Monday, March 30, 2015

Yoga on the grass, bats in the daytime, bluegrass antics

We started our Saturday with a yoga class - my first time ever.  I think these sessions have been part of the festival for years, but it took being with a friend who loves yoga to convince me to give it a go. I've done lots of stretching classes that draw on some yoga poses so it wasn't totally unfamiliar territory. I gather it was also a pretty easy class, which makes sense given the setting. We didn't have mats but it was quite nice just on the grass, under the huge Moreton Bay Figs.

Emma Swift singing, Robyn Hitchcock playing guitar and singing

Emma Swift and Robyn Hitchcock sang lots of sad songs together. Somewhat of an 'odd couple' on paper (British psych-folk meets young Americana).. and they sounded great. This year each show at 'Speakers Corner' during the daylight hours was punctuated by the sound of a large colony of bats having their sleep disrupted, right above the stage. I felt bad for them and hope they were able to recover their normal sleeping habits after the four days of the festival.

All four members of 'Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys,' gathered close and playing drum, double bass, violin and guitar
Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys, a bluegrass group from Prince Edward Island, Canada. (Most famous, at least to me, as the home of Anne of Green Gables). These guys were high energy bluegrass players - can't go far wrong there - plus Gordie had some sweet 'rubbery legs' dance moves. Overall they were super fun to photograph as well as to listen to. At the end of the show I came back from the dusty, stomping, dancing front part of the crowd to where my friends were further back - and found a certain someone asleep in her chair! I'm a pretty good sleeper, but still have no idea how that could happen.

Gordie MacKeeman plays violin holding it behind his back.

One thing I missed with the camera, possibly I was too busy gasping, was when the bass dramatically *broke* during the very entertaining 'two guys play one instrument' bit (I've seen this done occasionally before, not with a double bass, though it's an obvious contender, being kinda big.) SO, suddenly, the tailpiece just flew away and was dangling off the end of the strings. The other two hastily picked a new song to play, just on violin and guitar, while the two bass players hustled off to the side of the very small stage. And in a very short time they returned with the very same instrument apparently as good as new, and the band picked up more or less where they had left off with the previous piece - yes, with the two playing the bass together again.

Two musicians both playing the double bass at the same time

And then the bass was further abused for our amusement!

Gordie plays violin while standing on top of the double bass, tipped on its side and supported by the musician playing it.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Womadelaide 2015: it's not over til it's blogged!

It's nearly April, very nearly Easter and time for the National Folk Festival - but first, a bit of time to remember Womadelaide 2015, early March, and the tenth time I have been to this wonderful festival.
So, a few pictures from Friday night:
The photo shows Margaret Leng Tan kneeling at her toy piano and brandishing two children's toys (perhaps hammers or rattles), one with a smiley face on it.
Margaret Leng Tan is described as avant garde. The toy pianos were interesting enough, but I admit I didn't get very engaged in the show until the final five minutes or so, when she performed (with an amusing introduction) a super-short take on Wagner's Ring cycle.

Distant shot of Margaret Leng Tan on stage, kneeling with her back facing the audience, wearing a novelty horned helmet to play her short version of Wagner's Ring cycle.

The members of Fanfare Ciocarlia, most playing brass instruments, bathed in bright colourful stage light.

Fanfare Ciocarlia is a high-energy Romanian gypsy group. The blurb said though they tour the world regularly, they remain in high demand for weddings in their home town.  Definitely would make for a fun wedding party.

A closer shot of some of the members of Fanfare Ciocarlia while playing.

And finally, Mr Rufus Wainwright. One of those artists I have always intended to give some time to (Martha also) but it hadn't happened yet. I wasn't going to miss this opportunity for a live introduction, and I am so glad!

Rufus Wainwright singing and playing guitar

When he spoke, he was a little hyper, on edge, at first maybe a bit focused on the idea of 'world music' (and reading between the lines, questioning did he fit as part of that scene?) Then as soon as he stopped speaking and started playing and singing, he was so assured and confident. Such an interesting transformation to observe. Obviously a very experienced and assured performer.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show, which included his sister Lucy Wainwright Roche for a few songs (including Hallelujah). Not being familiar with his voice (I know, I know!) I was reminded early on of another Canadian singer, Ron Sexsmith; but also caught a bit of the Elton John thing as well.

Rufus Wainwright playing guitar and singing