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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Groove at WOMAD

The Coffee Bar Kid and DJ Dean had a fantastic time at WOMAD 2009 in New Plymouth. Huge ups to Lauren Clough and Lisa Mullen and all the fantastic people in the Media Centre. We rubbed shoulders with Natasha Atlas, Members of the Jerry Can Band, Anika Moa, Mihirirangi, Shona Laing and Warren Maxwell from little Bushman, amongst many others. We took many photos and you can see those on our flickr site Highlights would be Seun Kuti (son of Fela) who's live energetic show was amazing - the man is tall and dominant on stage - challenging the "rulers" of Africa he communicated with his audience with his funk overdrive. Dean commented that the guitarist was able to maintain the same chord riff for over 20 minutes. Apparently their timing is within 1000th of a Second - It showed. Little Bushman was another highlight, as was meeting Warren Maxwell - whom we interviewed - stayed tuned for details of when that will play. Warren was definitely buzzing after his performance.

If you've never been to the Bowl of Brooklands, you are missing a treat. A natural vocanic bowl, it makes a oerfect ampitheatre, music from the mainstage drifts up through the bowl. We arrived on Friday night and the sounds of an Indian Group was wafting around the setting. The night was very still and the lighting of trees, awnings and the Gables (an old house once used as a hospital) was very pretty, very serene.

The WOMAD venue had 7 stages, all changing each hour. Seun Kuti commented that he'd never performed with a clock on stage. Artists get exactly an hour to play, then in the hour's down time the crew set up for the new show. Meanwhile on another stage, or even two new acts are going on. To cover the possibility of missing an act all artists perform at least twice.

Acts we made sure to catch on the second show were Gurrumal and Dengue Fever. Gurrumal, , Blind from birth, is a very shy yet still charasmatic performer. He was very gentle on stage simply singing and playing with his small band, but clearly in charge.

Dengue Fever are an interesting act, a band fronted by a genuine Cambodian pop star, and 'staffed' by a Sikh, a very tall Afro American, a Moslem (I think) and a Chinese drummer, a truley international band. These guys were certainly an eye opener, as was the film about their trip back to Cambodia and their interest in Cambodian surf music, which played after their show that night.

Other highlights were the Children's Parade. WOMAD has taken care to include children, who were everywhere at this event. There was a large kids area with a zoo, crafts, music and entertainment, plus a project to work towards: the kids parade - all the kids made the banners, floats, signs and all the costumes. Well done to all who participated. And to the Otters in the petting zoo - enjoy the quiet days ahead, it's all over now.

But what isnt over is the interviews and music we brought back. Over the next few weeks the Coffee Bar Kid will bring you sights and Sounds and Musical samples from WOMAD 2009 - checkout Adventures of the Coffee Bar Kid - Thurs 6-8 PM only on Groove 107.7 FM. And now back to the music....

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