WOMADelaide 9-21 March 2012
One of the most magical musical experiences I’ve ever had was the Pakistani Qawwali singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performing in Adelaide’s Botanic Park in 1992. After a scorching 40+ degree day, we chilled out in thecool of the night, and the music was as refreshing and rejuvenating as water from a mountain stream. This was my first experience of a WOMAD event. On the same bill was a young but exciting performer from Senegal, Youssou N’Dour, and a host of other revelatory bands from around the world. March 9-12, 2012 sees the twentieth anniversary of WOMADelaide, now a fixture on the festival calendar, and I’m thrilled nowadays to be hosting Stage One. It’s grown into a huge event, about 80,000 attendances over 4 days, but you can still find those quiet intimate moments at some of the smaller stages (there are 7 to choose from). I’ve introduced a number of friends to the WOMADelaide experience over the years, and it never fails to blow them away. I got to interview the great Nusrat that year – via an interpreter – and again on a subsequent visit in 1995. The great Ugandan exiled singer/songwriter Geoffrey Oryema (pictured) came that year.
Youssou N’Dour gave a mighty show for the 10th anniversary and was due to return this year, but decided instead to run for President in Senegal! But the line-up is a very strong one, as befits a 20th birthday show. I’ll be up there on Stage One. Can’t wait!