Review: WOMADelaide 2017, Day Two

Botanic Park was once again full of life for the second day of the World’s Music Festival, and the slightly cooler weather was a welcome relief for what is usually a sweltering 4 days of sights, sounds, and smells from around the globe.


Botanic Park was once again full of life for the second day of the World’s Music Festival, and the slightly cooler weather was a welcome relief for what is usually a sweltering 4 days of sights, sounds, and smells from around the globe. Not wanting to miss anything, Glam’s music team were straight into things from the word go!

Lamine Sonka and The African Intelligence (Senegal) were a great act that screamed vibrancy. There was nothing but intoxicating energy coming from Stage 3. You could not help but groove along to their infectious celebration music that demands involvement. From children in nappies dancing and bopping along, to women and men embracing and dancing together, none walked away without a positive mind-set and sense of hope and joy. With a mix of traditional instrumentation accompanied by electric guitar, they pulled the traditional into the 21st century and the emotion it evoked was relatable.

Over on Stage 2, Oki Dub Ainu Band (Japan) brought the Tonkori (Japanese stringed instrument) into the Park with a ‘Ninja Rock’ set that provided a modern twist to a showcase of Ainu culture. The heavy percussion added a perfect ambience to their sound, which pretty much rocked the crowd to the core.

Also, using traditional stringed instruments, Hanoi Masters (Vietnam) were a more mellow contrast on the Zoo Stage, caressing the strings ever so gently to literally make the instrument speak.

On the Morton Bay Stage was MANE (Aus), who consist of Paige Court and her esteemed band that hail from the beautiful city we call home, Adelaide. Haunting yet beautiful, Paige’s sombre vocals engulfed Botanic Park, delivering on the emotional and intellectual front and penetrating your heart and soul. Heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time, MANE have a sound all of their own and deliver an understanding on issues that seem well beyond their years.

L-Fresh The Lion (Aus) supported by ‘hypester’ Mira and his band were on a mission to stomp out racism, and drew a large crowd over on the Novatech Stage. His style is a blend of Hip Hop, Rap, & Groove with a nice bit of his cultural roots thrown in. He’s pretty smooth, and if you’ll pardon the pun- his act was Fully Sikh!

Brushy One String’s (Jamaica) message is all men are created equal and that we are all human, one heart and one spirit. A man who exudes joy and humility, Brushy is truly a remarkable artist. Regaling his audience with tales of his mother and his past, Brushy will pull at your heart strings with admiration at his passion for his experiences. Playing only one string on an acoustic guitar, the songs were catchy and fun. He is a genuine reminder that it’s the simple things in life that should be appreciated and revered, because that is where true freedom and peace stems from.

TAGO (South Korea) gave a great display of both music and stamina, blending martial arts moves with a huge drum called a ‘Buk’ along with numerous synchronised drummers playing in time. It is entrancing to listen to, and judging by the dark clouds that began to roll in, was akin to a Rain Dance.

Nattali Rize and her band blew the audience away with their uplifting reggae beats. Rize, also front woman for Byron Bay’s Blue King Brown, had a real presence about her. Celebrating community, friendship and standing up for a belief, Rize and her band were infectious with their positive and empowering sound. A true believer in the power of music, she explains the ‘physics of spirituality’ with how she believes music brings people together in such a way that nothing else can. “When you meet someone you connect with, you ‘resonate’ with them; it’s a powerful inexplicable emotion.” Rize also encouraged her audience to “be the change the world needs.”

Another act with a message was Award winning artist Toni Childs (USA/Aus), who drew a packed crowd back on the Novatech Stage which, truth be told, was far too small a venue for such an amazing artist to spread her message. Nonetheless, Childs and her unchanged, untouched, and unmissable voice touched the audience in many ways, firstly by leaving the stage to connect with the crowd who she expressed gratitude and love for, and secondly through her gift of song and great outlook on life.

East Pointers (Can) delivered a Celtic/ Irish sound that was energetic and fun! All the way from Canada, the trio are cousins Tim and Koady Chaisson, and Jake Charron. Playing fiddle, banjo and guitar the boys blasted WOMADelaide festival goers with a high adrenaline performance. Mostly instrumental, their show was anything but lacking. Their songs were exhilarating, the whole audience was transformed into a sea of Irish dancing, or at least attempts at it. Their harmonies were sublime, and they made traditional into something that seemed fresh and new.

Sinkane (Sudan/USA), with a decidedly reggae feel were both funky and soulful with their brassy beats that got one’s feet moving. Lead singer Ahmed Gallab showed off his talent by exchanging roles with his drummer, exhibiting both talent and humility.

Dope Lemon is Angus Stone’s (from Angus and Julia Stone) latest side project. With plenty of distortion and pulsating drums, Dope Lemon enchanted their audience with their Alternative Indie vibes. Their set was mesmerising; amplified by the ambient lighting and smoke machines, and had an atmosphere all of their own. They were a clear crowd favourite & If you haven’t already, check them out.

BaBa ZuLa (Turkey) were one of those treasures we find each year at WOMAD! Their blend of traditional Middle-Eastern sounds and prayer like chanting, these guys are considered forerunners in Turkish Psychedelic rock and are a little like Mike Patton from Faith No More’s side project, The Secret Chiefs. The ‘calls to prayer’ were more like calls to party- and they’re playing the Foundation Stage again on Monday Night!

The Waifs, a headliner for WOMADelaide 2017, are also celebrating their 25th Anniversary. From humble beginnings in Broome in 1992, it’s clear to see why The Waifs have also maintained a strong presence within the Australian music scene. Sisters Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn along with Josh Cunningham, took their fans for a trip down memory lane. Playing old favourites, the crowd was embraced by familiarity, as with each song was a story. Some of past experiences and some as fresh as only last week, the WOMADelaide audience knew they were witnessing something special. They are truly humble and do their many followers and fans proud. They also recognise and accredit their fans for their continued success. Their performance was polished and effortless. Vikki’s harmonica echoed throughout the parklands, paired with flawless vocals and penetrating guitar riffs, it was a truly unforgettable performance, one I was truly inspired by. The Waifs are currently touring Australia on the release of their latest studio album ‘Ironbark’, head to thewaifs.com for more information.

It’s been a big day, and we’re only half way there. See you for the final 2 days of WOMADelaide- you’d better bring a raincoat today as it looks ominous overhead.

By Dazz Hassan & Kat Yeend.

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