Ngaiire Live & Revamped

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

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

NGAIIRE live at Howler, Melbourne 2015

Ngaiire live at Howler 2015

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

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

Andrew Bruce

w/ NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

Jack Britten

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

NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

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

w/ NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

Bille McCarthy

w/ NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

Christian Hemara

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

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

NGAIIRE live at The Howler, Melbourne 2015

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

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

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

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E is for Electronic Music Infiltration

‘E’ in Beaver’s A to Z of Fusion goes to the sounds of electronic music for their like-it-or-not, rapid infiltration of almost every type of music in just about every part of the world since their beginnings at the end of the 19th century.

electronic music

A Shallow History of Infiltration

The history of electronic music is long and involved.  It’s not a story I’m qualified to properly tell, nor do I want to try. The over-simplified, short, sketchy version is this…

The Beatles - Moog SynthesizerFirst came the creation of electronic musical instruments like synthesizers. The Beatles weaved them into their music in the late 1960’s, as did artists before them. Pink Floyd did too, even Herbie Hancock, and countless artists since them.

The development of electronic music technologies continued, including digital audio to rapidly thereafter replace analog.

The creation of music using only electronic means became increasingly common.

Computer software advanced. Access to computers and other technologies became easier for most of the world.

electronic music

Certainly electronic music got its grips on ‘less-developed’ (ie. poorer) parts of the world sooner than the richer ones, but it eventually infiltrated just about everywhere. Seven years ago in Havana you can imagine my dismay when a young man in the technologically un-advanced, insulated Cuban bubble, proudly played me the reggaeton (an electronic-music-Evil) track he’d just finished making on his archaic equipment.

Some consequences of the world’s electronic music infiltration I’m into, some I am most definitely not.

Post-Infiltration

Nowadays it’s rare to find music made in the warm, living analog world. That’s a tragedy of epic proportions. Thankfully some artists still deliver it – most recently D’Angelo with Black Messiah, and regularly by Will Holland (aka Quantic).

Digital music consumption now dominates – another tragedy of epic proportions.

Nowadays and for a long time it’s been open to any man, woman or their dog with a computer to make music on it. It’s great that so much creativity is flowing from people around the world, but the truth is that I have little tolerance for listening to music produced wholly and solely in the electronic domain.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – the infiltration of electronic music has had its benefits too. Today some of my favorite music from around the world is by artists/groups who innovatively utilise and blend the sounds of electronic instruments into their musical mix whilst valuing and maintaining the living, human, conventional sounds.

It is the sounds of those instruments, and the people playing them, that is the living chi of music. They make the music sound and feel alive to me. They physically and emotionally connect me to the music. Without that living element, with purely electronic sounds, the music is a lost cause for my ears.

Infiltration Samples

Check out these sample tracks by a handful of contemporary artists from different countries who mix up the sounds of electronica and the living to produce killer musical results. Remember these are just super-compressed mp3 versions of the songs. Buy the music on vinyl where you can, or at least cd, to hear it in its full, living sound glory.

1. NGAIIRE (Papua New Guinea/Australia)

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

NGAIIRE – Lamentations (2013)

‘Fireflies’ – NGAIIRE – Lamentations

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Check out more NGAIIRE music + footage from live shows here.

2. Flying Lotus (USA)

Flying Lotus - You're Dead! (2014)

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

‘Never Catch Me’ – Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – You’re Dead! 

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Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

‘See Thru To U’ – Flying Lotus  feat. Erykah Badu – Until The Quiet Comes

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Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (2010)

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (2010)

‘German Haircut’ – Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

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Check out more Flying Lotus music here and stay tuned for a rundown of his upcoming live performances in Australia.

3. Will Holland – aka Quantic (UK)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico (2007)

‘I Just Fell In Love Again’ – The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico

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Check out more Quantic tracks + footage of his DJ set at WOMADelaide 2014  here.

4. Myele Manzana (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

Myele Manzanza – One (2013)

‘Elvin’s Brew’ – Myele Manzanza  – One

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5. Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

‘Sphinx Gate’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk

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Hear more Hiatus Kaiyote tracks + videos of live shows here.

6. Sidestepper (UK + Colombia)

(pioneers in live/electro Colombian fusion)

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper - 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

‘In The Beats We Trust’ – Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust

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7. Bajofondo (Argentina + Uruguay) 

(pioneers in Latin American live/electro fusion)

Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (2007)

Bajofondo – Mar Dulce (2007)

‘Pa’ Bailar’ – Bajofondo Tango Club – Mar Dulce

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Hear more Bajofondo tracks + videos from a live show in Bogota here.

8. Roberto Fonseca (Cuba)

Roberto Fonseca - Yo (2012)

Roberto Fonseca – Yo (2013)

‘Rachel’ – Roberto Fonseca – Yo

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Hear more Roberta Fonseca tracks + videos from his live performance at WOMADelaide 2014 here.

9. Electric Wire Hustle (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

‘Burn’ – Electric Wire Hustle

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10. Little Dragon (Sweden)

Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Little Dragon – Ritual Union (2012)

‘Please Turn’ – Little Dragon – Ritual Union 

 

Hear more Little Dragon songs + videos from live shows here.

Little Dragon live at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

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So musical people, what say you about the infilitration of electronic music…like it, or not?

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NGAIIRE Live – Glastonbury Via The Basement

The first time I was blessed to have the live NGAIIRE experience was at AWME 2013 – a showcase of upcoming Australasian artists. Now, just 7 months later, Ngaiire is off to the UK to share her music with crowds at 2014’s sold-out Glastonbury Festival. She deserves all the success she’s had during this past year and before, confirmed for me again when I caught her last Australian show for a while last week at Sydney’s legendary music venue The Basement.

NGAIIRE live at The Basement, Sydney - May 2014

This particular NGAIIRE show bought me an hour or so of feeling that special indescribable joy that different music brings to all of us.  Like each of the previous three times I’ve heard her perform live, she and her band captivated me from the first note to the last.  

The Basement is a small, dark, ambient venue.  To hear and see NGAIIRE and her band perform up close and personal in that intimate environment was a very special experience indeed – one that will stay with me for a long time.

NGAIIRE is gorgeous to see and gorgeous to hear.  Her vocal range in all its power and subtleties, her emotive and intelligent lyrics and her very unique vocal phrasing will make you smile, and smile some more.  The three other talented musicians with her on stage will surely do the same.

NGAIIRE live at The Basement, Sydney - May 2014

Most songs in The Basement set were from NGAIIRE’s 2013 album Lamentations. Sample a dirty mp3 version of a track from Lamentations here…

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

Lamentations (2013)

‘Rabbit Hole’ –  NGAIIRE – Lamentations (2013)

 

Then check these videos of ‘Dirty Hercules’ and ‘ABCD’ live at The Basement – videos of a quality which could never possibly do NGAIIRE and her band the justice they deserve, but will give you a teeny-weeny glimpse of the goodness…

                                             

One song in NGAIIRE’s set was a new one – as yet unreleased. Hopefully amongst her seemingly non-stop, demanding festival and tour schedule, she’ll find some studio time soon so we’re not waiting too long for her next album release.

Check out a video of that new song performed live at The Basement…

I’ve heard a lot of live music this year and lately, but NGAIIRE’s show at The Basement was definitely up there amongst the the most special. Like I’ve recently described Erykah Badu’s live shows, ‘divine’ is the word for the live NGAIIRE experience. Festival-goers at Glastonbury are in for a treat.

Ngaiire live @ The Basement, Sydney - May 2014

More Ngaiire

You can check out more of NGAIIRE’s musical gifts on this here site…

* Other sample tracks from Lamentations here.

* Sample tracks from Songs For No One and Two Minds here.

* Video of NGAIIRE live at The Toff In Town from AWME (Australasian Worldwide Music Expo) 2013 here.

* Video of NGAIIRE live with the Barefoot Divas at Mullum Music Festival 2013 here.

* Video of NGAIIRE live at WOMADelaide 2014 here.

Ngaiire @ live @ WOMADelaide 2014

NGAIIRE at WOMADelaide 2014

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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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Ngaiire Gifts Again

Lately I’ve gone on about the awesome musical gifts of Ngaiire: her AWME (Australasian Worldwide Music Expo) 2013 gig; Mullum Music Festival 2013 with the Barefoot Divas; and her 2013 album Lamentations.  Well, now I have some more Ngaiire gifts.

The Papua New Guinean born, Australian based artist has been ever so busy since those recent ravings of mine.

Her and the Barefoot Divas have wowed the USA and Canada with their amazing shows.

Ngaiire and her band have also been playing festival and other venue gigs all around Australia; doing radio shows; releasing the film clip of ABCD; and playing with the Australian Art Orchestra at MONA MOFO.

Ngaiire live

Ngaiire -AWME-2013- www.beaveronthebeats.comNgaiire @ AWME (Australasian Worldwide Music Expo) 2013

Somehow amongst that very busy schedule, Ngaiire has found time to start writing a new album for us all.

Since discovering Ngaiire at AWME, I got busy trying to find myself some more Ngaiire gifts…non-mp3 copies of her studio releases before Lamentations. I had success on-line, buying Songs For No One and Two Minds from Waterfront Records.

No, they’re not vinyl. But they are definitely not  mp3s. They are real discs, real sleeves and real inserts filled with beautiful images and words – things I can touch, see and smell. Most importantly on those discs is what I can hear – the music of Ngaiire as it was recorded to be heard – with uncompressed, good sound quality.

Ngaiire - Two MindsNgaiire - Songs For No One

Good sound quality – and good music. More of the beautiful, raw, unique vocals and music of Ngaiire I love so much. Two Minds and Songs For No One probably won’t get as much play time as Lamentations does, but they are getting plenty nonetheless.

Here’s your gift of these super-compressed mp3 sample tracks from Two Minds and Songs For No One. You now know where to find and buy the real CDs yourself.

Two Minds (2010)

Two Minds (2010)

Two Minds (Sold Out Sam Remix) – Two Minds (2010)

Ngaiire - Songs For No One

Songs For No One (2008)

Never Forget I – Songs For No One (2008)

You can also hear Ngaiire singing versions of these songs on the Barefoot Divas live album Walk A Mile In My Shoes.

Guess what folks? In just 5 more days I get to have the gift of Ngaiire and her band live at WOMADelaide 2014.

Who’s coming??? Come on. You know you want to 🙂 .

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The Gift of Ngaiire

My Gift of Naiire

Last month AWME gave me the gift of Ngaiire and her band live in Melbourne, plus their debut album Lamentations to take away.

Ngaiire - AWME showcase

AWME showcase (Melbourne)

On the next weekend Mullum Music Festival blessed me with the gift of Ngaiire performing amongst the Barefoot Divas.

Mullum Music Festival 2013

Mullum Music Festival 2013

In between those two shows and since, I have listened to the 9 beautiful songs on Lamentations over, and over again.

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

Lamentations (2013)

It’s music self-described as ‘future folk/soul’. I guess that’s true, but I don’t even want to think about naming it. It’s just special.

Think Erykah BaduMe’Shell NdegéocelloNneka.

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell Ndegeocello

Nneka

Nneka

Ngaiire’s music, nor her vocals, sound like theirs do.

Sydney based, Papua New Guinean Ngaiire, sounds like Ngaiire.

Ngaiire

Ngaiire

But all 4 of those contemporary female artists create innovative, unique and diverse music. They all have divine voices and use them in incredible ways.

Ngaiire is now amongst Erykah, Me’shell and Nneka in my group of musical heroines.

Your Gift of Ngaiire

2 sample tracks from Lamentations

They’re just a tiny taste of the diverse musical and vocal flavours on the album – but hopefully enough to make you want more.   I promise you the creations of Ngaiire and her musical collaborators (Aaron ChoulaiTim CurnickChris TownendNai PalmElana Stone –  Brian Campeau) sound much better on the original CD than in this here mp3 style.

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

Lamentations (2013)

Dirty Hercules (Feat. the beautiful Nai Palm from Hiatus Kaiyote) – Lamentations (2013)

ABCD (For Ommo) – Lamentations (2013)

A special gift yes? 🙂  I think so.

You can buy yourself Lamentations on-line…or on foot in good music stores.

You can also find Ngaiire’s past releases on-line. Or you can try to find 2 copies of the original CDs – 1 for you, and 1 for me please.

Her Gift of Ngaiire

It’s a very rare thing that I’m brave enough to buy a music CD for someone by an artist they don’t know about. A risky gift to give yes?

This Christmas I’ve bought Lamentations for someone.  I’m not worried though. I have complete faith in the value of Ngaiire’s music being heard.

Future Gifts of Ngaiire

The gift of the live Ngaiire & band experience is on offer to folks all around Australia in coming months. They’ve just started their Summer tour with a support slot for Alicia Keys.

We can get the gift again at Ngaiire’s WOMADelaide show in March – on the festival program amongst other amazing worldwide artists.

Womadelaide

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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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