Day Two of WOMADelaide 2016 provided perfect festival weather: pleasantly warm with good cloud coverage. Alsarah & the Nubitones kicked off on Stage 2 with hypnotic beats and sweet melodic hooks, while the opening act on the Foundation Stage, The Spooky Men’s Chorale, delivered a cappella tunes with some terrific harmonies and a great sense of humour.
Calexico showed why they are WOMAD favourites back on Stage 2; their high energy blend of indie rock and Mexican rhythms worked wonders with the audience who grooved away in the afternoon warmth. With well-constructed songs, they also fire off some fantastic solos, particularly from the telecaster and the trumpet. Catch them again this evening on the main stage.
Adelaide group Wasted Wanderers drew a crowd to the Zoo Stage and, being one of the smaller stages at the festival, this suited the WOMADelaide newcomers. Keen to dance, the audience were treated to a diverse set list of blues, Jeff Buckley-esque crooning and, as front man Dusty Stephensen described it, some ‘Adelaide honky tonk’. A tight seven-piece band, Wasted Wanderers are talented musicians, with backing singers Sophie and Brittany McKay providing some flawless harmonies.
Twin daughters of the late Angà Diaz (Buena Vista Social Club) Naomi and Lisa-Kainde are Ibeyi, who played a 5pm set at Stage 3. It’s hard to believe it is only two of them, the way their piercing harmonies, electronic tunes and unique percussion filled the park. At only 20 years old, the French-Cuban sisters who celebrate their Yoruba heritage through their music have a long career and successful ahead of them.
At the Zoo Stage at 6pm the TEK TEK Ensemble started with a seated crowd who soon got to their feet to dance to their party rhythms. The instrumental, world music version of Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Stole The World’ was a highlight of the set.
Melbourne singer / songwriter outfit Husky were up on Stage 3 at 7pm; the sweet harmonies and polished songs went down well with the crowd and showed that they are an act to watch.
Meanwhile 47SOUL on Stage 2 delivered a high octane performance that blended hip hop with middle-eastern rhythms. It was a very engaging show, packed with grooves and audience interaction.
Mojo Juju may be small of stature but her soul blues music filled the stage, with support from a tight ensemble that included some cool baritone sax. Unfortunately the sound at the Zoo Stage has been a bit of an ongoing problem, and this was most notable during the Mojo Juju set; the overall volume was just too low, from the back of the audience (it might have just been a CD playing), and song introductions were completely lost.
Meanwhile on the main stage, Indian superstar Asha Bhosle delivered a WOMAD set of a different kind to a seated crowd. The serene performance showcased Bhosle’s incredible vocal range that has featured in countless Bollywood films. The Australia Dance Theatre also gave a seated performance on Stage 2, with some amazing and hypnotic movements, backed by a string quartet.
Sampa the Great lived up to her name on the Novatech stage. The rapper had a full band and three backing vocalists, who worked beautifully together with seamless melodies and infectious beats – they were clearly having as much fun as the audience. Sampa oozes cool. She is an excellent lyricist, a natural performer and an impeccable rapper – she even raps in tune with the backing vocalists, creating some great four part harmonies. The Novatech stage was the perfect pseudo outdoor night club and Sampa had everyone up dancing and cheering.
The evening concluded with two great options. At the Zoo Stage All Our Exes Live In Texas backed up their Friday night show with an equally magical set. Such fantastic songwriters, we are certainly looking forward to the release of their debut album. As with other performances at that stage, however, the sound did need to be louder (we even missed their opening banter as the microphones were inexplicably turned off when they got on stage).
At the main stage De La Soul provided an energetic end to the night. Backed by a talented band, the act really know how to engage a crowd with lots of audience interaction and a fantastic musical legacy to rely on. Their extended version of ‘Ring Ring’ to conclude the set proved a fantastic finale.
Another magical day at WOMADelaide and we are still only half way through the festival!
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor, Libby Parker and Alyssa Morran; pictures by Alyssa Morran.