The (not so) calm before the Storm.

I attended the later part of the WOMAD@Campus yesterday. It’s basically a fringe event of WOMAD at NUS, where they have a preview of some of the highlight artists of that year with small gigs or workshops. Mostly lasting ~30mins.

Oh, and its FREE!

I has to rush there after a Toastmasters meeting, so I could only catch the last 2hrs of it. I bumped into a friend who was on her way out and she told me that I had missed the best part of that evening, the gig by shooglenifty. Damn…

Reaching UCC at ~9 I managed to catch last 3 gigs there. Here is the review.

Etran Finatawa (Niger) featuring NUS Chinese Orchestra.

This seemed promising. Fusion and jams are always the best part of WOMAD. But it was a complete let down. The Nigern group had interesting sound, but both their tunes were very similar, and it got boring pretty soon. The mixing was done badly, and it was not possible to distinguish the various instruments. The song led by the Chinese orchestra was the only listenable one of the lot.

Muntu Valdo (Cameroon)

After last year’s WOMAD, one man bands seem promising. And Muntu Valdo lived up to the reputation. With just a mouth, a harmonica and guitar, he was able to dish out interesting tunes, songs and a heavy french accent. (Alright… so I find accents intriguing…). Surely someone worth catching at WOMAD…

Johnny Kalsi and Dhol Foundation (England)

When you see the name Dhol Foundation, you know what to expect. But, this gig/workshop start on the wrong foot. Johnny tried to explain about Dhols and stuff. (Booring…) The audience was just not really interested in all that, they wanted the music to start…

After a looong ~20mins of talking, and indeed in a very English way, they started drumming.. And I quote Johnny as he started,

“To all the ladies in the audiance, please tighten your bra-straps, and all those with with pacemakers, turn them off, cos you bloody hell are not going to need them…”

Damn he was right…. And thus ended the calm before the storm… Dhol Foundation finally lived up to their expectation, by getting everyone to Bhangra on their feet. Though, I will say that the mixing was screwed up again, and I was unable to hear any of the background tracks they were using. I really thought that the Celtic track they did was amazing, just needed to hear more of it behind the Dhols.

So here’s to the Dhol Foundation.. Oye Chak De Fatte!!


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