The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra – Credit Where Credit’s Due

At their live show at AWME last year I didn’t give The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra as much credit as they were due. At the time I was yearning for ‘purer’ sounds of Afro-beat, and I guess for the sounds of Fela Kuti himself. That desire of mine wasn’t so fair on The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra.

Since that POAO gig, 3 things have happened to make me fully appreciate the innovative musical goodness of this 17-piece Melbourne-based group that’s created its own unique sounds of Afro-beat funk infused with hip-hop:

1.  The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra’s cd Do Anything Go Anywhere made its way back with me from AWME and onto a listening device that shall not be named. And when each 1 of the 7 POAO album tracks came up in a shuffle, I found myself paying all my attention to the music and checking who the artists were who made it. 

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra - Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

2.  I experienced ‘purer’ forms of live Afro-beat when I heard Femi Kuti & The Positive Force at WOMADelaide 2014 and Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014. And at some point during both those Kuti shows I found myself yearning for the diverse sounds of contemporary fusion music; wanting something more in the mix – like the beats and scratches of The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra’s DJ Manchild for example 🙂 .

3.  I’ve been checking out a lot of new music that’s come my way this year – and have felt pretty uninspired by most of it. Do Anything Go Anywhere inspires me – both the music and its positive, conscious lyrics. The 5-strong horn section and their horn parts written by trumpet player, composer, producer and one of POAO’s 3 instigators Tristan Ludowyk (Hope Street Recordings), especially inspire this here lover of all sounds woodwind and brass.

Public Opinion Afro Orchestra live @ AWME (Australasian Worldwide Music Expo) 2013

With 17 (sometimes more) musicians, vocalists and a DJ on stage or on a record, there’s always the potential trap of sounding too busy. The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra don’t. Full yes, but busy no. There’s also the risk of the individual sounds and artistry of each group member getting lost in the mix. That doesn’t happen on Do Anything Go Anywhere. The music has plenty of solos, plenty of space and all the artists get heard at the right times.

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra live @ AWME (Australasian Worldwide Music Expo) 2013

I guess that having to divide (too-often-shitty) gig monies amongst 17 artists after paying 17 peoples’ travel costs, probably makes touring tough; and that finding stages to accommodate 17 musicians could be hard. Not to mention the challenges of trying to lock-in Public Opinion Afro Orchestra shows amongst the conflicting schedules of so many people involved in different music projects. Isn’t that a shame for the world and all lovers of innovative funk music in it who should be able to get the benefits of a live Public Opinion Afro Orchestra experience? Because the combined sum of those 17+ individual artists with their different music skills, experiences and influences is this: well-composed, well-played music with a great diversity of sounds.

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra live @ AWME (Australasian Worldwide Music Expo) 2013

Probably more credible than my personal testimony to the goodness of the music and musicianship in The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra is this: 2 of Australia’s music festivals that most consistently have a line-up of incredible artists from around the world are Byron Bay Bluesfest and WOMADelaide. The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra have played at both of those festivals.

Check out a sample track here (mp3 only) from Do Anything Go Anywhere

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra - Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010) – The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

‘Mumbo Jumbo’  – Do Anything Go Anywhere 

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Hear more sample tracks from Do Anything Go Anywhere elsewhere in Beaver Land. ‘Future Africa’ has an especially awesome call-and-response DJ/Horn jam like I’ve only been blessed to hear once before at a Troker de Mexico show.

If you’re into The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra’s music then like always, I encourage you to find & buy a copy of this independently-released music on vinyl or cd so you can hear all the good sounds the artists intended you to hear. People in Australia can get it from local independent music stores and peeps elsewhere in the world can order it on-line for the mail woman or man to deliver.

Anyone around the planet can look out in hope for their own live Public Opinion Afro Orchestra experience. Next up is Melbourne at the Espy in August.  Until you get one, check out this video of their show at AWME (Australasian Worldwide Music Expo) 2013…

When I get to catch myself another Public Opinion Afro Orchestra gig I’ll probably still yearn for the live Fela Kuti experience. I can’t help it, I always will. But I will better appreciate the unique fusion goodness of the live Public Opinion Afro Orchestra experience.
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Byron Bay Bluesfest – Only For The Music

On it’s 25th anniversary, Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 was the best one for me yet.  It was an unusually comfortable Bluesfest experience under unusually clear, blue Easter skies and sunshine – with the usual phenomenal music artists playing on its 7 stages.

Every year that I’ve gone to Byron Bay Bluesfests past, I have moaned about the things that I’m not into about the overall Bluesfest experience.  Each year after where I can, I’ve bought another costly Bluesfest ticket, and gone back again. I’ve done that for one reason only:  The Music.

Erykah Badu live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Erykah Badu – Bluesfest 2014

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Sly & Robbie + The Taxi Gang-Bluesfest 2014

Despite my grumblings about non-musical aspects of the festival, I always go home from Bluesfest feeling musically satisfied after hearing some of the western world’s most incredible music artists of contemporary history. Just a few of those artists from Bluesfests past are Fred Wesley, Burning Spear, Damian Marley, Ernest Ranglin and Parliament Funkadelic.

Musically, Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 went the same way. I went from one stage to another, finding artist after artist who blew me away with their music and/or musicianship.

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At Bluesfest 2014 I also found I had less of the usual non-musical things to moan about. One of the main reasons for that was because this years festival seemed to have much smaller crowds than in others – making the overall festival experience a much more hassle-free and comfortable one.

“Australia’s Premiere Blues and Roots Music Festival”

This year I heard other people moaning about the festival line-up. “Not enough blues”, “No big name acts” etc.  Well thankfully for lovers of reggae, soul, r&b, funk and hip-hop music, Byron Bay Bluesfest hasn’t been just a blues music festival for many years past.  And lots of the artists that performed in 2014 are big name acts in the musical worlds of many (mine) – just not big in the worlds of the people complaining:  Erykah BaduAaron NevilleLarry Graham (former Sly and The Family Stone) – Sly & RobbieThe WailersIndia Arie.

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 poster

The artists below are the ones I caught at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 who sent me away from their shows as high as high can be on their music and/or musicianship.

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 Music

Queen Erykah Badu (USA)

Erykah Badu’s show at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne earlier in the same week of the festival was simply divine. Her festival show, somehow was even more divine again – and for me the top highlight of Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014.

Like in Melbourne, Erykah Badu demonstrated with every sound and movement she made, that she is an incredibly talented artist (and woman) like none other in the world.

Erykah Badu live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Erykah Badu at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Erykah Badu’s powerful stage presence and incredible vocals captivated me and everyone around me from the moment she stepped onto the stage until coming back from some time amongst the crowd to finish the show.

Erykah Badu live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Erykah Badu live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Videos here of Erykah Badu performing ‘I Want You’ ‘…& On’ live at Bluesfest 2014

Aaron Neville (USA)

Aaron Neville and the sounds of his heavenly voice took me to another world.

Now in his 70‘s, naturally his voice has the sounds of life lived. They make that voice ever-so-much richer than in years past when it was of the completely squeeky-clean heavenly kind.

Aaron Neville live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Aaron Neville at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Videos of Aaron Neville’s performing ‘Fever’ + ‘Everybody Plays The Fool’ live at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 here…

 

Sly & Robbie and The Taxi Gang (Jamaica)

The first part of Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang’s Bluefest shows were incredibly tight. Tasty dub and reggae to die for. The energy of the show was high, and rising.

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

The music stayed tasty and tight all through their set. But the energy dropped and the band seemed to look slightly bored (or embarrassed?) from the time they introduced vocalist Bitty Mclean to join them on stage – as “the new Crown Prince of Reggae Music”.

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Check out this video of a song from the first half of Sly & Robbie’s Bluesfest show to hear these words of wisdom…

 “If you’re hot, you’re hot. If you’re not, you’re not. Use what you got.”

+ 1 more…

Sly & Robbie and the other instrumentalists in their band are musically hot, musically brilliant. They use what they got – and it’s more than enough without needing a “crown prince” to croon amongst them.

Check out this video from the second half of Sly & Robbie’s show to see if you agree…

 “The new Crown Prince of Reggae Music”?  Really?  

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Bitty McLean

Chali 2na (USA)

“Hands up if you agree with me that all music played on the radio now is shit?  Welcome to the Chali 2na radio station”.

Chali 2na live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Chali 2na at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Chali 2na’s words of welcome to the crowd at his Byron Bay Bluefest shows went like that.

So, everyone tuned in to Chali 2na and his 3-piece bands live radio station and went with them on an energetic journey of the funk, hip-hop and reggae kind. Those 2 live radio programs kept the crowd dancing and smiling throughout the hour – and screaming for more when the end came.  The best and longest dances I had at Bluesfest 2014 were at these two Chali 2na shows.

Chali 2na live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Chali 2na live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Chali 2na live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Chali 2na live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Videos from both Chali 2na’s Bluesfest 2014 shows here (+ 1 below of him emceeing with Ozomatli)

The Wailers (Jamaica)

What else can I say about The Wailers minus Bob Marley except this: stellar musicianship – and good music that made everyone happy.

Video here of The Wailers playing ‘Three Little Birds’ at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014…

The Soul Rebels (USA)

The Soul Rebels with their brass-heavy soul, r&b, funk and jazz music, hail from one of my dream musical destinations of the world – New Orleans.  A 2015 mission of mine, I’m sure.

The Soul Rebels - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

The Soul Rebels at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Video here of The Soul Rebels live at Bluesfest 2014…

Larry Graham & Graham Central Station (USA)

The stage show by Larry Graham & Graham Central Station was, well, pretty corny.

Larry Graham & Graham Central Station live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Larry Graham & Graham Central Station live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

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But if you ignored the group’s white glam outfits and show moves; if you just listened to Larry Graham’s phenomenal bass playing; and looked up to see him playing bass so thoughtlessly and effortlessly as though an extension of his body, you found instrumental gold.  Some Sly & The Family Stone tunes were included in the set.

Larry Graham & Graham Central Station live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Videos of Larry Graham on bass at Bluesfest 2014 here – 1 with the full band + 1 of just he and a drum kit player…

India Arie (USA)

I have loved India Arie’s music for a long time. She was one of those “big name” musical acts that got me to Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014.

India Arie live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

India Arie at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

India Arie played 2 festival shows. I left before the end of the first – and what I heard there didn’t get me back to see the second. The only reason I can figure as to why the show didn’t move me, is the absence of a bass player on stage with her.

India Arie live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014India Arie live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Videos from India Arie’s 1st Bluesfest show here for you to check out…

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (Nigeria)

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 put on a good show of Afrobeat song and dance of old as well as new from their recently released album A Long Way To The Beginning.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

You can check out a video here of Sean Kuti doing his thing at the group’s Bluesfest show + a sample track from the 2008 album Many Things

‘Many Things’ – Seun Kuti – Many Things (2008)

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Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Ozomatli (USA)

Los Angeles based group Ozomatli have been around for 20 years playing their mix of hip-hop, funk, r&b, reggae, dancehall, salsa, cumbia, merengue, samba, comparse & more.

That diversity of musical styles and the vocal and instrumental versatility of its band members, have made every live Ozomatli experience I’ve had a special one. Their Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 shows were no exception.

Ozomatli live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Ozomatli live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Ozomatli live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Ozomatli live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Videos here of Ozomatli live at Byron Bay Bluesfest

This one with Chali 2na …
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Ozomatli live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014Ozomatli live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

The Ones That Might Have Gotten Away

The artists whose shows I heard and loved were of course just a handful of artists who performed at Byron Bay Bluefest 2014.

Also in the line-up were Joss Stone, Dr John, Morcheeba, Elvis Costello, John MayerDoobie Brothers, KC & The Sunshine BandMichael Franti & Spearhead, The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Jack Johnson, Jeff Beck, Dave Matthews Band, Steve Earle & The Dukes + more.

Morcheeba live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Morcheeba at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra (Australia)

Keeping with some Afrobeat flavours, have a listen here to a sample track from one of the Australian groups in the Bluesfest 2014 line-up – The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

Public Opinion Afro Orchestra - Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

‘Future Africa’ – Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010) – The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

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You can check out another sample track + a video of The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra live at AWME (Australasian Worldwide Music Expo) 2013 here.

Musically I think Byron Bay Bluesfest can rightfully claim to be “Australia’s premiere blues and roots festival” – music found in a large part of the western world at least. I maintain that WOMADelaide festival takes the Australian festival prize for musical quality from all corners of the wider world – and importantly, for the things apart from music that make an overall festival experience an amazing one.

Beaver’s Moaning

“It’s pretty much an event where hopefully the vast majority of people are only there for the music. That’s what it’s all about. There’s not an awful lot of other effects happening at Bluesfest. I realised a long time ago it’s a music festival, that’s all it is. It’s not about prettying the site up and all that. We put our money into musicians”

Peter Noble – Festival Director of Byron Bay Bluesfest (from interview in Melbourne’s Beat Magazine – April 2014)

So, Byron Bay Bluesfest is what Peter Noble says it is.

The festival undoubtedly brings amazing music and amazing musicians to Australia.

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Sly & Robbie

But for me and everyone I know, a good music festival experience is about so much more than the music.

Personally I’d love to see more festival money spent on those “other effects” and “prettying the site up” – for the benefit of everyone who spends their money on going to Bluesfest to hear its legendary artists.

Bluesfest owns the land where the festival happens – on a beautiful tea tree farm at Tyagarah, just outside the town of Byron Bay (one of the world’s alternative-living, natural paradises). They can make the festival site and people’s festival experience whatever they want it to be.

On a site that is surrounded by trees, I’d love to see some trees inside the festival space.

At a festival that lets thousands and thousands of ticket holders through its gates each day, I’d love to see that tiny site in the middle of the photo become a much bigger space – where people could move around it freely and in comfort – without feeling like a cow being herded slowly between stages.

I’d love to see the creation of lots of different types of meeting spaces inside the festival site where people can relax and hang out together during those long festival days and nights. More than a big canteen-style food court where you eat and run. More grass for people to sit on instead of gravel. Bars with chairs inside them to sit and have a drink. More cafes, and restaurants to hang out in.

For an extra $350 the financially privileged of the world can buy a VIP ticket so they can enjoy some small comforts the rest of the festival punters can’t – a VIP bar and toilets with smaller lines, and some comfortable seats to rest their weary bones upon.

This year for an extra $1590 on top of the ticket price, the ever-so-privileged (and dare I say stupid?) people of the world could “treat themselves to something really special” by buying themselves entry to the VIP Sunset Club. There, in the middle of the festival site, they could “watch the hustle and bustle of Bluesfest from the private balcony”.

VIP Sunset Club - Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Bluesfest VIP Sunset Club- as advertised on www.bluesfest.com.au

VIP Sunset Club - Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Bluesfest 2014 VIP Sunset Club – as is

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I’d love to see money spent by the festival on making everyone’s festival experience a more comfortable one. We have enough inequalities and class structures in the world already – let’s not create them in our music festivals too.

Byron Bay Bluesfest is what it is, now. We’ll see what it becomes. The festival site at Tyagarah is a relatively new one for Bluesfest.  It will get better with age no doubt.

Hopefully one day I’ll have lots more reasons to give you apart from the music for why I want to get myself to Byron Bay Bluesfest whenever I can.

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang - live @ Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Sly & Robbie & The Taxi Gang at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2015

Before leaving Bluesfest 2014 I bought myself a season pass for Bluesfest 2015 at early bird prices – because next year I know that like always, the line-up will include incredible music artists I simply must experience live. If you want to get yourself to the festival in 2015, the sooner you buy tickets the better – prices will go up and up until Bluesfest comes around next Easter and a season pass is nearly double its cost now.

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‘A’ is for Afrobeat Hip Hop

I was talking music with a Texan musician recently.  He told me about a few fusion music genres from the U.S. I’d never heard of and sounded great.

When I later checked them out I remembered again that the very long and ever-growing list of music genres in our world, is pretty damn cool.

Don’t you think so?

If you do then you might be into this here series my new Texan friend has inspired me to start. It’s an A – Z of Worldwide (Mostly) Fusion Music Genres…with sample tracks where possible.

Here goes…

A

Afrobeat

is a combination of traditional Yoruba music, highlife, jazz and funk with chanted vocals styles and conscious lyrics.

Afrobeat made it into my A list cause it’s one of my all-time favorites.

Afrobeat’s main pioneer was the legendary Nigerian artist Fela Kuti  (you knew that already).

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti was of course succeeded by Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti (amongst others).

Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti

Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti

Many Things (2008)

Many Things (2008)

African Problems (Many Things-2008) – Seun Kuti

Remember please people…it’s just an mp3. Kuti (Fela, Femi & Seun) albums are easy to buy and touch, and amazing to hear.

Afrobeat Hip Hop

I haven’t found this one in any official-type music genre lists. It’s on my A list cause in Melbourne recently I heard The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra playing a combination of Afrobeat and hip hop at their AWME gig.

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

Do Anything  Go Anywhere (2010)

Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

How Long It Go Take (Do Anything Go Anywhere – 2010) – The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra 

 

Afro-Cuban Jazz

is the earliest form of Latin jazz. It mixes Afro-Cuban clave-based rhythms with jazz harmonies and improvisation techniques.

Another one of my favourite music genres.  Sadly for the world and for Cuban artists, people don’t get to hear most Afro Cuban jazz or other incredible Cuban music without physically going to its soils and looking.

Here are a couple of sample tracks from the Afro-Cuban Jazz Project album Descarga Uno

Afro Cuban Jazz Project - Descarga Uno

Afro Cuban Jazz Project – Descarga Uno

Campina (Descarga Uno) – Afro Cuban Jazz Project

La Fiesta Esta Comenzando (Descarga Uno) – Afro Cuban Jazz Project

Aleatoric

Music the composition of which is partially left to chance and/or some primary element of a composed work’s realisation is left to the determination of its performer.

Aleatoric could be fusion, or not, but it sounds interesting anyways.

Anyone have some Aleatoric music to share?

Or some other weird and wonderful  ‘A’ genre?

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Melbourne Music Juggle – AWME 2013

Why don’t I live here?  That’s the question I ask myself whenever I’m in Melbourne. The city is a music lover’s paradise.

Melbourne Music Juggle

On any night or weekend in Melbourne there are a huge number of live music options all over the city – or concerts of international artists only bringing their musical goodness to Melbourne and Sydney – and buskers making the already funky Melbourne streets a better place – or music festivals and expos.

Get yourself there on any mid-November weekend and you’ll find yourself juggling (as I just did) the normal Melbourne gigs + the events of Melbourne Music WeekJohnston St Fiesta and best of all for me, AWME – Australasian Worldwide Music Expo.

2013 AWME Offerings

AWME-2013-www.beaveronthebeats.comAWME is an annual 4-day showcase of quality roots music from the Australasian region and other random countries.

This year saw artists representing Australia, Scotland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Italy, Ireland, Ethiopia, Fiji, Reunion Island, Vanuatu and Cambodia – playing in a handful of great live music venues close together, in and around Melbourne’s city centre.

I didn’t get to all the AWME concerts this year. I was doing that Melbourne music juggle, and truth be told I probably would have fit more AWME events in if the 2013 program had been different.

I’m quite sure I missed some amazing music. I know some of it was by the Barefoot Divas, a group of 6 beautiful and talented female indigenous artists who performed on Opening Night. I was blessed to catch 5 of the Divas at a live show a few days ago – and they are as incredible as I’d heard they were.

AWME - 2013 - Barefoot-Divas

Aotearoa/New Zealand Represented

On Friday night the Hi Fi Bar hosted 5 acts from Aotearoa/New Zealand: Mark Vanilau – Whiri Tu Aka – Hollie Smith – Sola Rosa – Sons of Zion.

Some of the world’s greatest and most original sounding contemporary music, with its own very unique Pacific flavors, comes out of the 2 small islands of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Artists performing at AWME in past years have showcased that Aotearoa musical originality and greatness in abundance (eg. Electric Wire Hustle in 2010), but this year not so much for  me.

The exception I heard was the set by the indisputably incredible vocalist Hollie Smith – with a band of great keys, bass and drum players.

Hollie Smith

Hollie Smith

Video from Hollie Smith’s Hi Fi Bar gig here…

I enjoyed some Sola Rosa tunes and the soulful vocals of Cherie Mathieson. I might have loved it if a full band was added to the Sola Rosa mix.

Sola Rosa

Sola Rosa

Video of Sola Rosa’s live version of Humanised. You all know this one…

Melbourne Fusion Represented

Melbourne’s The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, closed AWME at the Hi Fi Bar on Sunday night.

17 band members on stage – including a DJ in the mix yes :). All of them are really talented musicians, singers and dancers. A five-piece horn section in any band is an extra special delight for me. The music is a very cool fusion of afro-beat and hip hop.  Perfect musical ingredients?  For me, yes.

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

Something at the gig was not quite right though, and I don’t know what it was. My friend said to me “Melbourne musicians play too clean and perfectly. The music sounds too polished or something”. Was that it?  Not dirty or raw enough? A fire missing from the Melbourne city venue stage that might more naturally be found by Fela, Femi or Seun playing on an African stage? Maybe it was just the end of a long and tiring (but great) AWME weekend for everyone. I don’t know, but these artists are great –  and the promise of afro-beat/hip hop fusion is so appealing to me that I bought The POAO CD home to try.

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

Check out this video from the gig yourself and let me know if you like it – and I’ll let you know if I like the CD.

NGAIIRE Was The One

NGAIIRE (Papua New Guinea) and her band was the greatest of the musical gifts from AWME to me this year – noting again (sadly), I missed Ngaiire with the other Barefoot Divas perform on Thursday Night.

Ngaiire

Ngaiire

I loved the music I heard at this gig because it combined eclectic and engaging sounds of the electronic kinds, with live drum kit and piano, all executed perfectly – with the very raw and soulful vocals of the NGAIIRE amongst it. The total of those things was original sounding music, live.

Ngaiire -AWME-2013- www.beaveronthebeats.com

w/ NGAIIRE

        Video of NGAIIRE live @ the Toff here…

The gift of finding NGAIIRE live was also the gift that keeps on giving, because I bought NGAIIRE’s CD Lamentations home with me to find my music collection has a beautiful new album I want to keep listening to over and over again.

AWME Always

I’d go to Melbourne for AWME any ole year.  I’ll always find quality music there – both in the AWME program and in the rest of Melbourne. I juggle and squeeze in as much of it all as I possibly can, while I can. In each and every moment I’m filled with Melbourne cultural envy of its many diverse musical as well as other arts, culinary, fashion and people delights.

Melbourne music - www.beaveronthebeats.com

P.S.  Thankful I am AWME artists had real CDs for sale at their gigs.

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