Thursday, March 22, 2012
Accordions!! Lots of accordions!
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).
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 & Bebê 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).
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.
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.