It's already been almost two months since Womadelaide. As ever I had a wonderful time in my happy place and even made time to get to an incredible, overwhelming non-womad gig as well.
One curiosity we heard a bit about in advance was the "Stonehenge jumping castle". This life-size, bouncy version of Stonehenge is a work called 'Sacrilege', by Jeremy Dellar. It made its first appearance in Glasgow in 2012.
I once visited the real Stonehenge. It was so long ago that I can't even link to a blog post, as it was in
The name of this work, Sacrilege, sort of puzzled me a bit. I mean, I get it, but it also seemed a little bit strong relative to the level of religious/cultural significance Stonehenge has for modern people. But maybe I am way off and being unfair to modern druids. In any case this discussion naturally brought to mind Uluru, and the ongoing controversy about climbing it.
I wouldn't climb Uluru. The Aboriginal people of the area have ask people not to: end of story. I can see that a bouncy Rock - if that was even possible - would be quite a strong statement. And I'm not necessarily suggesting someone should do that. I was also reminded me of another jumping castle/sculpture we saw as part of the 2012 Sydney Biennale, this one made by an Indigenous artist: Brook Andrew's Jumping Castle War Memorial.
It had been a really long time since I'd been on a jumping castle, and it was big fun. The surface was very hot underfoot though, so the ten minute session was plenty. That time limit also meant the wait to get onto it was not too long, even when there was a queue. (Last year I didn't end up bothering with the big-thing-you-had-to-queue-for, cause the queue was crazy most of the time).
This was a slightly impenetrable show called The Wheel House. To be fair, I did arrive in the middle of the show and maybe didn't get the whole storyline. I quite like a post-apocalyptic theme, anyway.
This was Calexico. Second time I've seen them at Womadelaide and their set was one of the best all weekend. Funny thing is I realised later (via Instagram I think) that they had also done a show in Canberra earlier in the week, as part of the Enlighten festival.
Below, Chinese duo Tulegur, experts in Mongolian folk music and throat singing, and also into grunge rock. I'm always fascinated by the different kinds of throat singing. Another cool group at the festival this year was the Jerry Cans, with a female throat singer, Inuit style.
Anyway, Tulegur. Let me place you at the scene. It was quite late, we were tired/relaxed, digging the music. Of course, it's pretty common at a festival for people to come and go casually and sometimes talk during gigs. Usually I'm happy to just move further forward into the crowd if the people around me are too disconnected from the music. But this was a large, hushed, and mostly captivated audience, and it was one of the smaller stages, so not a lot of space to spare, and not the biggest sound out at the edges, either. A young guy standing behind the sound tent was drinking beer and talking with a friend. The friend knew how to keep his tone low but this kid had one of those piercing voices that really carries and he seemed to be in his own world. People kept turning around and staring at him. It was a bit like someone's phone beeping audibly in the cinema. Just so wrong. Three separate people went up to him at different times and asked him to be quiet. And each time he seemed kind of amazed. Really clueless. Some time after the third intervention he finally moved away, and there was a whispered cheer from all the people near us.
Above, Ainslie Wills, a singer-songwriter from Melbourne. For me, there was a bit of a Clare Bowditch feel to some of her songs.
I guess I didn't plan ahead well enough across the weekend and on the Monday found myself splitting my time in this one time slot between John Grant (above) and Malian up-and-comers Songhoi Blues, below. John Grant I had heard about, though I had never listened to his music. As soon as I did it was an instant connection for me and though I only stayed for a few songs, I grabbed the album later on. I was reminded a bit of earlyish solo Scott Walker, also Divine Comedy and that chamber pop style. The funny thing is when I got home I found that Kam already owned his two previous albums. I really need to do a better job of keeping up with the music in this house!