WOMAD2017 - Monday Wrap

Here's our final WOMADelaide 2017 daily highlights.

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[pictured: Inna Modja]

WOMAD Day 4 saved some of the best for last.

'It's much easier to dance to Turkish music than to learn Turkish' was the message of BaBa ZuLa, who spoke about how language sets up barriers that music can pierce:

Language is the enemy, music is our answer.

The conscious tunes continued with a set from Malian activist and artist Inna Modja.

Meanwhile, repeat sets from Canada's The East Pointers and energetic Colombian 'break salsa orchestra' La Mambanegra kept the fatigued Monday crowd on their dancing feet.

[pictured: The East Pointers, Le Mambanegra]

Later, '70s brit ska outfit The Specials tore it up on centre stage. The 10-man act laughed and bantered through the first couple of songs, getting a sense of the mood, and taking a moment to call out Donald Trump:

Does anyone want a US passport?

36 years after topping the UK singles charts, 'Ghost Town' proved particularly popular.

[pictured: Lynval Golding of The Specials]

But really, the focus of this review has to be A.B. Original. Holy hell, man.

[pictured: Briggs and Trials of A.B. Original]

The hour began with welcome to country [header pic] and an explicit content warning:

These are strong words for weak times.

Briggs and Trials didn't shy away from heavy tracks, with a song about meth following another about deaths in custody. "It's important to have the conversations that make you uncomfortable," said Briggs. (And truly, it was quite uncomfortable to be surrounded by young white people shouting 'too black, too strong'. But I took something from that too.)

They introduced a progression of "mates", starting with Brooklyn turntablist DJ Total Eclipse ("an actual pioneer of turntabling, not like one of those 'pioneers' that just rocked up and took all the credit"). Adelaide act SIXFOUR (brothers John and Paul Bartlett, who played WOMAD back in '08 as part of Lowrider) and Caiti Baker (who played on Friday night at the Zoo Stage) joined for a string of more upbeat numbers.

These included 'Sorry', which they performed live for the first time. This was a particular treat - the album version doesn't nearly do justice to the rawness with which Baker performs it live.

Finally, the time came for their grand finale - and who better to join them than Dan Sultan (a former WOMADelaidean in his own right, having performed with his seven-piece band back in '09).

With Sultan on guitar, they covered Paul Kelly's 'Dumb Things' (as per their triple j Like a Version with the man himself), before Sultan joined them on the mic for 'January 26'.


And so, to the moral of the story.

Let's all take a deep, dusty, glittery breath. Breathe in that WOMAD love of the Different and the Kooky and the outright Strange — let it settle in, coat your sinuses. And try to maybe sometimes kinda remember that diversity isn't even rubbish.

Hearing a more representative account of the world's songs won't solve all the world's problems, but it gives us a starting point: a greater understanding of the world we live in.

So happy birthday WOMAD! Congrats on the 90,000+ crowd. Here's to another 25 years.



Images by Jen St Jack, words by Justin McArthur.

Missed any of our coverage? Check it out here.