Australian Music Artists

Kingfisha – Offering Reggae Up Differently

After years in the making Brisbane band Kingfisha has finally released the second album Offered It Up. On it they deliver the sounds of reggae and dub differently to any Australian act associated with those genres, both past and present.

Kingfisha - Offered It Up

Offered It Up (2016)

That means none of its songs are formulaic or repetitive. And that Kingfisha aren’t trying to copy the sound of reggae from its original Jamaican source. Nor do their lyrics describe experiences of oppression far removed from their actual experiences within the privileged part of the world they live.

Instead each one of the ten songs on Offered It Up sounds different to the next. And within each one comes smooth-flowing changes galore; a diversity of sounds to keep your close attention and move you. Amongst them are some killer bass lines that hit you deep like you want the bass to do; and a whole lot of weird, wonderful, subtle and powerful synthesiser sounds seamlessly blended throughout to make this music so much more varied and special.

Another factor distinguishing Kingfisha and making their overall sound as refreshing as they come are the wide-ranging, sublime-sounding vocal melodies of singer/songwriter Anthony Forrest which seem more akin to a soul singer than your typical reggae vocalist.

Check out two sample tracks from Offered It Up, remembering they’re just compressed mp3 versions of the full sound recorded, and get your hard copy of the entire album here.

Kingfisha - Offered It Up

“Left It” by Kingfisha
x
x
“Water Running” by Kingfisha

x

Kingfisha tours regularly both at home in Australia and overseas. Keep an eye out for the live experience near you.

Bluesfest 2016 – Embracing Contemporary Hip Hop, Soul & Jazz Of The Highest Order

Blessed be lovers of innovative contemporary hip hop, R&B, funk and jazz music for the gift of consecutive live performances by Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, Kamasi Washington and Hiatus Kaiyote on the one stage at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016.

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert - Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016

Hiatus Kaiyote

Kamasi Washington live concert 2016

Kamasi Washington

Kendrick Lamar live concert - Bluesfest 2016 - Australia

Kendrick Lamar

D'Angelo And The Vanguard concert 2016

D’Angelo

If you’re one of those music lovers you’ll know that every single one of the many musicians and vocalists who performed on stage with those artists on Thursday and Saturday nights (minus Kendrick Lamar on Saturday) are amongst the most skilful, talented and innovative creators of funkified jazz and soul music in the world right now. Having been influenced by and collaborating on each others’ music projects, all of them were in perfect company together on the main stage. And anyone lucky enough to be there would have found themselves in musical heaven – mesmerised by each and every sublime sound delivered by those artists.

Hiatus Kaiyote

As musical creators Melbourne’s “future-soul” group Hiatus Kaiyote earned their place on a bill with Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, Kamasi Washington and their accompanying artists. As live instrumentalists, vocalists and performers on stage in the flesh at Bluesfest, Hiatus Kayote undoubtedly demonstrated their rightful place amongst them to audiences made up of both punters and those contemporary music peers alike.

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert - Australia 2016

Hiatus Kaiyote at Bluesfest 2016

x

As well as delivering a welcome acknowledgment of the passing of the great hip hop creator Phife Dawg during their Thursday set, Nai Palm (vocals/guitars/keys), Simon Mavin (keys/samples), Paul Bender (bass), Perrin Moss (drums) and their three background vocalists delivered two stunning sets of songs drawn mainly from Choose Your Weapon and including a new song on the video below, and as always; showed audiences their unique “multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic gangster” sound is at its most supreme when heard live.

Kamasi Washington

The inclusion of L.A-based saxophonist Kamasi Washington in the 2016 line-up was a welcome surprise after the cancellation of his first visit to Australia last year when Soulfest folded at the last minute.

Kamasi Washington live concert - Bluesfest 2016 Australia

Kamasi Washington at Bluesfest 2016

Each Bluesfest show Kamasi Washington performed with The Next Step / West Coast Get Down sounded unique. But both were definitely a family affair; a collective affair; and a humble and respectful one. Parts of Kamasi Washington’s recent jazz masterpiece The Epic were performed as well as some new music by him. But this was not a one-man Kamasi Washington show. It was a showcase of the sublime funkified jazz music and skills of all the incredible artists on stage with him who grew up playing music together. Everyone had their moments to shine during the sets and when it wasn’t their turn they listened, enjoyed, and appreciated what they heard from one other.

Ryan Porter and Kamasi Washington live concert 016

Ryan Porter w/ Kamasi Washington

Audiences were treated to the sounds of Kamasi Washington playing with his father Ricky Washington (who “taught him everything he knows”) on flute and with Ryan Porter (“one of his mentors”) on trombone; drum solos and drum-offs between Ronald Bruner Jr and Tony Austin; a jam between Kamasi Washington and Ronald Bruner Jr (“like they’ve being doing together since he got his first drum-kit at 3 years old”); a must-hear song “Abraham”  about to be released by double-bass player/vocalist Miles Mosley, and another from keyboardist Brandon Coleman; with vocals by Patrice Quinn (“the most beautiful voice he’s heard”).

Brandon Coleman live concert Australia 2016

Brandon Coleman

Miles Mosley live concert - Bluesfest 2016 Australia

Miles Mosley

Kamasi Washington & Ricky Washington live concert 2016

Ricky & Kamasi Washington

Ronald Bruner Jr live concert 2016

Ronald Bruner Jr

Tony Austin live concert Australia 2016

Tony Austin

Patrice Quinn live Australia 2016

Patrice Quinn

Kamasi Washington and the other artists who joined him on Australian stages undoubtedly gained a huge number of new admirers. Hopefully that brings any or all of them back again to play soon.

Check out snippets of video footage from Kamasi Washington’s two Bluesfest 2016 shows below and hear sample tracks from The Epic (2015) here.




x

D’Angelo And The Vanguard

Accompanying D’Angelo at his Bluesfest shows were Jesse Johnson and Isaiah Sharkey on guitars, Chris “Daddy” Dave on drums, Rocco Palladino on bass, Bobby Ray Sparks on keys/samples and Jermaine Holmes and Charles “Red” Middleton on background vocals.

D'Angelo & Jesse Johnson live - Bluesfest 2016

D’Angelo & Jesse Johnson at Bluesfest 2016

Despite a curious set list taking audiences back to the glorious D’Angelo eras of Brown Sugar and Voodoowith only glimpses of the more recent ground-breaking album Black Messiah, D’Angelo and the 7 sublimely-skilled musicians and vocalists with him on stage delivered delightfully funky, soulful, rocked-out performances that were technically flawless.

D'Angelo concert - Bluesfest 2016, Australia

D’Angelo himself dazzled and seduced the crowd with his skills and artistry on guitar and piano, his contagiously-huge smile and his other-wordly vocal range. He left no doubt that he’s a musician, artist and performer of extraordinary genius in contemporary times, akin to the most legendary of funk, R&B and rock greats of our musical history.

D'Angelo concert - Bluesfest 2016, Australia

 x

Check out a video of the grammy-award winning Black Messiah song “Really Love”, performed live at Bluesfest on Saturday.


x

Click here for more videos & photos from all 4 of D’Angelo’s Australian shows this time around.

Kendrick Lamar

Thankfully Bluesfest ignored any naysayers who questioned Kendrick Lamar headlining a festival that might have started as “blues and roots” 27 years ago – but long ago moved forward to expand it’s line-up for the musical good of the broader population.

Before Kendrick Lamar’s set I wondered how the complex musical wonder of To Pimp A Butterfly would translate in the live arena. But the Compton rapper brought a killer band on tour with him. That live instrumentation combined with the sharp and clear lyrical flow delivered by Kendrick Lamar with 100% passion and conviction, simply commanded attention and awe through every moment of the 75 minute set that flew by in a flash. From start to finish Kendrick Lamar made it abundantly clear that the experience of hearing his music performed live is profoundly more brilliant than the studio-version.

Kendrick Lamar live concert - Bluesfest 2016 - Australia

Kendrick Lamar at Bluesfest 2016

x

Check out these video snippets from Kendrick Lamar’s Bluesfest show plus a sample track below from the newly-released album untitled unmastered (2016).

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered (2016)x
Kendrick Lamar – untitled 02 | 06.23.2014 – untitled unmastered (2016)

x

Bluesfest Appreciation

Byron Bay Bluesfest – this year was a dream.

In my book Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, The Vanguard, Kamasi Washington, The Next Step, West Coast Get Down and Hiatus Kaiyote are the artists in the world right now creating the freshest sounding, most innovative blends of funk, soul, R&B, hip hop and jazz. All except Hiatus Kaiyote (Melbourne-based), Bluesfest brought those artists a long way to deliver spectacular live performances on Australian shores.  In doing so they filled a big gap left by the cancellation of Soulfest – “Australia’s first annual neo-soul, jazz & hip hop festival” which didn’t make it to its second year.

Thanks go to Bluesfest for embracing those contemporary artists and delivering the most blessed of line-ups in 2016!

D'Angelo concert Australia 2016

D’Angelo

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert Australia 2016

Hiatus Kaiyote

Kendrick Lamar live concert - Bluesfest 2016 - Australia

Kendrick Lamar

Kamasi Washington live concert 2016

Kamasi Washington

Note: Despite feeling 100% satisfied by my Bluesfest 2016 experience, it was a limited one for sure. I went for 2 of 5 festival days, stayed at 1 of 6 festival stages and heard only 4 of 82 acts on the bill. A whole other world of music was happening over the five festival days – from Tom Jones to Allen Stone through to The Wailers – and a range of performing indigenous artists at the festival within the festival- Boomerang. I just can’t tell you about them here.

But you can check in to Beaver on the Beats on Facebook for more festival photos coming of D’Angelo, Hiatus Kaiyote, Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington. 🙂

The Putbacks – “Kung Fu Pyramids” Sweet Vinyl-Style

HopeStreet Recordings unfailingly gives its music releases a description that stimulates the imagination; that invites you to press play and enter into a kooky adventure. I’d usually call copying and pasting the exact contents of a press release to be a lazy Beaver’s game. But what the label says about “Kung Fu Pyramids” and it’s B-side “Snake Eyes” by Melbourne’s funk outfit The Putbacks just shouldn’t be messed with. Not by this Beaver anyway.

For the fighters, Kung Fu Pyramids is a slice of dark, guitar-driven, psychedelic, martial arts funk. For the gamblers, the brooding downtempo minimalism of Snake Eyes is an ode to the joys of Mia, dice game of champions.

Pressing play to enter this instrumental funk adventure with The Putbacks will bring wonderful rewards you won’t find elsewhere.

Putting the needle down on your super-limited edition 7-inch vinyl copy you can buy through HopeStreet from 9.00 a.m. tomorrow (as part of Independent Label Week), will bring even greater rewards.

The Cactus Channel and Chet Faker – Kill The Doubt

The Cactus Channel‘s unique variety of instrumental funk-soul music wouldn’t get value-add with just any ol’ artist’s singing and songwriting talents in the mix. Many contemporary vocalists (I’d say most) would probably be a misfit for the music; do it an injustice.

But with their new single “Kill The Doubt” and it’s B-side “Sleeping Alone”, it is Chet Faker who the group’s joined musical forces with. The result of course, is two gorgeous songs oozing with heart, soul and feeling.

Get your digital dose here of “classic soul and funk seen through a uniquely Melbourne perspective”. The songs sounds damn fine even in digital format; and will undoubtedly sound a million times better on sweet vinyl.

"Kill The Doubt" - The Cactus Channel Feat. Chet Faker

“Kill The Doubt” – The Cactus Channel feat. Chet Faker
“Sleeping Alone” – The Cactus Channel feat. Chet Faker

Hiatus Kaiyote Dropping You Into It

Just like I thought as few words as possible should be said about the new Hiatus Kaiyote album Choose Your Weapon in order to do the music and its makers justice, I think the less words said about Hiatus Kaiyote’s live show at Brisbane’s Woolly Mammoth, the better. To experience is the goal.

Early in their set during ‘Shaolin Monk Motherfunk’, when Nai Palm sang to the crowd to “Drop into this”, the direction was unnecessary. Already by then, the very first sounds of music created on stage by Nai Palm, Paul Bender, Simon Mavin, Perrin Moss and the group’s regular three Australian-based support vocalists, had well and truly dropped us into It. With no way out.

Nai Palm - Hiatus Kaiyote live concert 2015

Nai Palm (Hiatus Kaiyote) at Woolly Mammoth

‘It’ of course being the truly Multi-Dimensionalfantasy journey this music takes you on with its multiple rhythmic, melodic and stylistic changes that make no sense to many- but perfectly-divine sense to the room full of Hiatus Kaiyote music appreciators so comfortable and joyous being taken to a space outside the dreaded Square.

There was just no jumping out of that wondrous musical journey; and absolutely no desire to anyway.

The rest, all the details about Hiatus Kaiyote’s show…(the setlist, exquisite jams and solos within songs or the pleasure in hearing the live raw vocals of Nai Palm which sound like no other in the world except for some newly-developing female vocalists I’ve heard recently who could only be described as sounding like Nai Palm, for example)…don’t matter for you.

What matters is that you find yourself the experience of Hiatus Kaiyote dropping you into your very own multi-dimensional fantasy adventure, with its killer soundtrack played to perfection.

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert 2015

Folks in the U.K, U.S, New Zealand and Europe get their chance soon when Hiatus Kaiyote head back overseas to continue touring the new album. Check out the dates here – more music and past live shows by Hiatus Kaiyote here – and, one more sample track from Choose Your Weapon to get you on your feet towards your local record store to buy the full album if you haven’t already.

“Laputa” by Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon (2015)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon (2015)

x

x

Ngaiire Live & Revamped

During her show at Howler in Melbourne last week, Sydney-based soulstress Ngaiire talked of a time not so long ago when she questioned the value in continuing on her musical path. Thankfully Ngaiire found a way over that hump and is set this month to release her new single Once – with the full album Blastoma due out in September.

After hearing Ngaiire perform older and new songs to the made-happy Melbourne crowd clapping for more at the set’s end, there is no doubt in my mind of the incredibly-high value of her music in this world.

NGAIIRE live at Howler, Melbourne 2015

Ngaiire live at Howler 2015

From past experience the number and names of musicians on stage with Ngaiire at her live shows has been a fluid thing. The revamped, rejuvenated Ngaiire Camp of the Blastoma era is her on vocals and sample pads, Andrew Bruce on synth and long-time collaborator Jack Britten remaining by her side on keys and synth (and also co-producing Blastoma with Paul Mac).

Andrew Bruce w/ NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

Andrew Bruce

w/ NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

Jack Britten

My preference in any music is always for as much live instrumentation as possible – and at Melbourne’s show I surely missed the sounds of human hands on drums and bass. But truth be told when it comes to Ngaiire and her music, any combination of players on stage with her is a delightful experience for the fact that it includes Ngaiire front and centre: She who commands you to smile in awe at her powerful and emotive vocals; at the humility and humanity oozing from every word sung and spoken to the crowd; and too at her outrageouly-wonderful outfits (care of Sydney designer Amelia Vivash at Howler).

NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

All the better that the musicians and singers Ngaiire does choose to have by her side are also a highly-creative and skilled part of the musical whole – including back-up vocalists at Howler, Christian Hemara and Bille McCarthy.

w/ NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

Bille McCarthy

w/ NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

Christian Hemara

The group played songs beloved to those familiar with Ngaiire’s last album Lamentations – including Uranus (sampled below) – a duet encore performance of ABCD with Andrew Bruce on keys – and Dirty Hercules minus the original accompanying vocals of Nai Palm, who’s currently in the U.S. touring the new Hiatus Kaiyote album Choose Your Weapon, and whose achievements Ngaiire took the time to express pride in.

And finally the Melbourne crowd were treated to hearing 3 new tracks from Blastoma – including the first single Once which was co-written by Australian artist Megan Washington.

NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

x

Blastoma is new music from Ngaiire. Ngaiire’s voice and what she does with it, are divine. And three album/EPs later she’s given me no reason not  to trust in the musical goodness of what she’s delivering next.

Until it comes we’ve got Ngaiire Music Past to keep us good company. Here you have a sample track from her last album in compressed mp3 format – and of course the blessed amongst us with hard copies have so many more Ngaiire & co. sounds to hear and treasure 🙂 .

‘Uranus’ by NGAIIRE –  Lamentations (2013)
Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

x

 

Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon

The less words said about Haitus Kaiyote’s new album Choose Your Weapon, the better really. And I say that with the greatest of respect for Hiatus Kaiyote, their music and their artistry.

Listening, hearing and experiencing this one-of-a-kind music is what needs to happen instead.

Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon (2015)

If I must use words I’ll start with the short and sweet ones Hiatus Kaiyote themselves (Australians Nai Palm, Paul Bender, Perrin Moss and Paul Mavin) use to describe their music: ‘multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic gangster shit’.

Hiatus Kaiyote

Go on and tell you simply that Hiatus Kaiyote and other contributing artists to Choose Your Weapon have created 69.27 minutes of soulful, jazzy, swinging, grooving, sonic magnificence that fits into no musical box except the one called ‘Hiatus Kaiyote’.

That all things being equal, listening to this album will make you feel something (mostly ‘good’ I suspect, but the full emotional spectrum is available) – and experience the endless realms of your imagination.

And finally, that you might find yourself getting a good whipping during a few of the Choose Your Weapon tracks.

More than enough words already. Magnificence is the one that counts. Listen here to two of the album’s 18 tracks in dirty mp3-style.

Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon (2015)

‘Shaolin Monk Motherfunk’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon (2015)

x

‘The Lung’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon (2015)

…featuring strings by collaborator-with-so-so-many-artists of the world including Flying Lotus and Quantic – Miguel Atwood Ferguson.

x

If you love this music like I do, you know already that buying Choose Your Weapon on vinyl and/or at least cd to hear it as it should be heard, is what’s needed yeah? Hold the album in your hands, read the lyrics, credits and thankyous, and admire the artwork. Play it on a good sound system. Soak up all its sonic subtleties. And relish your Hiatus Kaiyote whipping.

Catch the live Hiatus Kaiyote experience where you can too. I promise it’s even more delightful than studio-style. Folks in the States hearing their shows right about now will surely agree – and peeps in the U.K, Europe, Japan, Russia and Australia can find out or remind themselves as the band continue touring Choose Your Weapon over coming months.

x

WOMADelaide 2015: Nourishment Forever-After

Oh WOMADelaide, how I long to be back in your nourishing arms. You came again and gave the people four days and nights of awesomely-diverse arts, culture and music from around the world under sunshine and shady trees in Adelaide’s Botanic Park. You created the space for a vibrant community of friendly, conscious, arts-loving people of all ages to come together and relax; to connect in music, dance, theatre, conversation and food; to smile, be happy and to relish the blessing of being a part of that WOMADelaide 2015 community.

x

At the start of the fourth and final festival day it seemed like I’d had a wonderfully-sufficient saturation of festival goodness. On Tuesday though, with the realisation that WOMADelaide was actually over for another year; with the return to “normal” life – those four long festival days and nights suddenly seemed all-too-short.

x

“Life moves so fast – the festival will come again soon enough” I tell myself. I focus on the nourishment I feel from the experience of WOMADelaide 2015 and it’s many happiness-producing moments. I remember and feel better for the fact that those enriching experiences are part of my being forever hereafter. Then I go ahead and calculate the remaining days until WOMADelaide 2016! 🙂

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho at WOMADelaide 2015

x

WOMADelaide 2015 Moments

I’m sure each festival-goer had their own special moments in different forms at different times throughout WOMADelaide.

Maybe yours was having a make-over by a Spanish stylist in the Osadia salon? Watching your favourite WOMADelaide artist cook up a delicious native dish in the Taste the World tent or hearing them ‘In Conversation’ at the Speakers Corner?

Osadia at WOMADelaide 2015

Osadia

Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) - Arctic Rhythms - WOMADelaide 2015

Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky) presents Arctic Rhythms

 

 

 

 

x

 

Dancing up a storm to the energetic ‘Bofenia Rock’ performance of Congo’s Jupiter & Okwess International?

Jupiter & Okwess International live at WOMADelaide 2015

Jupiter

Jupiter & Okwess International live at WOMADelaide 2015

Okwess International

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling under a tree with the sounds of live music being performed on a nearby festival stage? Climbing that tree for a view above the rest? Or when the music commanded you to get up on your feet and move?

WOMADelaide 2015

WOMADelaide 2015

Reliving the sounds of the 60’s and beyond with Native-American artist and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie? Enjoying C.W. Stoneking‘s unique contemporary take on the blues?

Buffy Sainte-Marie live at WOMADelaide 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie

CW Stoneking live at WOMADelaide 2015

C.W. Stoneking

 

 

 

 

 

Getting to the front of the crowd for the closest possible view of your most-beloved artist?

WOMADelaide 2015

WOMADelaide 2015

 

 

 

 

Hearing the Romanian brass-frenzy of Fanfare Ciocarlia?

Fanfare Ciocarlia live at WOMADelaide 2015

Fanfare Ciocarlia

Fanfare Ciocarlia live at WOMADelaide 2015

Fanfare Ciocarlia

 

 

 

 

 

Taking the Colour of Time dance and theatre journey with ARTONIK through the festival site?

ARTONIK perform The Colour of Time at WOMADelaide 2015

ARTONIK – The Colour of Time

Going to church of the atypical kind by Sinead O’Connor? Or letting Rufus Wainwright‘s mellow tunes drift you into a feeling of sublime?

Sinead O'Connor live at WOMADelaide 2015

Sinead O’Connor

Rufus Wainwright live at WOMADelaide 2015

Rufus Wainwright

 

 

 

 

 

Browsing the colourful artisan markets or playing around them. Immersing yourself in light and colour inside the inflatable luminarium maze of EXXOPOLIS?

WOMADelaide 2015

Architects of Air - Exxopolis - WOMADelaide 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Being rallied into the party-vibes created by Israeli/New-York based group Balkan Beat Box?

Balkan Beat Box live at WOMADelaide 2015

Balkan Beat Box

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Balkan Beat Box

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling out for a Chai break or making new friends with like-minded festival-goers?

WOMADelaide 2015WOMADelaide 2015

Experiencing the visual and musical extravaganza of Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour and his band?

Youssou N'Dour concert at WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Youssou N’Dour

Youssou N'Dour concert at WOMADelaide 2015

Youssou N’Dour

Seeing mother and artist Neneh Cherry on stage again post-hiatus? Hearing her acknowledge International Women’s Day before performing ‘Woman’ with Rocketnumbernine?

Neneh Cherry & Rocketnumbernine live at WOMADelaide 2015

Rocketnumbernine

Neneh Cherry & Rocketnumbernine live at WOMADelaide 2015

Neneh Cherry

Or maybe it was later that night when Neneh Cherry joined Youssou N’Dour on stage to sing ‘Seven Seconds’ together?

Excitedly browsing books, vinyl and cds in the Wo Shop to take home music from a newly-discovered festival artist?

Or did your final special musical moments come at the end of your WOMADelaide nights when the music mixed by DJs made you forget you were on your way home and kept you dancing until the night’s very last beat?

Check out a video snippet here of Theo Parrish’s superb set

x

Maybe your happiest festival moments had the same musical sources as mine?

Abdullah Ibrahim Quartet (South Africa)

Hearing the stunning sounds of 80 years of life and music expressed on the piano through the [beautifully-freckled] hands of jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim.

Abdullah Ibrahim live at WOMADelaide 2015

Abdullah Ibrahim

DJ Spooky (USA)

Dancing for 2+ hours to DJ Spooky’s super-diverse set that took me through much of my life’s music collection from The Police to Nirvana to James Brown to Damian Marley to the best-of-the-best old school hip hop and reggae tracks.

DJ Spooky at WOMADelaide 2015

DJ Spooky

Flavia Coelho (Brazil)

Experiencing the super-infectious colours, smile and joyful exuberance of Brazil’s multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Flavia Coelho as she and her band of two performed a fantastic fusion of dub, reggae, ragga, bossa, afrobeat and cumbia.

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Flavia Coelho


 

 

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

Al

Al Chonville

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

Jambinai (South Korea)

That moment at the end of WOMADelaide 2015’s last live set when a member of Jambinai, folk/metal/electro innovators of incredible skill, told the mesmerised crowd “We just want to connect with you in this moment – in this place”. I like to believe everyone else there was thinking the same thing as me: “You have. And I feel incredible for it. Thank you”.

Mista Savona with Prince Alla & Randy Valentine (Australia+Jamaica+U.K)

Hearing the live sounds of reggae represented in genuine One-Love style by Melbourne-based musician and producer Jake Savona facilitating 2 festival performances by the Mista Savona band with old-school Jamaican roots reggae legend Prince Alla and contemporary Jamaican/U.K-based artist Randy Valentine.

Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Jake Savona

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla

 

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla w/ Mista Savona

Randy Valentine with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Randy Valentine

Check out sample Mista Savona and Prince Alla tracks from Mista Savona Presents Soul to Sound (Various Artists) here plus videos below from their WOMADelaide shows…

Mista Savona - Soul To Sound by Various Artists (2010)

‘Captive Bird’ – Prince Alla – Mista Savona Presents Soul to Sound

x

‘Dub From the Hills’ – Mista Savona – Mista Savona Presents Soul to Sound

x

 

Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Moments of happiness were aplenty during both of Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic’s festival performances: from hearing the rich, soulful vocals of Aotearoan divas Rachel Fraser and Lisa Tomlins front-of-stage; to the drum-off between Myele Manzanza and father Sam Manzanza; and the solos of every talented Eclectic band member during the set as they played fluid and completely-fresh sounding versions of songs from Myele Manzanza’s debut solo album One along with new ones: all of them delightfully good. Adelaidean saxophonist Adam Page joining The Eclectic on stage was another.

Rachel Fraser with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Rachel Fraser

Lisa Tomlins with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Lisa Tomlins

Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Myele Manzanza

Sam Manzanza with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Sam Manzanza

Adam Page with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Adam Page

Check out a recent interview with Myele Manzanza plus sample tracks from One here.

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club (Cuba)

Cuban lands, people and music have a very dear place in my heart. Hearing the chops of Orquestra members young and old performing Cuban music classics live on stage for the very last time as part of their ‘Adios Tour’ truly was a blessed WOMADelaide moment.

Los Originales de Buena Vista Social Club…

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club live at WOMADelaide 2015

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club

Los Jóvenes de Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club….

x

Paul D. Miller (USA)

The sound and visual journey taken in the Speaker’s Corner with multi-media artist Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) presenting Arctic Rhythms in which he traversed a huge scope of fascinating topics ranging from science, politics and climate change through to uncredited music artists of history, digital technologies, the hip hop flow and more – with all roads leading to his multi-disciplinary project work in the Arctic/Antarctic region. The Book of Ice is one part of that project – and the sounds of music are of course another.

Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) - Arctic Rhythms - WOMADelaide 2015

Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky)

At WOMADelaide those sounds were created by Paul Miller’s live sampling of Adelaidean musicians Emily Tulloch and Hilary Kleinig playing his Arctic/Antarctica compositions:

“acoustic portraits of ice” played by “ancient instruments vs an iPad”

Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) - Arctic Rhythms - WOMADelaide 2015

x

Soil & Pimp Sessions (Japan)

Last but not least was making my absolute-favourite musical discovery of WOMADelaide 2015 in the kooky, frenzied, often-grooving jazz sounds of Japan’s Soil & Pimp Sessions playing their only festival show.

Soil & Pimp Sessions live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Soil & Pimp Sessions

Some way into their set realising that apart from a few hip hop vocals on one song, ‘frontman’ Shacho wasn’t going to use the mic to showcase his spectacular vocal chops after the other band members had showcased their own respective ones; he’d actually been performing his role of “Agitator/Spirit” in entertaining style and glory all the way along (and thereafter).

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Shacho – Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

x

 If you missed Soil & Pimp Sessions’ WOMADelaide show, get a glimpse here on video and hear sample tracks below from Chronicle of Soil & Pimp Sessions…

x

Soil & Pimp Sessions - Chronicle of Soil & Pimp Sessions (2013)

‘Sahara’ – Soil & Pimp Sessions – Chronicle of Soil & Pimp Sessions

x

‘My Foolish Heart ~Crazy on Earth~’ – Soil & Pimp Sessions – Chronicle of Soil & Pimp Sessions

x

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

Maybe your happiness-producing moments came from none of the above? From something else I missed completely amongst the many WOMADelaide happenings?

Your moments, mine, there was an abundance of them to be had. Whichever ones brought you the most bliss, all the WOMADelaide 2015 moments were good right? Nourishing for the mind, body, heart and soul, yes?

Music festivals are so, so, so good for us. WOMADelaide 2016 will be so, so, so good for us!

How many more days to go?

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla

x

To relive or check out more of WOMADelaide 2015 in the meantime: watch Beaver’s FB page for more photos or click on the artist of your flavour to link to videos of their festival shows: Abdullah IbrahimBalkan Beat BoxFanfare CiocarliaFlavia Coelho – Neneh CherryOrquestra Buena Vista Social ClubPaul D. Miller Prince Alla Randy Valentine Theo Parrish.

The Cactus Channel – Wooden Boy

Fancy the feeling of being inside an awesome spy-action film? If so then Wooden Boy, the second album from Melbourne’s 10-piece instrumental soul group The Cactus Channel, is one you’ll want in your music collection.

The Cactus Channel - Wooden Boy (2013)

Can I describe the music on Wooden Boy to you? Sure I can, but I won’t. Because I can’t do it nearly as imaginatively as The Cactus Channel’s record label Hope Street Recordings do…

It’s soul music, baby, but not as we know it. The backbeat and the handclaps are still there and the horns still sound. The bass bumps, the organ screams and the guitars still twang, but the singer has left the room. Everything is shades of blue. This is soul music for the after hours. For the solitary dancers and the lonely hearts. The soundtrack to solitary headlights on a midnight highway. What to call it? Who cares. Can you dance to it? Just try not to. No one’s telling you to throw your hands up in the air, but no one would be surprised if you did. It’s dark here, so you can do your own thing.

The Cactus Channel…all born in the 90s and raised on the internet. Yet somehow, [Wooden Boy]…sounds like it could have been recorded in the 1970s, or possibly in the distant future. A timeless, placeless cinematic oddysey, Wooden Boy could have been an alternate soundtrack to Ghost Dog — if Lalo Schifrin and the Meters were collaborating on the RZA’s score. Or maybe Wooden Boy was what happened when Lars Von Trier got invited to direct an episode of Soul Train. What any of it may actually mean is left to the listener’s imagination.

Funk aficionados will hear shades of New York on this record, echoes of El Michel’s taking on Wu Tang, the influence of Budos and Menehan et al. But this is the Generation Z version; both more tempestuous and more introverted. Recorded analog in the digital era, presented faceless in the celebrity era, inexplicably ambiguous in the soundbite era, is this the album the world needs right now? Undoubtedly yes. In a world where the NSA can read the text message that dumped you, what does a person need more than sad soul music from the future? Wooden Boy, baby Wooden Boy.

The Cactus Channel

The Cactus Channel

Check out these two (mp3 only) sample tracks from Wooden Boy. If you’re into it, you can buy the real deal on vinyl or cd through Hopestreet Recordings or at your local, independent record store where you can…

The Cactus Channel - Wooden Boy (2013)

The Cactus Channel – Wooden Boy (2013)

‘Who Is Walt Duce?’ – The Cactus Channel – Wooden Boy

x

‘How Did This Happen?’ – The Cactus Channel – Wooden Boy

x

Look out for new music from The Cactus Channel this year. They say they’re working hard and it’s a coming…

Hiatus Kaiyote – Sonic Architects of Magnificence

A few things became manifestly clear to me during Hiatus Kaiyote’s headlining set at Byron Bay’s Sonic Architects’ National Conference last weekend.

The first was that the musical evolution of this Australian future-soul group is a magnificent one to experience, best live.

Nai Palm with Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014

Nai Palm – Hiatus Kaiyote live at Byron Bay Brewery

Old songs performed from the debut album Tawk Tomahawk sounded fresh –  dynamically recomposed to create innovative new versions of the originals full of wonderful sonic surprises. New tracks played live from their just-released (digitally only 🙁 ) EP By Fire, a teaser to the upcoming album Choose Your Weapon, were similarly but differently diverse, innovative and fluid blends of jazz, soul, funk, electronica and hip hop in which you could blink to find that the sonic vibe within a song had delightfully morphed into another.

The second clear thing at the show was that every one of those Hiatus Kaiyote songs old and new, in all their sonic diversity, sounds like no other music in the world.  With all the music that’s been made so far in our long history of music, that unique sound in 2014 is a special thing.

Whilst hearing Hiatus Kaiyote perform those songs live in all their fresh glory and witnessing the incredible ‘multi-dimensional polyrhythmic’ chops of its instrumentalists, it was also plain to hear that I can count Simon Mavin (keys/synths), Paul Bender (bass) and Perrin Moss (drums/percussion) amongst my favorite contemporary musicians in the world to listen to.

Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014

x

In witnessing the spunky Nai Palm breathe life and passion into those songs with every single one of her movements and unique, soulful scatting-to-operatic-like vocal sounds, it was absolutely clear that Australia’s Nai Palm has a well-deserved place in that group called ‘the world’s greatest contemporary music divas’.

Nai Palm with Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014

The inclusion of three back-up singers in their live performance (Loreli+Jace+Jay Jay) – two of them vocalists in supporting group Kirkis – adds something extra wholesome to Hiatus Kaiyote’s sound which although usual to find in soul/R&B groups from the States (almost every international act at Australia’s recent Soulfest festival for example), is unfortunately not so commonly found in Australian music.

Watch footage here of Hiatus Kaiyote performing live at Byron Bay’s Sonic Architects’ National Conference…

Joined on stage by Remi in this one…

x

I predict that the March 2015 release of Choose Your Weapon (in hard-copy of course) will be a special day in world music history; and so will the days after that when Hiatus Kaiyote will no doubt tour their new music to various corners of the world. Until those days come, remind yourself here of the musical goodness that Hiatus Kaiyote gave us last year with Tawk Tomahawk

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

‘Sphinx Gate’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

x

Check out more Hiatus Kaiyote tracks + videos of live Hiatus Kaiyote & Nai Pam solo shows here.

Kirkis and the other Melbourne-based sonic architects who supported Hiatus Kaiyote (Remi, Silent Jay and Jace XL) with their own blends of hip hop, soul and electronica were a perfect compliment to the headlining architects – and all the performances combined made for a sublimely soulful night at the Byron Bay Brewery.

Remi live at Byron Bay Brewery 2014

Remi

Kirkis live at Byron Bay Brewery 2014

Kirkis

 

 

 

x