Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Turn around

I was wandering somewhere (the toilets I think) when a performance erupted right next to me. When this sort of thing happens it goes some way towards justifying all the time I spend lugging the camera around!
Ponydance come from Ireland and don't seem to take themselves too seriously, though their dance skills are genuine. They seem to like performing in unexpected places - betting shop, grocers - this video gives some idea.

The music for their performance at Womadelaide (which was listed as 'roving', so you just had to get lucky to see it) was a medley of cheesy 80's songs and the tracksuits were matching.
This lovely solo was backed by Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'. Of course.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Accordions!! Lots of accordions!

167 p

This is Nano Stern and his band, the Sindicato. He was one of the first artists we sought out, since I had been primed by a Chilean friend, who knows what she is talking about! During the day we attended his workshop session and in the evening his regular set. Which was very worthwhile as each was quite different. In the workshop he played folk songs and answered questions, talking about the different styles, the origins of Latin music, and some of the instruments like the charango, once made from an armadillo shell (now wood but retaining the shape). He had obviously studied and read a lot, and with a natural enthusiasm and charisma he made me want to know more.
In the evening he played more of his own music. Here is a video from that very gig. Just like being there (...just tune out a bit of talking and crowd noise).
147 p
Over the years I have been increasingly drawn the workshop sessions. They can be hit or miss, but often worth checking out because it can be a great chance to get a better insight into unfamiliar artists and styles, particularly those (like Tanya Tagaq last year) who might be a bit less accessible at first listen. I also get the chance to get up close for photos at the workshop, because it's usually on a smaller stage and not too packed.

Next, Toninho Ferragutti & BebĂȘ Kramer, two Brazilian accordionists, each with their own style and speciality... playing together and helping to make this (even on my first day) the most accordion-enriched festival yet. Don't click here if you don't like accordion much! It almost seemed to be a theme this year - we saw and listened to multiple beautiful piano accordions, harmoniums, squeeze boxes in many variations and whatever you like to call them. Doing their squeezing thing celtic, scandinavian, latin and gypsy style. And I always say, the more violins and accordions, the happier I will be! (On the Monday I saw a group with four violins, which just topped off the bliss quotient beautifully).

179 p
I didn't get any closer shots, but in this photo, Tinariwen (minus two band members who were not able to leave Mali) have invited Lo'Jo on stage for a couple of songs. Both of these were groups I was extra keen to see, so to have them play together was super sweet. This writeup of Tinariwen at a New Zealand festival just after Womadelaide captures the atmosphere pretty well, except that it wasn't a sit down show so we could stand and gently rock/bounce to the camel gait beat. It's entrancing.

And this is Eddi Reader. She did sing 'Perfect' (her 80's hit with Fairground Attraction) which was fun, but other songs were much more interesting. I'm now really keen to hear her album of Robert Burns songs. Here she is singing My Love is Like Red Red Rose. And then a more recent performance with the same band she brought to Adelaide.
187 p
Because of a few tangential factors - the book I had just finished, her red hair, talking about her teenage sons - I was reminded of Kirsty MacColl, one of my favourite singers ever, who was killed in a nasty accident many years ago, just as she was really at the height of her career. Eddi was great, but to imagine sitting on the grass at a festival listening to Kirsty sing....that was slightly bittersweet.

Monday, March 19, 2012


square-tile 1
I've taken so many photos of the beautiful flags at Womadelaide before, and posted quite a few of them, so I wanted to try something different for the blog. I started by trying NOT to photograph them and focus on other subjects, but that was hard. So I ended up going in the other direction and grabbing as many as possible, thinking I could use them as raw materials for some more complex compositions.... admittedly this tiled mosaic is not very complex, but it's just a first attempt. I had so much fun cropping interesting squares from the flags that I went on to crop mostly abstract squares out of lots of other photos too.

I was surprised to see it was way back in 2007 that I noticed that there seemed to be a lot more people at Womadelaide. (The first year I went was 2005.) The increased crowding was even more noticeable in the last few years, especially on the Saturdays, when there would tend to be an influx of people just for the day or evening, many drawn by a big popular act such as the Cat Empire or John Butler Trio. And some (not all) of those who are just out for the night, are out for a big, hard-partying night. There would be huge queues for toilets and we'd try to get meals at odd times to avoid queues there too. And as I predicted in 2007, this did detract a little from what I loved about this festival. It was still for the most part a very pleasant, easy, family-friendly experience, but with a lot more crowding and queueing and mess at least some of the time.

This year, however, it was noticeably quieter, which I think can be traced to the lack of a single big - ie reasonably mainstream-popular - act. Sadly, this is likely to be seen as a mark of failure, because ticket sales will have been lower. But it was definitely one of the factors that made it a perfect weekend for me. Along with the weather, of course! And of course the music and the musicians - more on that soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Life moves pretty fast

064 undertrees
Yes, it's that time of year again, and I spent last (long) weekend at Womadelaide. I always have a good time but this was the best in quite a while: the weather was perfect, the music blissful, food excellent. And I can never go wrong with the company.
040 crowd care

Friday, March 02, 2012

More crochet flowers

In a comment on my recent post, Faeryfay suggested I might like her crochet flower pattern.
This suggestion was perfectly timed, as I wanted to make some flowers using acrylic (for reasons I won't go into yet), which isn't likely to block well. And those other flowers really did need blocking.
I like these. I might not be doing it correctly, with those large centre holes, but I can sew them up a little when I weave the ends in.
Plus I can use up some of my extensive stash of pink buttons for the centres. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no idea how I acquired those pink ones. They weren't collected with the rest of my button stash - developed from op shop lots and a few mixed bags bought new - I'm pretty sure these came in one big hit. I do remember being given the container with the big button on top, but it wasn't full of buttons at the time!