Saturday, November 17, 2012

Listening globally Dancing locally: Australasian Worldwide Music Expo 2012

This weekend I’ve been a delegate at the Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (Womex) here in Melbourne. I’ve had a blast rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers in the Australian, American, European and Asian music festival industry. Curators, promoters, bureaucrats, musicians and posers such as me.

I’m working with De Kulture Music, an Indian folk music label/group and helping them to make contacts in the local industry as well as promote the upcoming Blue Lotus Music Festival of Indian folk music in Pushkar, Rajasthan in February 2013.  My main duties this week have been to chaperone and logistically manage the only artists from India selected to appear on the bill this year: Bachu Khan

Bachu Khan is a diminutive, traditional Langa singer from Rajasthan who is most famous for his exciting lead vocals in the group Musafir,  which made two CDs, Dhola Maru and Barsaat in the past few years.  I’ve posted some photos of Bachu and his gang of four relatives/accompanists (including his father-in-law!) over at the Harmonium Music Facebook page and feel so privileged (and pleased as punch) to have the opportunity to hang out with such fantastic musicians and people.

In terms of AWME 2012 itself, I’ve been slightly underwhelmed.  Mostly I’ve been surprised at the (seemingly) low turnout to most events. And though everyone in the music ‘trade’ is clued into the Expo, it appears to have no visibility in the public. And the AUSTRALIAN part of Australasian seems to be the focus with a large number of local acts on the bill.  Not in itself a bad thing, and certainly the quality of the acts is very high, but somehow I’m wondering if more could have been done to tap into some of the truly amazing ‘authentic’ folk and popular music in Indonesia, PNG, Timor Leste and China even than promote Aussie acts. 

Still, it has been thrilling to mingle, rub shoulders and bump into so many people who are passionate about ‘world’, ‘roots’ music.  From the presence and visibility of the various Australian funding agencies there is no doubt that AWME will get better every year.

For those of you who didn’t come down yet, you can still get there for the final day, Sunday, November 18.  Bachu Khan is playing at 615pm and I have no doubt his show will be one of the highlights for is vitality and visual and visceral appeal.

So herewith is the official CD of the festival put out by the Expo’s producers, highlighting just a very few of the many acts that appeared this year.  It is, as I say, heavily tilted toward Aussie artists, but all of them are worthy of being included.  I’ve also added a track by Bachu Khan, from the Musafir album Dhola Maru.


            Track Listing:
            01 Old Mission Road [Archie Roach] AUSTRALIA
02 Thin Skin [Clare Bowditch] AUSTRALIA
03 Like Water [Ladi6] SAMOA/NEW ZEALAND
04 African Soldier [Seun Kuti] NIGERIA
05 Satta Massagana [The Abyssinians] JAMAICA
06 The Publican's Daughter [Jordie Lane] AUSTRALIA
07 50 Years [The Medics] AUSTRALIA
08 Never [The Bamboos] AUSTRALIA
09 Shake it Off [Sue Ray] AUSTRALIA
10 Mondeou [Boubacar Traore] MALI
11 Bella Ciao [I Viaggiatori (feat. Kavisha Mazzella)] ITALY
12 Blind Joe's Creek [Kutcha Edwards] AUSTRALIA
13 Looking Glass [Kingfisha] AUSTRALIA
14 Cuando Sera [Watussi] AUSTRALIA/COLOMBIA
15 Mahindra Death Ride [The Bombay Royale] AUSTRALIA/INDIA
16 Manbeliwa [Christine Salem] REUNION ISLANDS
17 Simple Way [OKA] AUSTRALIA
18 Rangi Rang [Musafir feat. Bachu Khan] INDIA

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