Womad -World Music Festival

Womadelaide Feb 19-21 1999

If you've read my write up on Laura Aboriginal Dance & Cultural Festival up the top end of the country, you may recall the overlaid story of meeting up with a didg maker brother "Munga",who 4Wheeled us up to the fest.

Well this time the tables were turned. Munga had been coincidently cruising down from Cairns to catch up with family and friends including a didg link up at my place . A lot of Munga's didgs are now on our site . Anyway the idea didn't take long to surface. He's lady and son stayed with family near Sydney coincedently right near where I had to see someone; and he jumped in my 4Wheeler on a 5800 km trip. First night saw us sleeping in a park by the waters edge in Sydney Harbour with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in our sites.

Just because we're in a city; isn't going to stop us doing it our normal way,under the stars.Woke up to the harbour life and cruised a km away to have brecky on the old Manly Ferry, now a friends home just across from the bridge and the Sydney Opera House.This trip was starting of in fine form. Macs is our friends name. A nomad photographer who lived on an aboriginal community for 4 years in W.A. Now sells some amazing photo prints (look out for them on our site) with royalties going back to the tribe over there.Whilst the old ferry swayed to the wakes of all the modern ferries taking the suits of to work ,cuppas and good chat were had , watching the day come to life. As nice an experience of a city it was , the open space beckoned so we did our business with Mac and hit the road. A handfull of didgs dropped at the freighters to fly to Texas and Canada and we were out of the big smoke.

So over to Adelaide heading through as much dry country as we could take in.And of course some bush time along the way,with a couple of special didgs found.

In Adelaide we were put up by new didg friends Tony & Elle who made it an easy glide into Womadelaide mode . Good fun was had by the four of us as we became a team for the weekend.

Classic World Music festivals like Womad and Global Carnival are a must to experience if you havn't. They give one a feel for a vibrant world celebrating cultural diversity and in enjoyment of sharing ones gifts with others. The Global Village feel from the bouncing rythyms to the dancing feet to the market place with instruments , handcrafts ,and good food, give an experience that feels old and yet new.Its definately comfortable and easy to feel at home. My only criticism of Womadelaide is that unlike Global Carnival you dont get to camp onsite and fully ground into that village feel. But dont let that steer you from going to Womad .Its big and alive and the village is big .Its Adelaide,so you'll stretch into taking in a special city that loves festivals and the arts.

So despite Womad being set in an enclosed area in the Botanical Gardens there was a spill out of festivities and music into the city late into the wee hours.On the Saturday night after closing at Womad ,Munga and I got along to check GangaGiri the didg player from Adelaide based World Music band ,Dya Singh. Some great driving didg dance music.He played a couple of nights in Adelaide night clubs during the weekend with musos joining from the Womad entourage.

Munga's best didg was snatched up by Ganga,an amazing A- High didg ,going from 40mm diameter at the top to150mm roughly at the bottom,with the most intricate dot work.Amazing didg. If he didn't get it I would have.I was getting attached to it .My highest personal didg is a G and its a big hole and a workout to play. The tight flaring hole of the A played with intent was incredible. It took me on a journey like I hadn't experienced in a time .A door opened and away I went . Explosive and responsive.

Indigenous Australian acts included, the Mornington Island Dancers,Bangarra Dance Theatre and the didgeridoo was heard coming out of at least two other acts,including an Irish World Music Band "Kila",who had the mobs raging.Other impressive overseas acts included Baaba Maal,on the cutting edge of Afro/western fusion,Drummers of Burundi who were simply a blowout.The program sais "simply the most sensational drummers on the earth".I'm not disagreeing.
Ernest Raglin ,who taught Bob Marley the guitar ,Men at Work for some Aussie rock,Trilok Gurtu and the Glimpse from India were some of the other highlights that kept being raved about.

I didn't get away from the stall that much,but enough to catch sections of acts and with Stage 2 within sight and ear we breathed it.

Munga without fam. and a stall that he had to cover,let loose in full dance and party mode and pretty well went around the clock. Apart form our shared time on the stall, and a couple of special jamms, rumour has it he was either up trees, dancing like a leprecaun or searching out the late night gigs on the streets of Adelaide ,putting his head down wherever he landed in the wee hours. In an elated state after hearing one Indian band he was heard to say "Now I believe in Reincarnation" as the rythym of the tablos resounded in his heart and hands.

Bed at 1.30,3.00 and 4.30 A.M ,after heaps of kms and being energised by great music ,leads to somewhat of a come down on the Monday.Thats an understatment ! Back at Tony and Elles comfy place gave us some needed zzzzzz's and mello time before being bound bushwood,I mean bushward.Another good stint of sun and star time before hitting City No.3-Melbourne then home. Many steps many tales many k's all in 3 weeks. I needed a holiday when I got home.

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