Adelaide Botanic Park, Sun Mar 8

Despite all that has gone before, we’re still only halfway through this WOMADelaide festival, so on the third day we rise again and head in for more. The wide range of food available is always a big draw-card at WOMADelaide but this year there is something new. We begin our WOMADelaide day with lunch at a new pop-up outdoor restaurant called Street In The Park and the food is very good. The need to linger and enjoy means I miss the beginning of Max Savage and the False Idols but catch most of what is a strong performance of mainly original material. His stories of having grown up with WOMAD resonate with the crowd.

I head to main stage for a bit of Mista Savona, but after a while I find that the familiarity of the reggae music is not matching my mood, and decide that this might be a good time to check out Mr V’s CD tent. From here I can hear the strains of Tara Tiba at The Zoo Stage and wander around to investigate. The songs are lovely but from where I’m sitting the mix is a little bass heavy.

Four o’clock brings one of those frequent scheduling disasters where there is just too much good music on at once. I really want to see Julia Henning, but Soley is on again and I want more of this. I know Meeta Pandit at Moreton Bay will be good but despite all of these options I can’t tear myself away from seeing more of Toumani & Sidiki Diabate at Stage 2. This is an hour of bliss, and I’m sorry for the music I missed but so glad I was able to have this experience.

And now for something completely different those wild Romanians from Fanfare Cocarlia are whooping again it up on stage 1 and getting a lot of hands waving in the air. This certainly shakes me out of my kora-induced reverie, but it’s great to see a brass band being so much fun.

Another trek across to Speaker’s Corner follows because Neneh Cherry is playing. She looks and moves well and the music is fine if a little old school, but excitement levels rise when Youssou N’Dour makes an appearance at the side of the stage. Speculation simmers. Will they do THAT song? They don’t. He doesn’t join her on stage. Perhaps tonight?

Back to main stage for the only appearance of First Aid Kit. To my ears they’ve lost a little of their charm from their previous WOMADelaide appearance by becoming a full band, so I opt to listen to them from the stage 3 area while securing a good spot for Depedro. What had been a fine performance the day before mid afternoon on main stage becomes a standout performance at night on stage 3. The setting is perfect, the songs are excellent, and Depedro is dynamic! And he manages to get everyone singing along in Spanish!

Youssou N’Dour is WOMAD royalty and having fond memories of his previous Adelaide performances I’m really looking forward to this. With a huge band this is another class act and Youssou still has it! There is a bit too much frippery that comes with a large show band, and one of the highlights comes when he dismisses the band to deliver a song about New Africa with just keyboard backing. Another highlight comes when the question of the afternoon is answered when he calls Neneh Cherry on stage for a heart-melting version of Seven Seconds. We feel special when Youssou explains that tonight in Adelaide is the only place in the world where this is happening. Another memorable Youssou N’Dour performance, but I’m left wanting more.

The night is rounded off by watching Public Service Broadcasting, while the rest of the family head off to Live Live Cinema. The cleverness of both of these options are a splendid way to see the evening out. Thanks WOMADelaide!

Adrian Miller

Image courtesy of David Robinson

Print Friendly, PDF & Email