29 July 2013

flying the flag

WOMAD festival, day three

What a day - a fantastic way to end three days of amazing music at Womad. Despite the rain on Saturday, the site had pretty much dried out by the time we arrived at midday on Sunday. On the drive in, we had circled nearly every band on the day's line-up and knew it was going to be a "run here there and everywhere" type situation. Plus, Ellie and I wanted to do a little browse of the stalls (always amazing, selling beautiful wares from all over the world) and oh - eat too. I have never packed in so much in one day but it was fun! We saw various performances from Japan to Reunion to Brazil, ate some delicious falafel & jerk chicken and bought some last minute goodies (I'm going to make a separate post about the last two topics because music comes first in this one!).

If you've seen my last two posts from Womad (day one & day two), then you'll know what's coming up. If not, then please check them out :D To keep you all in the same loop though: I've decided to take the traditional Malagasy cloth called a lambaoany and wear it in three different ways over the Womad weekend. Day one's style was as a top, day two's style was as a dress, and Sunday's style is: as a skirt or some might even say sarong. Oddly enough, this look made me feel the girliest and gave me the most island-feel of all the looks I tried out. I paired it with a crop trop, leggings underneath (because we didn't have island weather!) and again my favourite run around trainers (to be replaced by wellies later in the evening due to rain warnings). It's been a great three days sporting the lambaony - I definitely felt like I flew the flag for all Indian Ocean islanders and am looking forward to doing it again :)

Thank you for a great weekend WOMAD!

wearing | lambaoany as a skirt / sarong (present from Madagascar), underneath: black cut-out leggings (present from mum), black crop top (+H&M), belt (+Topshop), yellow +Converse trainers / black wellies, patchwork jacket (present from Madagascar)

for both Ellie and I - first x2 photos are "by day" and second x2 photos are "by evening"

photos above by Ellie and below by me

THE MUSIC: what we watched & what we thought

1 - 2pm (last half), Open Air stage: La Chiva Gantiva (Colombia/Belgium), "A-grade Latin funk... from Brussels"
Cathia thought: My ever so charming Real Sausage stall employee really didn't like these guys but I actually enjoyed the energetic sounds of La Chiva Gantiva and everybody watching was clearly enjoying it as there was jumping en masse! No photos so check out their video for a feel because I think you'll agree that they are a fun bunch.
Ellie agrees :)

(Lack of photos equals) A taster via YouTube: "Pelao" by La Chiva Gantiva

2 - 3pm (first half), Siam stage: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Italy), "Steamy hot pizzica to go!"
Cathia thought: This group are an impressive and very talented set of musicians. I was in awe straight from the get-go both at their skills and consistent level of high energy. Although I really enjoyed what we saw, I actually walked away thinking I would probably prefer to see Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino in a more intimate venue - so maybe my next stop: Italy?
Ellie thought: This band's intensity was captivating but perhaps would have been more suited for an evening slot. The tambourinist was spectacular - I hadn't really considered the skill it took to play one before now.

2 - 3pm (last half), Charlie Gillett stage: The Bombay Royale (India/Australia), "Bollywood goes Tarantino..."
Cathia thought: At this point, Ellie and I had got distracted by henna before we even got to the stage but from what I heard the sounds were very Bollywood and fun! This group is meant to have some amazing costumes and stage presence too so it was a shame we both have the attention span of a one year old :)
Ellie thought: Smooth sounds but more traditional than I'd expected. They had a great vibe nonetheless and it was very appropriate to have in the background whilst having our henna done!

(Lack of photos equals) A taster via YouTube: "You Me Bullets Love" by The Bombay Royale

3 - 4pm, Open Air stage: Gocoo (Japan), "Tokyo's self-proclaimed *tribal groove orchestra*"
Cathia thought: What an amazing bunch of women. I would say that this is not for the faint hearted as it's very loud but I really enjoyed the drum rhythms of these fierce sounding and musically fantastic taiko drummers. Go girls!
Ellie thought: The women were tiny but powerful to the extreme. The whole crowd got caught up in the resonating beats that seemed to hypnotise.

4 - 5pm, Charlie Gillett stage: Christine Salem (Réunion), "Maloya's most strident female voice"
Cathia thought: I was recommended to watch Christine Salem by my dad because being an island girl means island sounds from the Indian Ocean seem to always resonate with me. It was a great recommendation too because I could not stop dancing and felt like I had been transported back to the beautiful Réunion island.
Ellie thought: The constant threat of rain did not dampen this performance. The trio were very engaged with the audience in a way that was rather intimate which really drew in the listeners.

5 - 6pm (first half), Open Air stage: Asif Ali Khan (Pakistan), "Sufi devotional music of the highest order"
Cathia thought: I have always found Sufi music very calming and have fond memories of listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (who incidentally mentored Asif Ali Khan) growing up. I am a relatively spiritual person and there is something about the rhythm and sound of Sufi music that just takes you to higher place - a feeling I can only describe as similar to meditation. I'm sure his mentor would be proud as Asif Ali Khan's performance was nothing short of beautiful.
Ellie thought: This group delivered a surprisingly modern performance mixing the very traditional devotion with accessible modern sounds. I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would!

7.15 - 8.30pm, Open Air stage: Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), "The best new band from Zimbabwe in years"
Cathia thought: The programme tagline said it all - Mokoomba really are the best new band from Zimbabwe and such a treat to watch. Powerful voices, captivating rhythms and the best dance moves I have seen in a long while. I would definitely say go and watch them if you get the chance - I will be very surprised if they don't have you smiling and dancing away in seconds too!
Ellie thought: This is truly a group of born entertainers. Their enthusiasm was infectious and the whole crowd danced along with them, particularly the bassist and guitarist whose interaction was playful as well as highly skilled. Anyone who can guitar solo while doing a dance routine is amaze.

9.30 - 11pm, Open Air stage: Gilberto Gil (Brazil), "The Pelé of Brazilian song"
Cathia thought: When I think of Brazilian music, I immediately conjure up happy faces and catchy beats that I can groove to. Gilberto Gil and his group definitely delivered this and there was no doubt that this talented, young-at-heart veteran has a strong following (and rightly so). However, if I compared Mokoomba's performance to his, I felt it was less raw which almost made the experience more concert than festival.
Ellie thought: Whilst I definitely enjoyed this performance I would agree with Cathia's comments. I felt more like a spectator here than with any of the other artists. His professionalism gave us laughs as well as tunes to move to, he really is a rocking septuagenarian.

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