WOMADelaide 2015: Nourishment Forever-After

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

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

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

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho at WOMADelaide 2015

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WOMADelaide 2015 Moments

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

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

Osadia at WOMADelaide 2015

Osadia

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

Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky) presents Arctic Rhythms

 

 

 

 

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

Jupiter & Okwess International live at WOMADelaide 2015

Jupiter

Jupiter & Okwess International live at WOMADelaide 2015

Okwess International

 

 

 

 

 

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

WOMADelaide 2015

WOMADelaide 2015

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie live at WOMADelaide 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie

CW Stoneking live at WOMADelaide 2015

C.W. Stoneking

 

 

 

 

 

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

WOMADelaide 2015

WOMADelaide 2015

 

 

 

 

Hearing the Romanian brass-frenzy of Fanfare Ciocarlia?

Fanfare Ciocarlia live at WOMADelaide 2015

Fanfare Ciocarlia

Fanfare Ciocarlia live at WOMADelaide 2015

Fanfare Ciocarlia

 

 

 

 

 

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

ARTONIK perform The Colour of Time at WOMADelaide 2015

ARTONIK – The Colour of Time

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

Sinead O'Connor live at WOMADelaide 2015

Sinead O’Connor

Rufus Wainwright live at WOMADelaide 2015

Rufus Wainwright

 

 

 

 

 

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

WOMADelaide 2015

Architects of Air - Exxopolis - WOMADelaide 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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

Balkan Beat Box live at WOMADelaide 2015

Balkan Beat Box

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Balkan Beat Box

 

 

 

 

 

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

WOMADelaide 2015WOMADelaide 2015

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

Youssou N'Dour concert at WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Youssou N’Dour

Youssou N'Dour concert at WOMADelaide 2015

Youssou N’Dour

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

Neneh Cherry & Rocketnumbernine live at WOMADelaide 2015

Rocketnumbernine

Neneh Cherry & Rocketnumbernine live at WOMADelaide 2015

Neneh Cherry

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

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

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

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

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

Abdullah Ibrahim Quartet (South Africa)

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

Abdullah Ibrahim live at WOMADelaide 2015

Abdullah Ibrahim

DJ Spooky (USA)

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

DJ Spooky at WOMADelaide 2015

DJ Spooky

Flavia Coelho (Brazil)

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

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Flavia Coelho


 

 

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

Al

Al Chonville

Flavia Coelho live at WOMADelaide 2015

Flavia Coelho

Jambinai (South Korea)

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

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

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

Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Jake Savona

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla

 

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla w/ Mista Savona

Randy Valentine with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Randy Valentine

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

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

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

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

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Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

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

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

Rachel Fraser

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

Lisa Tomlins

Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015

Myele Manzanza

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

Sam Manzanza

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

Adam Page

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

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club (Cuba)

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

Los Originales de Buena Vista Social Club…

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club live at WOMADelaide 2015

Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club

Los Jóvenes de Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club….

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Paul D. Miller (USA)

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

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

Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky)

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

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

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

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Soil & Pimp Sessions (Japan)

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

Soil & Pimp Sessions live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

WOMADelaide 2015

w/ Soil & Pimp Sessions

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

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Shacho – Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

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

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

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

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

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Soil & Pimp Sessions concert live at WOMADelaide 2015

Soil & Pimp Sessions

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

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

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

How many more days to go?

Prince Alla with Mista Savona live at WOMADelaide 2015

Prince Alla

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

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Myele Manzanza & The Goodness of Music

Music is one of the best medicines in the world. Agreed? It bring invaluable moments of euphoric goodness that at times can be hard to find in these lives of ours. True?

Like all of us New Zealand artist Myele Manzanza has a lifetime of positive musical experiences that are a part of his cellular memory. He’s been blessed with an entire life (albeit 27-years-short) surrounded by music and musicians, starting from his upbringing around his performing artist father Sam Manzanza – through to 6 years of Electric Wire Hustle gigs around the world – to his time in Red Bull Music Academy – to the production of his debut solo album One – to touring with Theo Parrish – and all the many musical collaborations and gigs in between.

Amongst the plethora of musical stories Myele Manzanza must have, I asked him in our recent interview to share one profoundly-affecting moment or experience which affirmed the fundamental goodness of music in his own life or in the lives of others.

Check out Myele Manzanza’s answer below.

Myele Manzanza

Myele Manzanza…

“There’s been loads of them – more than I can count. But the first thing that came to my head when you asked that was this:

There’s this pianist from New Zealand, a relatively nomadic character who travels a lot and does lots of interesting things. His name is Jonathan Crayford. He’s like the ‘musician’s musician’. Even though he’s never been as famous as lots of other New Zealand musicians, he was always the one everyone in the Wellington music scene knew “he’s the best”. Anyone would probably tell you that as far as pure musicianship goes, Jonathan Crayford is the best thing that came out of New Zealand, maybe ever.

Jonathan Crayford

Jonathan Crayford. Photo by Christopher Mavrič

When I was 19, I was very fortunate in being able to play with Jonathan. I was at music school at the time and we connected and started doing these duo gigs. Jonathan would play rhodes and bass synths and I would play drums, and we would just play. He would kind of improvise compositions as he went. His whole thought process is on an alien level, and his ability to create amazing compositions and improvisation is mind-blowing.

There was this one moment and we were doing a gig with no more than ten people in the room. As the piece went on, if memory serves me it might have been an A-suspended-fourth chord in the right hand and some ascending bass line in the left hand; but the way that he did it, was that the chord stayed there and every four bars or so the bass line kept ascending and ascending in relation to where the chord was. For some reason, the way Jonathan hit it and the way I happened to catch it was like this strange euphoric moment where everything made sense and I felt totally connected to what I was doing.

For maybe two minutes there was nothing that got in the way of this feeling of euphoria.

It was like the film called Limitless where Bradley Cooper’s character takes some magic pill that totally heightened his brain and sensory awareness to where he’s infinitely smarter and can more or less do anything. It kind of felt like that – this in-tune moment – which was just generated from some simple chord and bass line combination, but was something which opened me up to the mysteries of the world and the great profound effect that music can have. It was like a real, direct experience of that.

Even though it was only performing to ten people, it was one of the greatest moments of my life.”

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Catch Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic plus about 50 other global music and dance artists performing live at WOMADelaide 2015 next weekend; and at WOMAD New Zealand the week after. I’m quite sure there will be plenty of those magical, so-so-good-for-us musical moments to be had at the festival.

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Read the rest of my interview with Myele Manzanza and hear sample tracks from his debut solo album One here.

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The Musical Evolution of Myele Manzanza

Myele ManzanzaDelve into the life of New Zealand artist Myele Manzanza and you’ll find that the blend of electro, soul, hip hop, jazz and Afrobeat music on his debut solo album One, makes perfect sense as a balanced reflection of his individual life lived and the various musical influences and experiences within it.

The Life of Myele

The son of Sam Manzanza, a Congolese musician and pioneering force in bringing African music to (and keeping it alive in) Aoetearoa/New Zealand, Myele Manzanza was born into a life surrounded by music and skilled musicians. Later in his life came the drum kit. Later again formal studies in Jazz Performance. All of it in Wellington – a place where many more artists than the wider-world knows about have been creating innovative musical blends of soul, jazz, reggae and electronica for a long time.

After six years drumming and touring the world with New Zealand’s successful electro-soul outfit Electric Wire Hustle, as well as going through the Red Bull Music Academy program, Myele left the trio in 2013 to embark on his solo music career and release his debut album One through BBE.

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

One (2013)

Get a feel here (as best you can with a compressed mp3 version) for the life and sound of Myele Manzanza with One’s introductory track…

‘Neighbours Intro’ – One (2013) – Myele Manzanza

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Post-One, Pre-WOMADelaide

Consider then all of his musical experiences since the release of One and all-in-all, Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic are a perfect fit in the line-up of WOMADelaide 2015 where a diverse range of phenomenal worldwide artists will be performing.

Amongst those experiences is drumming on tour last year with a super-talented group of musicians and dancers put together by Detroit-based producer/DJ Theo Parrish – including funk legend Amp Fiddler on keys, and ex-Public Enemy guitarist Dumminie Deporres. Then there’s also that long list of prestigious gigs performed in New Zealand and abroad with the Myele Manzanza Trio, Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic, Miguel Atwood Ferguson and a host of other artists.

With less than one month to go until WOMADelaide kicks off in Adelaide, I caught up with Myele Manzanza to chat about his musical evolution up to and post WOMADelaide.

WOMADelaide 2015

Chatting with Myele Manzanza…

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Beaver:  You’ve played before at WOMADelaide – with Electric Wire Hustle right?

Myele Manzanza:  Yeah, we did WOMADelaide maybe 3 or 4 years ago. It was cool. I enjoyed my time there. It’s a beautiful venue and setting, and the programmers at WOMAD know exactly what they’re doing as far as the line-ups that they get. It’s a really interesting and exciting festival for me so I’m happy to be able to bring my own band over and be able to play my music at a festival that’s notoriously great.

Myele Manzanza Solo

Beaver:  Does your time with Electric Wire Hustle feel like a million years ago now, given everything that’s been happening in your life and solo music career since then?

Electric Wire Hustle

Myele Manzanza (L) with Electric Wire Hustle

Myele Manzanza:  It’s the first time I’ve really reflected on that so I’m glad you asked that question. It kind of does in the scheme of things. My last concert with them was about a year and a half ago, maybe a little bit more. In that sense, it hasn’t been that long.

But a lot’s happened and a lot is musically different to how it was 2 or 3 years ago in that era of my life.

Last year I did quite a lot of touring in the U.S. and Europe, Australia as well, which was fantastic. I’ve been steadily working on lots of different musical projects and producing albums for people, and also my own stuff which I’m sure will be gradually coming out over the next couple of years. I feel like I’m a lot different as a drummer, as a musician and an artist. I’ve grown a lot since then. So in that sense yes, it does feel like a long time ago.

I don’t think it will happen, but it would be interesting if I was to play with Electric Wire Hustle again. It would probably be kind of weird having gone in so many different directions since then.

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[B: If you don’t already know and love Electric Wire Hustle’s music, check out this sample Electric Wire Hustle track from their self-titled debut album…]

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

‘Experience’ – Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

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Musical Independence

Beaver:  How’s it been going for you in becoming the independent master of your own creative path and destiny?

Myele Manzanza:  In one sense it’s been great…because you’re able to set your own terms and define what your sound is, what your music is and what it is that you want to be doing with it.

But on the other side of that coin comes a far greater sense of responsibility because ultimately the buck stops with you and if you want your career to progress then ultimately you’re the one who’s got to put in the work, do all the hustling, be responsible for the art and…for making music that you can only hope at the end of the day resonates with people.

People have gotta relate to the music and reference it from something else that they’ve heard, that’s just natural. But at the same time you gotta make art that’s distinctive and original, find your own sound. While I’ve always been kind of aware of it, in going solo I’ve felt that pressure/challenge in being your own artist.

So it comes with the pros of being able to set your own tone and all of that, but also the greater responsibility and effort in order to make things happen; and with the spotlight being on you, you’ve got to deliver, so it’s just a little bit higher pressure. But it’s cool, the payoff is great.

The Myele Manzanza Supergroup

Beaver:  So with the freedom to create or be a part of any music project, which of any living artists in the world would you choose to put in the line-up of The Myele Manzanza Supergroup?

Myele Manzanza:  Herbie Hancock on rhodes and synths (‘Head Hunters’ 70’s era synths, not that Korg Triton stuff); Pino Palladino on bass; Gretchen Parlato on vocals; Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet; Zakir Hussain on tabla and Marcus Strickland on tenor saxophone.

Myele Manzanza

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Theo Parrish Tour

Beaver:  I’m a disciple of Amp Fiddler and Public Enemy  and an appreciator of Theo Parrish. I’m keen to hear about what the experience of playing music live on stage with those artists was like for you, and what you took away from it in terms of your own musicianship?

Myele Manzanza:  That was such a great tour. There were some really amazing shows and really great audiences. It was cool to be on a tour bus with a crew of musicians who were a few more levels above where I’m at now and have been in the game for a little bit longer; and to have been able to learn from them and their processes.

Theo Parrish Tour with Myele Manzanza

“those fundamentals of drumming”

I guess that the Myele Manzanza music that I’m doing and to some extent Electric Wire Hustle before that, drumming wise I was not exactly a jazz drummer, but more fluid. While obviously you’ve still got to hold the beat down and give people that solid thing to dance to, my mind’s eye was orientated more towards colours and textures; different rhythms and interplay; interacting and improvising; stretching, pushing and pulling with what I was doing – as opposed to being strictly the foundational rhythmic pulse that doesn’t move while everything else is built up on top of it.

In playing with Theo I had to go back to those fundamentals of drumming – being the engine room and holding it down for the band, keeping that steady pulse. So I had to go back to that and really push and develop that, figure out my place within it.

We rehearsed for 10-12 hours a day for a week prior to the tour, so it took a little while for everyone to figure out their place in the band and the band’s sound.

“the language of the dance”

There were four dancers that were part of the performance as well, and when we were rehearsing with them that’s when it kind of clicked for me: as opposed to getting too busy and trying to add all these different kinds of spices into it, needing to just be the onions and garlic, hold down the base, be the solid meat and potatoes that kept everything together – particularly for the dancers.

Because when I was watching the dancers I was recognising how they were literally dancing to what I was doing. So by keeping that repetitive thing going and giving them something consistent to work with, it gave them space to be somewhat spontaneous within that; and be able to hear my accents and to form their dances in a way which hit those accents.

For me that was a great learning lesson as well – performing with dancers and recognising how the drums relate to them specifically.

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

Especially with Theo’s music because he’s a dance music producer and very idiosyncratic, but the way that he puts his rhythm together and his drum production is very specific. In working with the dancers I recognised the greater purpose for that specificity. As opposed to “Okay, that’s just a beat there with some flourishes there, and that’s kind of cool”, recognising that its actually a specific part of the composition and is important and integral to the meaning to that.

So in learning from that process and going into my music-making now, I guess I have a greater understanding of the language of the dance and the way that music (and rhythm in particular) relates to that. I kind of already knew it. It’s one of those truths that’s just there and obvious, but on that tour it kind of hit home for me that this weird, relatively esoteric thing called music has a solid, very real, very pertinent affect on other human beings.

“music…connects with people in some real way”

It’s interesting because music is a thing that you kind of can’t really see or feel or touch, but it connects with people in some real way. That was a first hand experience for me on the Tour and I’ll never let go of that in whatever it is that I’m doing – even if I’m not doing ‘dancing music’.

I’ll be more aware that whatever sound I’m generating or whatever sound a band is generating, relates to people on a human level; as opposed to like a music theory level or relating to musicians; as opposed to the general public and the different things in different ways that work and how different people think. Because a lot of the time musicians can get caught up in ‘musiciany things’, things that only musicians would really notice. It’s important to be able to step back from yourself and kind of try and figure out the greater affect that your music has on people, and try and think in a broader way.

Post-One Evolution

Beaver:  If One was a reflection of the life of Myele Manzanza lived up until its making, and given everything you’ve done since the release of that album, do you feel that your musical evolution has progressed further still?

Myele Manzanza:  There’s a lot of different tangents to it. I go through phases where I’m into some style of music, or really into drumming and practising a lot and working on being really proficient on the instrument: getting my speed up, or my chops up and articulation; the dynamics; the pure physicality of drumming. I’ll have phases of that. And sometimes I’ll have phases of doing a lot of beat-making and producing and composing.

Myele Manzanza

With the actual music I’m making, it’s still within those same influences, the various styles you were talking about (jazz, Afrobeat etc). I guess what I’m trying to do more and more (and it was something I was doing with One as well but think I’m getting further along the path) is finding a way to unify all of those different influences into one sound which is me –  rather than “now I’m playing Afrobeat”, “now I’m playing jazz”, “now I’m playing electronica” or “now I’m playing hip hop” etc.

As opposed to being able to play in all of the different styles authentically, I’m trying to meld all of them into a single style, which is easier said than done…At the one time I have to be highly aware of wanting and needing to do that, but at the same time I don’t know exactly what the end result would be. You can’t. No one can know. No artist could entirely know beforehand what their actual distinctive sound is. It’s a continual process of taking what’s come before, digesting it and putting it out as a new thing.

I’m more conscious of that process, even though as far as totally defining it, its perhaps impossible; and perhaps not even the point. Perhaps if I’m too concerned about whatever it is I’m doing next musically, it means I’m not concentrating on what it is that I can do musically now, in the present.

Post-WOMADelaide Evolution

Beaver:   Any insights into what’s next on your evolutionary path beyond WOMAD and WOMADelaide? Any new music projects brewing that you want to talk about?

Myele Manzanza:  I’ve got at least two albums backed up which are musically more or less finished. Definitely keep your ear out for some interesting stuff happening in 2015. As far as specifically what that will be, I’ll keep that close to my chest for now.

Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic Live at WOMADelaide 2015

Beaver:  You’re bringing your Dad [Sam Manzanza] and vocalist Rachel Fraser to perform with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic at WOMADelaide. Which other artists will be joining you?

Sam Manzanza

Sam Manzanza

Myele Manzanza:  Another great singer called Lisa Tomlins. In New Zealand she’s one of the go-to vocalists. She’s performed with everyone like Fat Freddys Drop, Trinity Roots, Shapeshifter and loads of other bands. Lisa’s one of the ‘great’ Greats. She should put out an autobiography with all her stories cause I know she’d have billions of them.

On bass we have Marika Hodgson who plays with Rachel Fraser in a band called Sorceress. She’s a really talented musician from Auckland with a really bright future ahead of her. Daniel Hayles on keys. He’s great; very professional and very, very talented. We went to music school together. Also Daniel Ryland who was one of my teachers at music school. He’s my guitarist now and has a great sound, tone and aesthetic to what he does – very unique. Regardless of the style that he’s playing, he’s able to bring his own thing into it.

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[B: Check out 2 more sample tracks from One which feature Sam Manzanza and Rachel Fraser on vocals. You can buy the hard-copy album through BBE or better yet, get yourself to WOMADelaide 2015 and buy it from the Wo-Shop.]

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

Myele Manzanza – One (2013)

‘On the Move’ – Myele Manzanza feat. Rachel Fraser

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‘Me I Know Him’ – Myele Manzanza feat. Sam Manzanza

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Live Elasticity

Beaver:  How much ‘elasticity’ can we expect to hear in Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic’s live show at WOMADelaide?

Myele Manzanza:  When I say ‘elastic’ [‘Afro-Elastic Soul Music from the Tradition of the Philosopher Kings’] that’s kind of referring to the improvisational element – which is like you’re in the moment and fluid – and whilst I’ve set the parameters of what the composition is, within those parameters you can take those raw materials of the composition and stretch, push, pull and play off of it – so its ‘elastic’ in that sense.

Then it’s also referring to some of the rhythmic things – that sort of J-Dilla-ish kind of feeling that’s steady but off kilter at the same time, and the rhythm is stretched in some interesting way.

That elasticity definitely comes into play a lot with Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic – even though it’s a bigger band and more of a steady sort of RnB dance thing as opposed to an abstract jazz thing. For me I find it’s a good combination of all of the aspects of music and all of the ways of playing that I’m into.

As we continue to play together we keep on getting better and better…I think the next round of WOMAD and WOMADelaide is going to be a really special time.

Beaver:  Well, different people I’ve spoken to about your live performances have all used the word ‘phenomenal’ to describe them, so I look forward to experiencing it myself.

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Catch Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic live at WOMADelaide 2015 along with the Buena Vista Social Club, Neneh Cherry, Sinead O’ConnorTheo Parrish, Jake Savona with Prince Alla and Randy Valentine – plus about 50 more diverse worldwide artists.

WOMADelaide 2015

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Myele Manzanza also shared some insights into New Zealand’s music aesthetic over recent decades – and the story of one of his life’s many euphoric musical moments…get the details here another day soon.

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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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