ LA-33, and Afro jazz from South African Hugh Masekala, a musician who isn’ afraid to mess with form, and one of the big names at this years festival. Putting Mia Dyson alongside the US based Savoy Family Cajun Band may initially appear to be strange sequencing, but with such a diversity of styles and approaches there are no easy answers when putting together a collection like this. It’s impossible to please everyone. Then to go into reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, well that’s downright insanity. But to some extent this is a synthesized version of Womadelaide. Over the course of a day you can travel to pretty much every continent in the world, and a few more nooks and crannies. You can hear traditional music that hasn’ changed in centuries and strange newly evolving fusions. But if you haven’ pencilled in a trip to Adelaide this march, and you have maybe 50 odd minutes to spare, then this is the place to spend it.
Bob Baker Fish