Botanic Park/Tainmundilla, Adelaide, Mon 12 Mar.
As WOMADelaide 2018 moves into its fourth and final day, a happy and relaxed Public Holiday crowd gently files into Botanic Park and fills the space around the stages. The heat of the preceding days has dissipated, ever so slightly, so it is a little easier for folks to move out from the shade and get a little closer to the musical action. Bashka’s Taste the World session finishes and the tent empties just in time for punters to move to the adjacent Novatech Stage, where Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko’s melodic airs and angelic vocals provide good reason to hang around for a while.
There are, perhaps, fewer people here than yesterday. There certainly seems to be a slightly more easygoing vibe (if that is possible). On Stage 2, Moussa Diakité & Wassado perform a set that is really difficult to categorise; the music is tinged with many influences, often within the same song. Diakité, resplendent in a vibrant purple outfit, plays and sings with more than a modicum of cool. Backed by the 6-piece Wassado, the music traverses much musical territory, and includes a healthy measure of the blues on more than one number. There’s some fabulous blues harp here and there.
Tinariwan play on the Foundation Stage; an experience made slightly more surreal by the breeze blowing last night’s thousands of white feathers through the air. The band’s hypnotic grooves seem to work their magic on the crowd. There’s not a lot of dancing but no-one seems to be leaving.
Cie Bivouac’s performance on their very own Bivouac Stage captivates those who watch. It is deliberate and thoughtful; something a little different from your usual WOMADelaide fare. Performance artist Francois Knoetze wanders by again, this time in a costume made from old computer mice. Over on the Zoo Stage, Naomi Keyte’s beautiful voice enthralls the sit-down audience. Her version of Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning shows the song in a different light. Nearby, the assembled ranks of Dustyesky are doing their thing for a live radio broadcast.
Chilean musical activist Nano Stern gets his audience into the show from the beginning, as he encourages one and all to clap, wave their hands and sing along. The trio perform an engaging set, no mean feat where the potent messages contained in Stern’s lyrics are potentially lost on a largely English-speaking crowd. The passion is still evident in the music however, and is augmented by Stern’s introductions. Everybody seems to get it.
Le Vent du Nord (pictured) return to the stage for another show that is nothing short of brilliant. The joy that is apparent in the music, the sheer magic of the vocal arrangements, and the good-humoured stories make this something special. The feelings are genuine, and the performance is sublime. This life-affirming, foot-stomping, hurdy-gurdy goodness is definitely a highlight of the weekend.
Tex, Don and Charlie play on Stage 3 in front of a large standing crowd, eager to see and hear something a little closer to home. Tex Perkins is in good form both as laconic frontman and vocalist, and the 75-minute performance revolves around the band’s knockabout, world-weary, front bar lyrics placed on a bed of brooding Americana. Despite Perkins’ mild unease about their “World Music” credentials, the gig is well received.
WOMADelaide 2018 has provided another opportunity for music fans from around the country to come to town and immerse themselves in a world of music, dance and food that they rarely get to experience in the one place. Bravo!
Image courtesy of David Robinson