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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Fat Freddys Drop Blackbird Album – As Unique As FFD Always

I maintain that the Fat Freddys Drop live experiences are where it’s best at, for me.

Fat Freddys Drop - Live - Tivoli - Brisbane - Blackbird Tour - 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

Live @ The Tivoli, Brisbane, 2013

All Fat Freddys Drop music though – live or recorded – makes me feel good when I hear it. Simple.

Their new album Blackbird, which I got hold of last week, is no exception. I know when I play it that the cruisy, soulful, jazzy, funky, bluesy, electro, dubbed out sounds will make me feel good.

Fat Freddys Drop music sounds like none other in the world. That’s pretty special in this day of our long musical history. Don’t you think?

Fat Freddys Drop - Blackbird CD - www.beaveronthebeats.com

Blackbird (2013) – Fat Freddys Drop

Here are some sample listening tracks from Blackbird in MP3 format (+ find 1 more here). Blackbird and other Fat Freddys Drop albums are easy to buy in real music stores, or on-line from most places in the world.

Silver and Gold – Blackbird (2013)

Bohannon - Blackbird (2013)

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The MP3 Tragedy

Sound quality matters.  Ever so much.

The movement from the sweet, tasty sounds of vinyl

ffd-vinyl

…to not-anywhere-near-as-amazing, but still okay sounding CD’s

Fat Freddys Drop - Blackbird CD - www.beaveronthebeats.com

…to unbearable MP3 versions & their loss of sounds…

MP3 Symbol - Beaver on the Beats

01 Blackbird – MP3 – Blackbird (2013) – Fat Freddys Drop

…is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Don’t you think so?

Or am I going on about nothing? 

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Or I’m right, but just need to shut up about it, accept that it’s happening/happened and get on with things in our new world of musical dissemination and listening?

Tell me, please. I need to know.

What’s the future trajectory for the sound quality of our music?

Is it hopeless for me to have hope? To try and resist the ‘inevitable’? Are we doomed for a future where we have to buy our music from and store it on a computer? In shitty MP3 format? Once upon a time I heard that technology was supposed to give us better things than we had before.  Well tragically for all of us, it hasn’t turned out that way for music.

5 Awesome Reasons to Buy Your Music on Vinyl or CD

1. Hearing all the sounds in the music that the artist created for you to hear.

FFD recording

Fat Freddys Drop recording

2. Enjoying the album’s visual and written arts – and supporting the visual artists & authors creating it. Front Cover. Back Cover. Booklet. Inserts. & any other extra bits the artist might include for you.

3. Supporting the music artists trying to make a living from the valuable contributions they are making to the goodness in the world.

4. If buying it from your local independent music store, supporting both those music store owners and music in general.

5. Enjoying the sensory delights of having the vinyl or cd in your hot little hands, smelling it, touching it, seeing it, putting it into your record or CD player and waiting in anticipation for the sounds of music.

Any reasons I missed?  Number 1 (sound) is enough to give MP3 a complete miss anyway. Isn’t it?

Increase your listening pleasure. Don’t miss out on hearing every single sound the artist who created the music wanted you to hear.  Choose vinyl or CD where you can, over shitty MP3 versions.  I will, for as long as I still can anyway (in hope that it’s forever).

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Fat Freddys Drop & Their Blackbird – Live @ The Tivoli

Ten years ago I went to a gig in Sydney where I found some of the sweetest, tastiest jazzy/dubby/electronic music I’ve ever heard live.  In a moment of excitement about my great musical find I told my friend Sammy “Fat Freddys Drop is the best band in the world. He has laughed at me about that statement ever since – and would never let me take it back.

I don’t actually think Fat Freddys Drop is the best band in the world.  I was silly for having said that any 1 band is the best band in the world.

I do think that a live musical journey with Fat Freddys Drop is always a pretty special one to go on.

I went to their gig at The Tivoli in Brisbane on the weekend- part of the Australian tour promoting the release of their new album Blackbird.

Fat Freddys Drop - Live - Tivoli - Brisbane - Blackbird Tour - 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

I must have had 10+ live Fat Freddys Drop experiences by now. I can’t say that The Tivoli gig was the the best of them.

I can say the things I loved about The Tivoli gig are the same things that I have always loved about Fat Freddys Drop:  

  • Their marathon long live songs – where the music changes through that long journey, they jam out, and there are lots of awesome solos by each of the quality musicians that they are.
                            • The minimalist vocals of Joe Dukie.

Fat Freddys Drop - Live - Tivoli - Brisbane - Blackbird Tour - 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

                            • The subtle horn lines in the right places- and the even better horn solos.

Fat Freddys Drop - Live - Tivoli - Brisbane - Blackbird Tour - 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

                      • The fat bass lines DJ Fitchie creates. I love most things he does musically, but I can still never help wishing for that special energy that I think comes from having a live bass and drums.

Fat Freddys Drop - Live - Tivoli - Brisbane - Blackbird Tour - 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

  • At each Fat Freddys Drop gig the the same song will nearly always sound different.

Fat Freddys Drop - Live - Tivoli - Brisbane - Blackbird Tour - 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

  • The smooth way Fat Freddys Drop blend jazz, dub, soul, blues, electronica, funk, groove & hip hop.

With distinct Pacific Island Aotearoa sounds…like so many other great contemporary artists from Aotearoa/New Zealand making fusion music from those genres.

Fat Freddys Drop - Live - Tivoli - Brisbane - Blackbird Tour - 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

All copies of Blackbird sold out at the gig so I can’t tell you anything about it yet sorry :(.  I was so relieved though that Fat Freddys Drop actually had good old fashioned CDs for sale at their gig.

Blackbird (2013)You can even buy it on sweet sounding vinyl.

ffd-vinyl

For now I have a video of Blackbird, their opening song at The Tivoli gig. Also some mp3 version (sorry for you) sample listening tracks off previous albums.

Dr Boondigga & the Big BW (2009)

Dr Boondigga & The Big BW (2009)

Shiverman – Dr Boondigga & The Big BW (2009)

FatFreddysDrop-BasedOnaTrueStory

Based On A True Story (2005)

Ray Ray – Based On A True Story (2005)

Live at the Matterhorn - Fat Freddys Drop - 2001

Live At The Matterhorn (2001)

Rain – Live At The Matterhorn (2001)

 

+ 1 more Random track…

Midnight Marauders – Dub Conspiracy Sampler

 

Fat Freddys Drop - Live - Tivoli - Brisbane - Blackbird Tour - 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

Ten years of live Fat Freddys Drop experiences and I keep going back for more. That’s because I wanna hear their sweet, live marathon tracks where they jam out.   I suppose that’s why Live at the Matterhorn is still my favourite Fat Freddys Drop album – a 70 minute CD of only 4 tracks. We’ll see if Blackbird changes that once I get my hands on it.

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