Late night impromptu street jams make this festival a magical place
The song cycle began in the early hours of Monday morning in front of the Adelaide Hilton’s front steps on an otherwise deserted street.
It was a big WOMADelaide Sunday afternoon of West African rhythm harps, dub sirens and desert wind synth trails courtesy of Julian Belbachir and friends. It was electrified by Fantastic Negrito’s hill-country stomping and delta-groove blues with added layers of anthems and funk, and spurred on by 14-piece Ondatropica, whose one-show-only late-night set was hot salsa, Cumbia, Afrobeat, Reggae, and Latin Jazz Brass.
The crowd, mingling along the walkway outside the hotel’s portico, swelled with each incoming shuttle bus of musicians, managers and organizers buzzing over a set they had delivered or seen, high from the day with other artists behind the Stage.
At the edge of the stairs, Nidia Góngora began to sing a Colombian folk song a cappella that left the crowd of performers speechless. It began plaintively and escalated to an encouraged call and response. A circle formed, clapping their hands, stamping their feet on concrete paths or stairs, or banging on the masonry of the colonnade in a steady beat. The song circled, rolled, was answered with ecstatic roars. Then someone brought out a Brazilian tamborim drum.
Artists in the hotel rooms above rode the elevators down. More folkloric songs from other corners of the world poured in. Cultural songs of longing, despair and sad beauty; old songs of loss, dignity and triumph; performed at the top of the lungs.
When the hotel concierge came out and asked for the impromptu concert to end, the meeting moved to the street. First next to a bench, then in a nearby strip of parking, and finally at the empty roadside, where Góngora now began to play the steel pole of a street lamp masterfully with a set of wooden drumsticks.
Players spontaneously joined their pole percussion section. A cowbell revealed itself. A squeeze box entered, then a clarinet and tenor saxophone from the German techno marching band MEUTE. A Romany violin burst in next, played by virtuoso Gheorghe “Caliu” Anghel. His bow swept across the catgut, the fast riffs snaking off his shoulder into the thin morning air.
https://www.smh.com.au/culture/music/at-this-festival-the-real-party-starts-when-the-punters-go-home-20230315-p5cs63.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture Late night impromptu street jams make this festival a magical place