[WORLD MUSIC ~ INT]
Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla, Sat 9 Mar.
It’s a perfectly sunny, blue-sky Saturday in Adelaide; an ideal day for fully immersing oneself in the musical smorgasbord that is WOMADelaide. 2019 boasts an impressive line-up, with acts curated from all corners of the globe, appearing alongside an increasingly strong Australian presence.
As I leave the outside world behind and re-join this wonderful community, I can hear the West African sounds of Sona Jobarteh and the accompanying appreciation emanating from the Novatech Stage. A fabulous entrée.
One of the high points of the day comes early. My Baby, a vibrant trio from Amsterdam perform a pulsating, groovy set that captivates an already large and willing crowd on the Foundation Stage. They make a big noise and the joint is rocking.
Despite the weather being kinder than it has been in some previous years it is still quite warm, and every inch of shade is occupied. The village stalls are popular with those wanting to take a break from the music and the sun. The range of food and beverage options is impressive. Other distractions such as The Planet Talks, Taste The World and Artists In Conversation ensure that WOMADelaide offers much more than music alone. There really is something for just about everyone.
Over on Stage 2 members of the Taiwu Ancient Ballads Troupe, a children’s choir, sing and play beautifully. They look great too; resplendent in traditional Taiwanese costume. Dangerous Song & Bukhu, an amazing collaboration, play to a seated audience on the Morton Bay Stage. The spacious blending of horsehead fiddle, (electronic) woodwind and voice is spellbinding. There’s some sound spilling over from Stage 3, which is distracting at times but probably understandable, given the nature of the festival.
LaBrassBanda bring their Bavarian folk music to Adelaide, wowing the crowd on the main stage with a good fun and very danceable set, comprising elements of jazz and reggae with a range of other sonic delights. The tuba proves to be a most popular instrument amongst audience members.
Jamie Smith’s MABON play uplifting Celtic instrumentals on fiddle and accordion, underpinned by some very tasty, funky bass. These “five pasty Welsh blokes” are obviously enjoying their WOMADelaide experience and it rubs off on the crowd, who remain happily entertained for the entire performance.
The Foundation Stage hosts Baloji who, with his band, bounces through a set of funky soul. They look and sound brilliant – a perfect WOMAD moment.
Another highlight of the day is seeing and hearing Liz Phair on Stage 3. Accompanied by Connor Sullivan, the whole show comprises the music of just two electric guitars, which only serves to emphasise the quality of Phair’s voice and songwriting. She starts the set strongly with Supernova and the performance never wavers. The anthemic God Loves Baseball, a new song, is a memorable moment. People covered in paint start appearing around me, so I guess The Colour Of Time has passed through. The sun sets, the birds retire and the bats come out; day becomes night.
The biggest crowd of the event has assembled for the John Butler Trio. There are more than three of them on stage, but who’s counting? Despite the masses that have gathered there, a decent-sized audience appreciates DuOuD over on the Zoo Stage.
It’s almost impossible to do justice to all the acts that appear across the four days of WOMADelaide. The challenge is to try and strike a balance between seeing and hearing as much as possible, while not spreading yourself too thinly. As the International Space Station cuts a swathe through the clear night sky, I realise just how tired I am…
WOMADelaide 2019 continues at Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla, at various times, until Mon 11 Mar.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of David Robinson