Published: March 9th 2013March 9th 2013
well time for a Womad update on evening of day 2.
It started yesterday Friday but being a business day not until 6pm or so. There was a fairly long queue to get in with bag check etc. So my first musical experience was The Tallest Man on Earth, the somewhat confusingly named Swedish solo guy Kristian Mattson, mostly cos this was his only show. He maybe is going to Port Fairy folk fest which is very soon. Comparisons to Dylan as just one man and guitar, and he does sing in English natch but nothing too exciting or attractive.
However the next thing was Big - Malian Basseyou Kouyate & Ngoni Bar. With his 2 sons and a cousin also on the ngoni - fretless Malian lute I guess - he is a master and even uses wah wah and effects to take it where it has never been, to say the least. Very well worthwhile.
Then a complete contrats and almost indescribable as it is mostly completely visual. The Compagnie Luc Amoros from France. On 3 levels of 3 perspex panels on each level 6 people use paint rollers and scrapers to cover the 9 panels in paint then extract certain details by scraping etc so that an image finally appears. The sheets are then torn down and screwed up and cast to the ground. On a side platform Pierre from Strasbourg plays very good double and electric bass, so there is very good musical accompaniment. Rather wonderful.
The the somewhat hyped Cat Empire who I thought were relatively ordinary and somewhat predictable - without sounding like a snob maybe why they are so popular? For me underwhelming, as I had never or heard them before.
The last show was the very meditative Alim Qasimov ensemble - he is an Azerbaijani master singer and somewhat like the qawwali style of the late Nusraat Fateh Ali Khan who I saw at the very first Womad 20 years ago in 1993. Their style is mugham which is almost sufi-style singing/poetry in a tradition which is older than Christianity. That finished at 1am. By the time I went to bed in my semi-squalid 8 bed boys dorm in the Blue Galah hostel it was 2.30am.
So Sat did not start too early. I had hoped to see Marie Boine, a Norwegian singer, but dawdled. Lau are supposedly the biggest Scottish folk trio of the mo but sound not very strong where I was and made no great impression. Then a very big (10 piece brass etc) Colombian outfit called LA-33 who I mostly listened from afar.
However the next band Moriarty (are they Goons fans?) are from Paris but members are from all ovef - Peru, US etc. The female singer was very good - from trad English folk of the opener Matty Groves with the next being a dirty blues. Their music is a bit like a blender really. Very versatile indeed.
Then even better - Vieux Farka Toure - the Hendrix of the Sahara etc indeed. Doing the power trio style of bass and drums (2 white guys) but in the churning John Lee Hooker style etc. A master class indeed and the best performance yet I think.
Antibalas (Spanish for bullet proof) a 10 piece from Brooklyn followed. This was my dinner break mostly listened to while I was eating a nice Cajun style Jambalaya (missed out on their food last time as sold out - too many Indian food stalls in my view).
Local band Clairy Brown and the Swingin' Rackettes (all girls and in black outfits with swinging gold tassles) with a band of sax etc was very rock 'n'roll vaudeville sorta.
Then Hugh Masekela with band who was only playing here once. I was a bit tired for this and was listening while typing this.
So that's it for Day 2 folks. It was still 31-32 today and may be 36 in a couple of days so will try and stay inside somewhere cool for that one!
(sorry no visuals as too much of a technical challenge - can easily type with 2 fingers on tablet keyboard but bearable snaps is something else to combine).