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

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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.




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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

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


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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

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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)

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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. 🙂

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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)

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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)

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‘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.

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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.

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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

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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…

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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)

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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

 

 

 

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Erykah Badu + DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown on a Lunar Eclipsed Night in Melbourne

Before breaking into ‘Orange Moon’ on a lunar eclipsed night in Melbourne last week, Erykah Badu counted her blessings for the beginnings of her record making career under a similar moon around 20 years ago.

I’d say everyone in the crowd listening to Erykah Badu and her band live at the Palais Theatre, were counting their own blessings for having Erykah Badu and her music in their world.

Later that night at the Toff In Town, everyone on the dance floor moving to the selections of DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown (aka Erykah Badu) was probably counting the same blessings.

The two Erykah Badu shows that night were of a different kind of divinity – and blessed I definitely was to experience both of them.

Erykah Badu Live at The Palais Theatre

Erykah Badu has released four studio albums since the first and platinum selling Baduizm in 1997. To her great credit as an artist, each of those albums sounds different to the one before.  She has always made unique and innovative, naturally-evolving contemporary music for the time.

In 2014 Erykah Badu’s ability to make her music sound fresh, innovative and current, remains unchanged.

At the Palais Theatre she and her band took us to revisit each Erykah Badu album yes. But none of the songs she performed live sounded the same as on the albums. Each one was a new, longer and magnificent version of its original. Different arrangements, improvisation, solos, vocal harmonies, Queen Badu tapping away on an MPC as well as the presence of a DJ mixing things up amongst the drums, bass and keyboard players – all made those Erykah Badu songs ones never heard before.

Erykah Badu Live @ The Palais Theatre - Melbourne, Australia - April 2014

The band played with a distinctive finesse found only in their part of the world, and were super tight. But it was Erykah Badu on the microphone that demanded my complete attention from start to finish. With each movement of her body, and every sound she sang, Erykah Badu breathed truth, conviction and life into all of her songs, no matter their age. I believed and was absolutely mesmerised by every one of those sounds and movements.

Erykah Badu Live @ The Palais Theatre - Melbourne, Australia - April 2014

Photo by Meiwah Williams

Erykah Badu delivered every song with the confidence, strength and talents of a very special woman and artist, and yes without doubt the Queen of Neo Soul (soul/jazz/r&b/funk/hip-hop fusion). Erykah Badu deserves all the respect and appreciation she has in the musical world – now more than ever in the past 20 years.

Here you can check out some (ever-so-dodgy) videos of Erykah Badu live at The Palais Theatre…


Hiatus Kaiyote

Erykah Badu was supported at the Palais Theatre (and her subsequent Sydney show) by Haitus Kaiyote.

Hiatus Kaiyote Live @ The Palais Theatre - Melbourne, Australia - April 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote at Palais Theatre
Photo by Meiwah Williams

After my experience trying to hear Nai Palm through the noisy crowd at her solo show the week before, hearing Nai Palm’s vocals and guitar with the full Hiatus Kaiyote band behind her in a theatre environment, did Hiatus Kaiyote’s music the justice it deserves.

The musicianship of the Hiatus Kaiyote members, and their music with all its many polyrhythms and changes, really is a unique and special thing in Australia and the world. The new tracks they played from their forthcoming album were my favorite in their set.

You can check out sample tracks from Hiatus Kaiyote’s debut album Tawk Tomahawk here.

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Tawk Tomahawk (2012)

DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown @ The Toff In Town

“When I DJ… I’m paying attention to my mixes, I’m paying attention to my choices and selections. That’s my main focus. I do it fearlessly, because I never underestimate the audiences’ ability to feel. Music is the sixth element; it brings nostalgia, it brings healing and it moves us.”…Erykah Badu (http://serato.com/icon/erykah-badu)

After leaving Erykah Badu’s Palais Theatre show, punters got to have themselves a second divine dose of Erykah Badu that night at the Toff In Town.

DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown (aka Erykah Badu) - Melbourne, Australia - April 2014

There in her alter ego of DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown, Erykah Badu undoubtedly bought the crowd both nostalgia and healing, and moved them through every single beat of her long set.  She played classic and ever-so-tasty hip-hop, soul, reggae and r&b tunes from legendary artists of the likes of Bob Marley, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, Outkast, Public Enemy and Lauryn Hill.

DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown (aka Erykah Badu) - Melbourne, Australia - April 2014

Amongst the selections of tracks by other artists were Erykah Badu’s own songs, parts of which she sung live, as well as a Hiatus Kaiyote track that Nai palm joined her on stage for.

You can check out Erykah Badu singing ‘Window Seat’ and Outkast’s ‘So Fresh So Clean’ in the dark at the Toff In Town here…

Erykah Badu, demonstrated by DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown, has absolutely awesome tastes in music.  This was a dream gig  for lovers of great hip-hop and soul music like myself.

Samples of Erykah Badu’s Musical Evolution

If you don’t already know and love Erykah Badu’s long discography of music, you can check out some dirty, compressed mp3 versions of her musical evolution here. All 5 Erykah Badu albums in their full sound glory are so easy to buy from your local record store or on-line.

Baduizm (1997)

Baduizm (1997)

‘Rimshot (Intro)’ – Baduizm – Erykah Badu

‘4 Leaf Clover’ – Baduizm – Erykah Badu

 

Mama's Gun (2000)

Mama’s Gun (2000)

‘…& On’ – Mama’s Gun – Erykah Badu

‘Penitentiary Philosophy’ – Mama’s Gun – Erykah Badu

 

Worldwide Underground (2003)

Worldwide Underground (2003)

‘Bump It’ – Worldwide Underground – Erykah Badu

‘Woo’ – Worldwide Underground – Erykah Badu

 

New Amerykah: Part 1 (4th World War) (2008)

New Amerykah: Part 1 (4th World War) (2008)

‘The Healer’ – New Amerykah: Part 1 (4th World War) – Erykah Badu

‘That Hump’ – New Amerykah: Part 1 (4th World War) – Erykah Badu

 

Erykah Badu - New Amerykah: Part 2 (Return of the Ankh)

New Amerykah: Part 2 (Return of the Ankh) (2010)

‘Incense’ – New Amerykah: Part 2 (Return of the Ankh) – Erykah Badu

‘Love’ – New Amerykah: Part 2 (Return of the Ankh) – Erykah Badu

 

Erykah Badu

 

Erykah Badu Live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 – tonight!!

I’m heading out now to get my third dose of Erykah Badu’s divinity before she leaves Australia this time.  She and her band are headlining the main stage tonight at the Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 🙂 .

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Nai Palm with Nai Palm

Nai Palm started her music career standing solo on Melbourne stages with her voice and a guitar.

She was singing songs that later became the foundation of magnificent arrangements by her and other members of Hiatus Kaiyote – including this year’s Grammy nominated song Nakamarra (featuring Q-Tip) from their 2012 album Tawk Tomahawk.

On Friday night I found Nai Palm standing solo on a Melbourne stage again, guitar and voice, singing stripped-back versions of those Hiatus Kaiyote songs.

Nai Palm - Live @ John Curtin Hotel - Melbourne

She sang songs from Tawk Tomahawk – and a new, never-played-live-before song called ‘Molasses’ from the forthcoming Hiatus Kaiyote album.

Check out this video of Nai Palm performing ‘Molasses’ live at her solo show on Friday…

A different venue and/or a different crowd, and this Nai Palm solo show might have been amazing.  She’s a fantastic artist making beautiful music –  and an absolute pleasure to watch and hear perform live (I know from WOMADelaide last month).

Hiatus Kaiyote Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote live at WOMADelaide 2014

The problem for me at the John Curtin gig was that I couldn’t hear much of her through the crowd 🙁 .  And that made me miss the sounds of instrumentation from the rest of Hiatus Kaiyote.

Listen here to a dirty mp3 version of the song ‘Malika’ from Tawk Tomahawk for a reminder of the unique musical goodness of Nai Palm and Hiatus Kaiyote as a whole…

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Tawk Tomahawk (2012)

‘Malika’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk 

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Listen to 2 other sample tracks from Tawk Tomahawk here.

I’ll try and catch Nai Palm solo again when I can – hopefully in a sit-down, quiet venue where I can properly hear and appreciate her unique vocals and guitar playing.

Nai Palm - Live @ John Curtin Hotel - Melbourne

People in Sydney can find a Nai Palm solo show at the Newtown Social Club on 5 June.  Melbourne can get a weekly dose of Hiatus Kaiyote live at Howler every Wednesday in May. And of course the blessed in Melbourne and Sydney this coming week can hear Hiatus Kaiyote live supporting Erykah Badu. I’m amongst those blessed 🙂 .

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The WOMADelaide Experience – What Everyone Wants

Everyone I know who experiences WOMADelaide festival, wants to experience it again. Everyone I know who’s heard about the WOMADelaide experience, wants to have it.

That’s because it’s one of the world’s best musical festivals, and Australia’s very best. Fundamentally for the quality of music and its friendly festival people, but for so many other reasons too.

So declares I anyway – and anyone I’ve ever spoken with about it who’s in the know.

Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote - Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Cherif Soumano (with Roberto Fonseca) live @ WOMADelaide 2014

I’ve just experienced WOMADelaide 2014 with about 90,000 other people. Over four days I was reminded over and over again (as they probably were too), of all the reasons we were counting down the days to WOMADelaide 2014 since the end of WOMADelaide 2013.

WOMADelaide 2014

WOMADelaide 2014

The People Will Come

Artists love playing at WOMADelaide. They are treated well, and valued, as artists should be valued. They get to play their music (and sell CDs on-site) to friendly, musically-open-minded and appreciative crowds of people who might otherwise never be exposed to it.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014Artists not playing at WOMADelaide, who don’t usually take themselves to festivals or gigs unless they are their own, love to go to this festival to hear its global artists.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

The friendly people of Adelaide love to go to their home festival – set up base-camp under an old, shady Botanic Park tree – and enjoy the festival with family and friends. Some of them have been to every WOMADelaide since 1992.

WOMADelaide 2014

WOMADelaide 2014

Parents love to go because they can relax and enjoy the festival knowing their kids are happy and safe somewhere nearby on-site.

WOMADelaide 2014WOMADelaide 2014

Lovers of diverse music who live in other parts of Australia, love to make the music pilgrimage to WOMADelaide whenever possible.

Ngaiire live @ WOMADelaide 2014

NGAIIRE

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Sounds of the Planet

“It doesn’t matter which artists are in the line-up.  Turn up to the festival any ole year and you’ll hear amazing artists from all over the world.”

My musician friend who “hates most music”, said that to me about WOMADelaide many years ago. At every WOMADelaide I’ve been to since, his words about the festival’s line-up have rung absolutely true.

WOMADelaide 2014 saw about 500 very diverse artists, representing 20+ countries, performing across 7 festival stages.

All of those artists were good, most were fantastic and many were phenomenal.

Australia Represented

Australian music that I absolutely love, is rare to find. Last year I found two musical diamonds in Ngaiire and Hiatus Kaiyote.

WOMAdelaide programmed both of them at this year’s festival – and their shows were amongst the best I saw.

Hiatus Kaiyote live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote

Ngaiire live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Ngaiire

Hiatus Kaiyote

A live Hiatus Kaiyote experience amongst the trees at Botanic Park…it was all a bit magical really.

Hiatus Kaiyote live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote

The spunky Nai Palm on guitar and vocals, smiling all through the set – plus her incredibly talented band members – put a huge and long-lasting smile on my face too.

Hiatus Kaiyote live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Nai Palm – Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote’s music, along with Cuba’s Roberto Fonseca’s music, was the most inspiring and happiness-inducing music of all the music I heard at WOMADelaide 2014.

Videos of Hiatus Kaiyote’s one and only WOMADelaide show here

Hiatus Kaiyote is supporting Queen Erykah Badu at her Australian shows in a few weeks. Lucky me, I’ll be there in Melbourne at what I predict could be the most special live show of 2014 for me 🙂 . 

NGAIIRE

At her WOMADelaide 2014 show Papua New Guinean born, Australian based NGAIIRE, was exactly like NGAIIRE always seems to be – absolutely mesmerizing to hear and see.

Ngaiire @ live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Ngaire @ WOMADelaide 2014

She was accompanied greatly by her skilful band, with a slightly different line-up to usual.

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Check out this video of a new Ngaiire track played live for the 1st time at her WOMADelaide shows…

Sounds of the Rest of the Planet

Aotearoa (New Zealand) – Fat Freddys Drop

I’ve always said that as great as Fat Freddys Drop‘s studio recordings are, their live shows are the ultimate experience of this band.

Fat Freddys Drop live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Fat Freddys Drop

Fat Freddys Drop live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Fat Freddys Drop

Well, I left Fat Freddys Drop’s WOMADelaide show before it finished. And not because I had anywhere else to be. I just wasn’t feeling moved or inspired where I was.

Video of their festival show here. Maybe you’ll be inspired…

China – Hanggai

Hanggai’s music was probably the most foreign and novel to me at WOMADelaide 2014: rock mixed with traditional Mongolian music. The live experience of this band was a totally unique and entertaining one.

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

 

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

 

Hanggai live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hanggai

Check out Hanggai’s WOMADelaide show on video here…

Colombia/Belgium – La Chiva Gantiva

It’s always a treat for me to hear the sounds of traditional Colombian music like cumbia and chirimia in the mix with the likes of funk and afro-beat.  Also to get a dose of the distinctively joyous Colombian energy put out by los Colombianos in La Chiva Gantiva – as well as that of their Flemish, Belgian and Vietnamese band members.

La Chiva Gantiva live @ WOMADelaide 2014

La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva live @ WOMADelaide 2014

La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva wins the WOMADelaide 2014 prize for crowd participation.

La Chiva Gantiva live @ WOMADelaide 2014

La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva live @ WOMADelaide 2014

La Chiva Gantiva

Videos (of their more subdued tracks) from both La Chiva Gantiva’s WOMADelaide shows here

Cuba – Roberto Fonseca

Roberto Fonseca and his phenomenal accompanying band – which included Malian kora and tama player Cherif Soumano – were the musical jewel of the WOMADelaide crown for me.

Cherif Soumano with Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Once upon a time, Roberto Fonseca was a young piano player with Ibrahim Ferrer’s Orchestra.  Now and for many years past, he’s been an established artist in his own right. In these days Robert Fonseca’s still young -and is creating stunning Latin Jazz music that explores sounds of traditional African roots music and electronica.

Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Roberto Fonseca

Both the music and the musicianship of this group were an absolute joy to experience live.

Cherif Soumano with Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Cherif Soumano

Yandy Martinez with Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Yandy Martinez

Ramses Rodriguez with Roberto Fonseca Live @ Womadelaide 2014

Ramses Rodriguez

Joel Hierrezuleo with Roberto Fonseca live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Joel Hierrezuleo

Roberto Fonseca’s album Yo was one I made sure I bought home with me from WOMADelaide.

Glimpses of the magic of Roberto Fonseca’s WOMADelaide shows here on video…


France – Dub Inc

A french fusion of ever-so-danceable sounds of dub, reggae, dancehall, ska, ragga, hip-hop, Arab and African music.

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

The really unique thing about this band is the voices and vocal combinations of Hakim “Bouchkour” Meridja and Aurélien “Komlan” Zohou.

Dub Inc live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Dub Inc

See what I’m talking about here on these videos from Dub Inc’s WOMADelaide 2014 shows

Nigeria – Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Femi Kuti needs no description. Nor does his music.

Hearing Femi Kuti play saxophone took me somewhere heavenly.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

His supporting band and dancers The Positive Force, were as incredible to hear and watch as you’d expect them to be.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Videos of Femi Kuti’s one and only WOMADelaide show here. Check out the chops of the Positive Force band towards the end of the first one…

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Spain/Guinea – Buika

Contemporary sounds rooted strongly in traditional flamenco – sung and played exquisitely.

Buika was absolutely divine.

Buika live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Buika

The guitarist accompanying Buika is amongst that group of phenomenal artists I heard at the festival.

Videos from one of Buika’s two WOMADelaide shows here

Sample tracks (mp3 only) off Buika’s album En Mi Piel here too…

Mi Niña Lola – Buika – En Mi Piel

 

Somos (Featuring Chucho Valdes) – Buika – En Mi Piel

 

USA – Arrested Development

You all know who Arrested Development are and what they do. Hip-hop of the inspiring kind.

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

Well, the line-up of the group might have changed. But I think they’re still doing what they’ve always done, in style. With new music and a new album coming.

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

Arrested Development Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Arrested Development

 

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

 

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

The live Arrested Development experience is one to have.  Check out a video here…

USA – Red Baraat

Red Baraat blends North Indian Bhangra rhythms with the delicious sounds of jazz, brass-funk and hip-hop.

This awesome New York-based group was musically one of my favourites at WOMADelaide 2014.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

 

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

 

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

Their 5-piece-strong brass section was an extra special delight for my musical senses.

Red Baraat live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Red Baraat

Videos from each of Red Baraat’s WOMADelaide 2014 shows here…

Red Baraat’s 2nd album Shruggy Ji  is also in my bag of music goodies that I bought home from the festival.

ZimbabweMokoomba

Mokoomba fuses traditional sounds from African music with more modern ones, some of them even disco-like.

Mokoomba live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Mokoomba

Mokoomba live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Mokoomba

 

Mokoomba live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Mokoomba

 

Mokoomba live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Mokoomba

Have a listen to the vocals of this group here on video. They’re sung in traditional Tonga language (unknown to most, even in Africa).

Other corners of the world represented live at WOMADelaide 2014 were Algeria, Bulgaria, India, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Reunion Island, Tunisia and Scotland.

Rachid Taha live @ WOMADelaide 2014.

Rachid Taha (Algeria)

Carminho live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Carminho (Portugal)

 

DJs Represented

Towards the end of your WOMADelaide nights, when you’re feeling happy and revitalized from all the amazing live music you’ve just experienced and want to keep dancing, you can.

Just head to the Speakers Corner stage and find yourself a spot amongst the trees. There you can have your last dance of the festival day to DJs spinning tasty tunes.

WOMAdelaide 2014 had some of the world’s best DJs on offer…

1. DJ Yoda (UK)

2. DJ Muro (Japan)

3. Awesome Tapes From Africa (USA) – DJ Brian Shimkovitz with his samples from 4000+ rare and random cassette tape recordings collected from Africa for more than a decade.  You can check it out on his blog.

4. Will Holland (aka Quantic) (UK)

Will Holland makes some of my favourite music in the world.

Will Holland (aka Quantic) @ WOMADelaide 2014

Quantic DJ Set @ WOMADelaide 2014

Will Holland (aka Quantic) @ WOMADelaide 2014

Will Holland (aka Quantic)

In his WOMADelaide set he delivered a mix of old and new Quantic concoctions from his large collection of musical productions of the funk, soul and Latin flavoured kinds.  So for me it was possibly the best DJ set I’ve ever experienced.

Check out a video snippet of a new concoction here…

[You can read more about Will Holland’s diverse musical projects, including Ondatrópica, and hear sample Quantic tracks, here.]

More Than Music

Incredible music, a friendly community of people and a green, open-air festival space. WOMADelaide has those fundamental festival ingredients.

It’s got lots more too  – all a part of making it the positive festival experience it is.

Amongst the music and dancing there are activities of all sorts to be found around the festival site…

  • Find your favourite festival artists cooking up their traditional home dishes at Taste The World giving a talk – or a music or dance workshop.
WOMADelaide 2014

The Positive Force dance workshop

  • Listen to environmental talks and panel discussions at The Planet Talks.
  • Interact with a roving theatre performer.
  • Join in or watch the Parade.
  • Lay on the grass in the Pines and watch a visual installation of the best dancers from around the world in slow motion.
Slow Dancing (After Dark)

Slow Dancing (After Dark)

  • Get creative at an art workshop.
  • Eat delicious foods, drinks delightful wines, and browse artisan markets at the Global Village.
  •  Nourish your weary body with a massage at The Healing Village.
  • Or entertain yourself and others in any other ways you want…

Importantly too, festival runnings are professional and smooth. Shows start on time. Set change-overs are efficient. Lighting and sound are quality. Stage emcees do a great job.

The wonderful experience of all that is WOMADelaide, comes at a comparatively cheap festival ticket price too.  At its most expensive (post early-bird rates) the cost of a 4 day pass for 2014 was just over $300.

WOMADelaide Bliss

I think I’m on solid ground for declaring WOMADelaide to be one of the world’s best, and Australia’s very best music festival. Don’t you?

The ‘best’ or not (it’s subjective, I know), one thing is for sure. People who have the WOMADelaide experience get happier with each passing festival hour. Somewhere during those 4 festival days, music and festival bliss kicks in.

WOMADelaide 2014

What do you say peoples? If you’ve already had yourself the WOMADelaide experience, did I get this declaration right? If you haven’t had it yet, surely you want it now?  

We’ve only got about 50.5 weeks to wait until WOMADelaide 2015 !

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Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk Forever After

“I can’t believe that you haven’t heard of Hiatus Kaiyote! Where have you been?  They’re an awesome Melbourne band that Erykah Badu’s been promoting.”

My friend with great taste in music, said that to me recently in Melbourne. Recommended by both he and Queen Badu, find Hiatus Kaiyote I had to.

So find, listen to, love and buy their 2012 album Tawk Tomahawk at a local independent record store I did.

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

He was right…Where had I been?  I should have heard this music sooner.

Exceptional Australian Music

In my last post I came clean with my unpatriotic truth that there’s not much Australian music I find that blows me away. That’s not a criticism of Australian musicianship. Australia has lots of brilliant and innovative musicians. It’s simply that most of the music created here (at least that I find) just doesn’t excite me.

Hiatus Kaiyote’s music is an exception.

I’m happy to have added an Australian album to my collection that is equally as interesting and loveable to me as the rest of the collection of music by artists from elsewhere in the world. It’s a lesson to me that maybe I just need to look harder in Australia to find the amazingness.

Flavours & Sounds

Hiatus Kaiyote is the very talented and innovative Nai Palm (vocals & guitar; Simon Mavin (keys & synths); Paul Bender (bass, guitar, synths & effects); and Perrin Moss (drums, percussions, synths & effects)….

…making beautiful and ever-so-loveable music together.

Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote

‘Future soul’ and ‘Neo-soul’ seem to be the phrases used most to try to describe Hiatus Kaiyote’s music…some blend or other of sounds from soul, hip hop, electro, r&b, jazz, opera, popLatin and Afro genres.

So many musical flavours. So hard to put into a genre box. That’s why I love this music. It’s totally unique.

And whatever it is and whatever it’s named, it is true that it’s simply awesome Australian music that should be heard.

Hiatus Kaiyote on Vinyl Forever

Check out these mp3 [only] sample tracks from Tawk Tomahawk yourself for a small taste of the diversity of sounds on the album…

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Tawk Tomahawk (2012) – Hiatus Kaiyote

Lace Skulls 

Nakamarra

Awesome songs aren’t they? The rest of the tracks on Tawk Tomahawk are as well – including the bonus remix of Nakamarra, featuring Q-Tip – nominated for ‘Best R&B Performance’ in this year’s Grammy Awards no less.

The entire Hiatus Kaiyote album – in it’s CD or Vinyl glory – is abundantly worth hearing, buying and having in your music collection to enjoy forever after.

Remember I shared some beautiful tracks with you from Ngaiire’s album Lamentations? Well Nai Palm’s gorgeous, soulful vocals feature with Ngaiire on one of them. Find Dirty Hercules here.

Hiatus Kaiyote Live

Lucky I am then, and lucky is anyone else going to WOMADelaide Festival in March. We get to have ourselves the live Hiatus Kaiyote and Ngaiire experiences there – plus more with a bunch of other diverse and incredible artists from different corners of the world. Only 7 more weeks to wait until my musical Christmas comes!

Until then people in Melbourne can try to find a Hiatus Kaiyote show or one of Nai Palm’s solo gigs.  Just one more of so many other musical reasons to be in Melbourne really :).

Nai Palm

Nai Palm

Another one is that after WOMADelaide, incredibly lucky is anyone who has themselves a ticket for Erykah Badus April show in Melbourne where Hiatus Kaiyote will be supporting.

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