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coverpic flag Mare Smythii - Full Moon 153 - 03/11/09

6-9 March 2009, Adelaide Botanic Park

While I can't profess to be a world music enthusiast, I took a great opportunity to work at some friends' Mexican food stall for a free ticket to Womadelaide. It was wonderful to wander in the sun between the half-dozen stages and sample some of the eclectic music. It made me realise what a reductive and idiot label 'world music' can be. And in the process I caught a couple of stunning sets.

coverpic The first came from New Yorker Kaki King. While I'd read her name around the web several times in reference to her dizzying talent on the acoustic guitar, I was pleasantly surprised to find her armed with an electric guitar, a drummer, and a guy on laptop and what looked like an electronic bong. (It turned out to a device called an Evi, which is basically a digital wind controller that sounds like a juicy synth.) The band switched sounds and tempos incessantly, mustering some achingly beautiful music. Occasionally the riffing became a bit leaden, especially in the closing number, but overall I was left with the impression that the hype is justified - Kaki King is a ludicrously talented musician with awesome melodic sensibility and songwriting nous.


The other pleasant surprise came from festival closer Rokia Traore. I doubt the music would have entranced me had I heard it on the radio, but live, the rapid-fire funk attack and happy-go-lucky vibes swept me up into one of the all-too-rare times that I dance to live music. I'm shy, but this music carried me away completely with every slap-bass solo and rhythmic crescendo. It's a cliché, but damn those Africans have got rhythm...

Copyright © 2009 Tim Clarke e-mail address

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