Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This hour has gone around

This is Hoot Cardigan by Brenna Kotar.
I absolutely loved making this cardie:
- (Of course) the owl cable
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- and the i-cord cast on - fiddly but worth it
- I did a good bit of the knitting of this over Easter, at the National Folk Festival. Good times!
- I added shaping to the sleeves because I preferred it that way
- I wish I had placed the buttonholes one stitch further in from the edge, I don't think they look right.
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- The wool was lovely to use. I made it in an 8ply, Bendigo Woollen Mills Highlands, instead of the worsted weight it is written for. But a top-down raglan is easy to knit to whatever size you need.
- The wool had no label - it was given to me - and I only worked out after I finished that it had to be hand washed. Normally I would choose machine washable for a baby gift.
- I think I could have made it a little bit longer for this boy. (He started out so small but has grown magnificently.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flags, after all

I've just added a final few more photos from Womadelaide to my Flickr set. There are quite a few additional photos that didn't make it into any of the blog posts (including this one).



Friday, April 06, 2012

The happy place

There are just a few more acts I wanted to show you from last month's Womadelaide festival....
This is Narasirato from the Solomon Islands, an all-panpipes (plus singing and dancing) group. They actually had a much fuller sound than that description might suggest, as some of the big pipes are played as percussion.
I'm pretty sure those are mini panpipes on his headdress.
French group Lo'Jo were at my first Womadelaide in 2005, though they didn't even get a mention in my long, enthusiastic post. I think at the time I found them more low-key and less exciting than my big new infatuation, Les Yeux Noirs. But since then I had listened to a few Lo'Jo songs and was keen to hear more. I really loved them this time and I loved photographing them too.
I even went to their workshop in addition to their evening set, in order to take more photos. It was mid-afternoon and quite a hot day, so the audience were all in the shade. This meant that even though it was a sit-down only gig, there was heaps of space right in front of the stage where I could take photos and not block anyone's view. I got a mild sunburn for my troubles though.
One group we call came home pretty excited about was Frigg, an ensemble of young Finnish and Norwegian folk musicians. Wait, let me show you....
FOUR fiddles! Need I say more?

OK, I am quite easy to please, but not THAT undiscerning - these guys are really good. The CD was hardly out of the player for the last few weeks. Absolutely tickles my brain in the right way. (When it comes to music, I prefer to say that I like something rather than definitively 'It is good and you should think so too' - because music, like all art, speaks to different people on different wavelengths - so what makes my brain feel happy and my feet jiggle just might not work for yours, and it doesn't mean one of us is right or cleverer. Am I stating the obvious?)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Born as a strong man

The Master Drummers of Burundi used to be the official royal drummers who accompanied the kings of Burundi. They were equally entertaining to watch as to listen to. They said that traditionally the drums must take their cues from the dancers, in order to perfectly match their rhythms, and not the other way around. This is counterintuitive to me, but then I have no technical knowledge about either dance or percussion.
This was a workshop, so there was an opportunity for some people from the audience to get up on stage to try the drums. We happened to get up to leave just before the end (there must have been another show we wanted to get to on the other side of the park). As we were walking away the real drummers took the stage again and the sudden change in the noise level was tremendous - they really hit the drums hard compared to the beginners.
Chapelier Fou is a project of Louis Warynski, a classically trained violinist. He uses a combination of loops and samples to build up his music live. Very enjoyable.
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Then there was Kimmo Pohjonen from Finland. I had read an article the week prior about this accordionist who was taking this much-maligned instrument and doing something new and exciting with it. I had mixed feelings about that, as (in case you haven't already picked this up) I LIKE folky accordion the way it is. I also like other harsh or somewhat discordant sounding instruments like bagpipes and harpsichord.
But this was amazing (if not necessarily something I could listen to on CD every day). Like Chapelier Fou, Pohjonen used a lot of looping of the various sounds to build up a rich soundscape. Towards the end of the show he played some pieces which were composed for some kind of event involving (farm?) machinery - according to wikipedia this is Earth Machine Music. It turns out an accordion CAN sound like an engine turning over. At least, a modified and amplified one can.
I had a great time photographing this guy - great costume, lighting and stage presence!
I don't have any good photos of Staff Benda Bilili (Look Beyond Appearances), they were great fun though with their infectious music. These musicians from Kinshasa comprise a bunch of older formerly homeless guys, working with young homeless kids, at least one of whom invented his own instrument. Oh and they get around on modified tricyles (the four original members had polio in childhood). They seem to use more conventional wheelchairs when on tour. Here are a couple of videos - this one was shot in Kinshasa and has a translation of the lyrics, and this one is more upbeat and more likely what I remember from the gig.