The Unofficial Biased Review of WOMADELAIDE 95

Botanic Park, Adelaide, 24 - 26 February 1995

Please note that this is a tongue in cheek review of the music of Womadelaide 95. All opinions are my own and are not designed to cause offence to the artists or any readers. If you do not like these comments then you can always leave this page. If you want to share your displeasure with me then I am happy to listen to your opinions. If you do not like my sense of humour then I apologise for it in advance, but stress that there is no need to take offence. Just leave his page with the impression that I am a savage, bitter, twisted, hard-hearted individual who lives in regret of the fact that he can't sing or play any musical instrument, let alone some of the amazing ones being plucked, blown and beaten at Womadelaide. OK - now that's clear ... read on!

It's raining as I write, which is something the masses prayed for during Womadelaide 95 - the World Of Music And Dance extravaganza in Botanic Park, Adelaide. Friday night to Sunday night, music, dance, food, drink and much much more. The event was well attended and very relaxed and the music lived up to expectations. The weather was the only let down, as it soared to 40 degrees on Saturday. But the crowd clustered under leafy trees, slapped on the sunblock and endured the afternoon before a wonderful warm evening of groovy rhythms. Anyway, enough prattle - here is the guide to who to avoid and who to crawl on hands and knees to see live in concert....

Following the technique of a Mr Bean character that I sat behind in the Tent on Sunday afternoon, I will rate the acts out of six (6 is yes.. get crawling.. and zero is... not as good as six).

SIERRA MAESTRA : Cuban bonga bonga ole yawn band.. tedious.. (1)

VIKA+LINDA : Ozzie poppie liked a lottie.. Good, if not exactly ethnic.. (5)

SILVANJE : Australian bunch of oddballs.. five souls five continents. Saw them at the smallest stage (the Tent) and thought they were terrific in an I'mnotbuyingyourCDbutyouweregreatlive type way.. (4.882)

LENINGRAD COWBOYS : Finnish losers who think having a silly hairdo and doing bad cover versions is a great act. As with anyone such described as a "cult band", they are best avoided unless you are pissed (then I'm sure they would be 6) .. (0)

UTUNGAN PERCUSSION : No idea..I missed them .. better give them about 3

ARCHIE + RUBY : Well I AM an Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter fan I have to confess. Despite someone's accusations that they are Aboriginals who got lost on the way to Nashville, I have to say that despite the technical problems with their set, they were a solid 6. But then again, I marked them before they cam on stage.. (6)

THE CRUEL SEA : How a band that are so good in my living room were so bad when I shared them with several thousand others remains a mystery. They were soulless on stage and they need a lead singer badly. Cruel in more than name .. (2)

GEOFFREY ORYEMA : Mmmmm... Geoffrey... Mmmmm... Sensational musician from Uganda who plays alongside a French guitarist and raunchy backing band and is fairly unclassifiable. Great sound, atmospheric, funky, sexy, just brilliant.. (7)

NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN: ("Muskrat Fatty") A big Pakistani with an all male entourage. Chanting..great voice but rather sleep enducing. I fell asleep for 10 minutes on Friday night and 45 minutes on Saturday night.. so he must have improved. Over-hyped as the star of the weekend..(2.5)

MOUTH MUSIC : Partisan influences apart, this Scottish 5 piece band are unlike anything you'll ever hear. They are pure dead brilliant and strangely just right for a 40 degree day... (5.5)

CHRISTINE ANU : I am sorry to be politically incorrect, but I did not like her music or her stage show and I got into lots of trouble in the original version for comparing her with Kylie Minogue, which is quite unfair and harsh and thoughtless etc etc. So let me say that I respect her greatly, but unfortunately did not enjoy her performance at Womadelaide 95. (1.5)

PAPA WEMBA : Pretty boring, but listenable to funky somethingarother music. Left almost no impression except for his very smart jacket.. (2.5) (A favourite with the Peregrine Falcon who got so turned on by the dancers that it tried to catch a whole flock of Galahs above the crowd..much more entertaining than the stage)

GIL SCOTT-HERON : Sensational legendary performer, if you like that kind of thing... but I don't. Called the Father of Rap (which leaves him rather a lot to answer for..).. (3.5)

ALT : Andy White, Liam from Hothouse Flowers and Tim Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House). Great! Tim Finn looked like a drugged out surfy, and Andy White had clearly lost his baggage in the flight, but they were great! Liam is much more talented than all that pushing left hand through his hair while his right hand raced the keyboards for HHFL suggested..(5.49)

JAH WOBBLE'S THE INVADERS OF THE HEART : 2 for the name, 1 for the first two minutes of each song and 0.2 for the rest.. could be worse..(3.2)

SUNRIZE BAND : Aboriginal rocky nonsense.. (1)

THE BORDERERS : Heritage starved ex-pat Celts who felt the need to wear kilts and write songs about Belfast. Take it or leave it folky rock but nothing to crawl about ..(2)

MUTTON BIRDS : Not worth flocking in tens of thousands and migrating across the planet for.. but they were ok.. kiwis (silly accents etc).. (3.1)

JUSTIN VALI TRIO : Yes Sir! Big Smiles, Madagascar at its finest and a nicer Justin Vali Trio you will never meet. I shared an intimate session with them in the tent - great patter and instruments made from bike brake cables. Crawl..crawl.. (5.5) (the Peregrine also allegedly liked Justin Vali)

TIDDAS : Missed them in concert, but I did see them on the steps of Parliament House during a "No Woodchips" demonstration on Sunday morning. On a sample size of two of the songs that they always play, they were in form as usual.. (4)

HUKWE ZAWOSE : Even bigger smiles and even bigger ostrich feathers than any other act. From Tanzania, but looked a little bit lost on the big stage, A big voice and his name etched on all his instruments in crayon, which is very wise given my brother's experiences in that part of Africa. Good stuff.. (4.7)

SALAMEH+SRIDAR : Quiet zangy Indian classical stuff. Not the right venue for them..but I like this kind of thing, so I'll give them..(4.1)

STELLA CHIWESHE : Insane Zimbabwean. Loon.. mad.. scary.. bizarre.. and the second largest ostrich feathers of the weekend. Go see and hear one of life's great philosophers.. (5.8)

KATE CEBERANO : Elevator music at its finest. Squeaky clean act which is best described as funky piano bar stuff. She loves her audience and tells them far too often. Bit dull, but I am happy to sway around on a balmy tonight as the lift ascends and descends the building. Good on the night.. (4)

and finally..

ZAP MAMA : Absolutely brilliant five piece capella band. Really innovative with a lively and comic stage act as well as an incredible vocal repertoire. If you find capella music boring then Zap Mama will convert you. What other band do tropical rainforests and broken down cars..come on..I challenge you! From Zaire and Belgium (where else). Zap Mama were the weekend stars and I reckon you should be prepared to wear through several sets of trousers getting to see them live.. (N, a large positive integer).

OK - that killed most my lunch hour... All marks are quite liable to alter retrospectively as the good bands get better and the Leningrad Cowboys get worse in my memory. All bands omitted from this list get 3, the Felafel Roll from Quiet Waters gets 4, the beer tent gets 4.5, the Mexican Burrito gets 5 and the whole weekend scores a solid 6.

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