A great start to day 3 of WOMADelaide saw Aussie legends of Aboriginal rock Coloured Stone bringing their earthy songs to the table which were layered with didgeridoo, some electric guitar, and stunning vocals in backup singer Cee-Cee Honeybee.
Tinpan Orange (Australia) meanwhile were delivering a quirky, cartoonesque set over on the Speakers Corner Stage.
Red Baraat (USA) once again set things on fire with their Bhangra dance party, which was the perfect soundtrack for slipping over to see The Mallakhamb Gymnasts (India), who dazzled the crowd with their pole gymnastics and put on a mind-boggling display for an appreciative crowd. Their routines featured unusual human pyramids and traditional rope based acrobatics, with most involving physically demanding contortionist work.
Melbourne’s Baby et Lulu comprising of Abby Dobson of Leonardo’s Bride and Lara Goodridge were once again impressive, the French vocals/music were both charming and mesmerising.
Mehr Ensemble (Iran/Australia) were weaving their classical Persian music, interlaced with emotive poetry to the hypnotic sounds of Middle Eastern string instruments and wood flute.
The sultry vocals of Carminho (Portugal) were a pleasant afternoon option, with Carminho and her guitarist opening a unique new world for the attentive listeners with a music style called Fado, a Portuguese blues variation of which Carminho is the world’s premiere star of.
Meanwhile, the Parade got itself underway with a throng of eager kids and parents lining up behind the Parade band complete with their crafts made during the day in hand.
The Brown Hornet (Australia) were instrumentally quite sound as a funk outfit, but Dylan Lewis as a vocalist didn’t necessarily bring a lot to the table and the band is an acquired taste to a degree. The Baker Suite (Australia) on the other hand, were a fresh experience with their eclectic French kick and gypsy-esque romantica, but may have been better suited for later in the evening over a glass of red.
The discovery of the day though, was young Hank Williams doppelganger Pokey LaFarge from the USA, whose combination of Delta/country blues, ragtime, and Dixieland jazz infusions recreated the sounds of the 30’s in dustbowl America. You could easily have closed your eyes and imagined slipping on an old 33rpm record. The boppy little numbers featuring clarinet got the crowd smiling, and ‘LaLa Blues’ showcased Ryan Koenig’s multitasking of the snare, washboard and harmonica, bringing the crowd ‘down to the river’.
Turning daytime into nighttime were La Chiva Gantiva (Colombia/Belgium) who funky Latin rhythms took things to a new level, getting the huge crowd both pumping and jumping to the percussion intense explosion they created on stage.
Breabach (Scotland) with their double bagpipes and violin played Scottish folk and traditional music which usually makes one feel the need to move, so it was surprising that they played to a seated audience.
The Balanescu Quartet (UK) are a sublime string quartet who created a transcendent moment few would forget. Their tribute to Romanian singer Maria Tanase was a beautiful moment, and a notable highlight for the whole festival.
It wasn’t hard to work out though, why a swarm of people had made their way over to Stage 3, as Australia’s beloved Lior kicked off his set, playing crowd favourites such as ‘This Old Love’ quite early in the set. Given his popularity, it is surprising that he was allocated the smaller Stage 3 but nonetheless he delivered a superb performance.
Ontosoroh were a music and dance ensemble from Indonesia reflecting the transition from Dutch rule. Although slow moving at times the rich and contemplative piece engaged many.
Final act for the night was Rachid Taha (Algeria), who conjured up some adventurous Arab-laced rock infused with powerful, angst laden lyrics to bring the main area to a close on another busy day of global song and dance.
Reviewed by Darren Hassan & Gavin De Almeida
(Picture: Pokey LaFarge)