The Woohoo Revue, Secret Gypsy Agents…
A core team of spacey female violin & bass fronted by the sonic assault force of a 3 piece brass section and acoustic guitar with drum fills and solos a plenty.
An impressively loud response and clap track was drawn from the crowd, especially for one of the first bands of the day.
When the announcer asked how many people were at Womad for their fourth day in a row, many were which is a marathon effort!
The Sound wizard did a masterful job of balancing the forces of sound into a clashless, danceable vibe which the audience locked into and grooved away with in time to the band.
The stage was called the Morton Bay stage owing to the fact that it was surrounded by the beautiful old fig trees which gave ambiance and shade to the event.
For one of the songs the violinist walked through the tree’s as she invoked Narnia-esque tunes before jumping on top of the speaker stack as the rest of the band helped her launch the tune into full forced gypsy grooves.
The haunting soliloquy wrought from the violin juxtaposed the thumping pulsations coming from surrounding stages in a way that you can only experience at giant multi-cultural festivals like Womad.
Complex to the uninitiated ear, roasting with flavor and utterly danceable. The Woohoo Revue invoked old-school European vibes which nicely offset the predominantly African flavors of the day.
It was good to see some grass-roots Melbourners rocking the stage at Womad with their unique & Energetic Gypsy styles. Definitely a band to check out for their visual appeal and get down Gypsy jigs.
Creole Choir of Cuba
For me music is all about the soul and one of the most expressive ways to convey the soul is through the voice.
Although the Creole Choir comes from Cuba all of the members are from Haiti. The Haitian culture invokes a good cross over of cultures and the band mixed the complex vocal harmonies of western music with the complex percussion rhythms of African culture.
For an act that that featured only voice and just a little sprinkling of percussion these guys’ sound was propelled out of the speaker by some unseen force which allowed them to compete with the surrounding noise and they were definitely as loud as any full force band of the day.
I think that when you surrender to the fact that you are never going to understand what somebody is singing and laughing about so convincingly in another language you surrender yourself to other avenues of understanding, which for me is what Womad is all about;
Breaking down cultural and language barriers to translate what is the same within us all and how the human soul is connected globally through music.
For me Soulful choirs always embody a voice that describes a passion for life and resilience to life’s hardships despite struggles and tragedies that have afflicted the members and their community. It is an ancient message and art form and is so applicable today to people all over the world who have recently become victims of various natural disasters.
If you have a hole in your soul I think this choir would help to heal it. We should send them up to Queensland and Japan…
Afro Cuban Allstars
Band leader Juan de Marcos González was born in Havana in the 50’s. He became a key member of the world famous Buena Vista Social Club before compiling a tribute band to the golden era greats of Cuban music, which is the Afro-Cuban All Stars.
González was a fan of American and British rock music before rediscovering his Cuban roots. González’s stated goal was to keep the torch of Cuban folk music alive for a younger generation. The Afro-Cuban All Stars spans 4 generations of musicians ranging from the age of 81 to 13, so really what you are seeing when they perform is an active display of a culture being kept alive and passed on from the masters to the younger generation of Cuba.
The band was all dressed up real sharp in suave yet casual white suits and sported sunglasses golf hats & goatees in a laid back, cruisey, Cuban sort of way. You can imagine that more than a few cigars have been shared between the members of this band amidst rum mixers and a table full of playing cards on the hot streets of Havana.
During a performance the band represents the full spectrum of Cuban music Including bolero, chachachá, salsa, danzón, and rumba which they evoke through a big band consisting of piano, bass, timbale, bongos & cuban percussion, congas, trumpets, trombones and an array of singers.
Once again the sound was fantastic and the main stage is wonderful at night when it is illuminated against the backdrop of trees and stars. Truly a way to be transported to a different world if you let go and journey through the music which most of the people up the front of the sizeable crowd were doing as evidenced by the infectious dancing bug that was being shared throughout the audience. Good to see Cuban music is alive and kicking!
Is a very accomplished man. He is responsible for bringing together punk and reggae music through his presence on the scene in London in the 70’s. He is also a documentary film maker, which is part of his career ever since 1978 when he “just happened to have a camera there when I was doing all this amazing stuff!”
He has worked with The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, Deborah Harry and used to be Bob Marley’s weed dealer. He was also the original driving DJ force behind London’s legendary Roxy club and was intimately involved with its conception. Through DJ’ing at the Roxy Lett’s introduced the fledgling London punk scene to Dub and Reggae recordings from Jamaica which hugely inspired and shaped the movement, Especially the Clash.
When I saw Don speaking in support of one of his punk documentaries at the Palace cinema a few years ago he explained how he was deeply inspired by the music coming from his parents’ homeland Jamaica, in particular Bob Marley. After seeing one of Marley’s gigs in 1976 he was lead by an inner compulsion to sneak into Bob’s hotel room and spent the night talking to and befriending Marley which bloomed into a creative and useful relationship for both of them.
Don’s DJ set at Womad consisted of Dub remixes of tracks such as the Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby & Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car with the most impressive visual display of the day which included laser beams, smoke and a back drop of colorful techno displays which brought visual life and vibrancy to the sonic force coming through the speakers.
All up Womad’s Sound quality, organisation and stage set up is pretty much at the top of the heap for this summer’s music festivals as far as I am concerned. It is inspiring and refreshing to see the amount of respect and care shown to the grounds by patrons and organisers. I saw minimal to no rubbish lying around all day and an excellent 3-tier trash disposal/recycling system was in place and fully operational. Full points to the runners of this show for melding a practical concern for the environment into the event and showing everyone how it can be done successfully and implemented on a large scale.
Once again Adelaide is leading the way. Hopefully the rest of the world was paying attention. A festival of the future.
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