For the final day of WOMAD 2012 Paul, Nicole and Aaron took to the festival with gusto - partaking of much Hills Cider, and Coppers and soaking up the joy of sitting in the shade at the Chai Tent and enjoying the wonderful tunes wafting through the park.
The weather turned on a balmy day - and many retreaded to the shady parts of the park to avoid the blistering sun, however despite the harsh rays, many still lined the stages for uplifting world music performances and danced away the afternoon. Reviews by Nicole Russo, photography by Aaron Vinall.
Sporting loin cloths and bucket loads of energy, Narasirato came ready to kick off a closing day party. The ten group members, including instrumentalists and the charismatic group leader and vocalist, pumped the crowd with traditional Solomon Islander music. Passionate indigenous lyrics and energetic, beat driven rhythms kept you groovy along.
The emotional connection these performers have with their music and dance, and the intrinsic link it stills holds at the core of their culture is palpable. Not at all perturbed by the smallish crowd gathered front of stage in the beating sun and heat, they sung and danced as you could imagine they always do, fueled by the sheer joy of it, regardless of who, or how many, are watching.
Performances like Narasirato's are the reason to pack your picnic and head down to Botanic park on a sunny public holiday monday - the chance to see something completely different and experience an unapologetic love for the sharing of music.
Featuring original works and covers of Scandinavian and world fiddle music, Frigg had the modest Speakers Corner stage overflowing into the surrounding shady enclaves. A strictly string-based ensemble of four violins, two guitars and a double bass, they alternately lulled and invigorated us with soothing modern melodies and rocking polka and Celtic-inspired numbers. As an ensemble, they work off each other brilliantly and provided interesting and quirky banter between numbers. A highly popular set with the crowd.
Master Drummers of Burundi
Powerful, heart-thumping drum beats ring out through the afternoon air, drawing people towards the stage like moths to a flame. Many of those previously seated comfortably in the shade rise to their feet and stride eagerly to join the gathering crowd, braving the sun for a closer look. As the drum beats get faster and faster, people began to shuffle, then pick up their feet, unable to resist the primal call of the drummers and their instruments. What an incredibly visceral experience, and it's barely begun.
Watching the Master Drummers of Burundi is like being invited to see a ceremony of ancient tradition. It made you wish to understand the significance of what you were seeing - where are it's origins and what does it mean? While pondering this, you sit with a smile that spreads across your face as you drink in the drummers' dance. Infectious energy. Incredible physicality. They jump high into the sky, laughing and calling in time to the deep, rousing thud of wood on skin.
The Barefoot Review Team
Photography by Aaron Vinall of Vin[Digit]all