Toni Childs, WOMADelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Australia’s WOMAD world music festival is bigger and better than ever this year.
By Katrina Lobley
Published: 9 March, 2017
This weekend, from Friday 10 March to Monday 13 March, the Australian version of rock legend Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD festival (World of Music, Arts and Dance) will once again take place in the city of Adelaide.
WOMADelaide, as it's known, sees a thrilling mix of Australian, Aboriginal and world music artists perform at Adelaide’s centrally located Botanic Park. That's not all that's happening this month: locals call this time of year Mad March, as several giant events – including Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Writers' Week – take over the city. This year, WOMADelaide also celebrates 25 years, which means the party atmosphere in the streets is going to be bigger and better than ever. Here’s our pick of WOMADelaide's highlights.
Say om: Toni Childs leads a yoga session
Charismatic American singer-songwriter Toni Childs, who had massive hits in the 1980s and ’90s with songs such as Stop Your Fussin’ and Many Rivers to Cross, is these days an adopted Australian, with a base on the North Coast of New South Wales. Following her Saturday afternoon gig at WOMADelaide, Childs will return to the park on Sunday morning to lead a yoga session. Strange but true.
Hear the voices of Indigenous Australia
Quietly spoken singer-songwriter Archie Roach lets his powerful words and music do the talking. “Uncle Archie” is considered the voice of Aboriginal Australia and performed at the first WOMADelaide in 1992. Hear his poignant songs, which speak of love and loss, community and country, at his Sunday afternoon appearance. He will also be in conversation at the Speakers’ Corner on Monday night, just after powerhouse Aboriginal hip-hop duo AB Original bring their set to a close.
One man and a guitar string
This may be the most minimalist act at WOMADelaide this year. Jamaican soul man Brushy One String works magic with a single guitar string, percussive taps and knocks on the guitar body, and an astonishingly warm and gritty voice. As a youngster, he strummed the guitar so hard that he broke its strings. But things turned around for Brushy when he followed through on a dream in which he played a one-string guitar. The international touring sensation will play three sets at the festival, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
The New Orleans sound comes to town
Things haven’t been easy for The Hot 8 Brass Band. The New Orleans outfit has had to deal with not only the displacement of Hurricane Katrina but the sad deaths of several band members. Nevertheless, the band has forged ahead, playing gigs, community parades, jazz funerals and street parties while adding its own joyful spin to traditional marching band jazz, and you can experience the band's admirable zest for life on Friday night and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Shake it to a Latin beat
Feel a whole lot of South American passion when Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro, an avant-garde 12-piece tango orchestra from Argentina, hit the stage on Friday and Monday to squeeze a few bandoneons in ways you’ve never seen before. Things will be more laid-back, but no less riveting, when Brazilian superstar Bebel Gilberto puts the boss into bossa nova on Saturday and Sunday nights.
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