A chat with Sir Tim Smit – co-founder of the Eden Project

Today I had a chat with Sir Tim Smit, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of the Eden Project, ahead of his forthcoming presentation for the Planet Talks at WOMADelaide 2017.

In the prologue to his book, Eden, two sentences stand out, and they sum up the spirit of our chat: “Neither do I make any apology for being optimistic about the future. I am.”

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Please take a seat – it’s Angelique Kidjo at WOMADelaide

Telling the WOMADelaide crowds to sit down is a tall order. There’s so much dancing on stage and in the crowd.

But just occasionally there’s a performance of such subtle beauty and dynamic range – such as with the performance of Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar six years ago – that WOMADelaide organisers insist the crowd sit on the grass and focus.

The big sit this year will be to bask in the magic of Angélique Kidjo with guitarist David Laborier and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

This extract from a classic interview for the New Internationalist magazine illustrates just how many strings The Grammy award-winning musician, writer and UNICEF goodwill ambassador has to her bow. You can read the full interview here.

NI: You left Benin in 1983 to study jazz in Paris, and ended up finding Africa elsewhere: in jazz music in France, then the blues of the US, the carnival and candomblé of Brazil, the salsa of Cuba. Is this testament to the resilience of African music? Continue reading

Vandana Shiva – seed freedom

At WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks, Vandana Shiva, Paul Sutton and Tim Jarvis will be challenging the values that we place on our land, food and water, and what these values mean for the health of our planet and ourselves.

I spoke to Dr Vandana Shiva about seeds and freedom.

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Creating hope – Simran Sethi at WOMADelaide

There could well be a serious outbreak of optimism at WOMADelaide 2015 when two of the world’s eco-heroes discuss “Creating Hope”. Simran Sethi will be in conversation with Sylvia Earle as part of WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks. Sylvia Earle was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998, and Simran Sethi was listed in The Independent’s 2007 top-10 Green List, along with the likes of Al Gore and Nicholas Stern.

I spoke to Simran Sethi this week for a preview.

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Music of the Arab Spring at WOMADelaide

Wonderful WOMADelaide starts tonight, and at the launch we’ve just had a taste of what’s to come.

The welcome to Kaurna country by Steve Gadlabardi Goldsmith and the Taikurtinna dancers dragged us very willingly from the humdrum of normal life into the magic of global culture, song and dance that transforms this weekend each year.

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Ecocide update with Polly Higgins

Once in a lifetime a truly game-changing event reshapes global society. Think back to 1833 when the British Parliament finally bowed to public pressure and the Slavery Abolition Act was passed. Now in our lifetime Polly Higgins is campaigning tirelessly to do for Earth Rights what the abolitionists did for Human Rights. And the goal is in sight.

I spoke to Polly Higgins this week for an update.

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Hugh Masekela – WOMADelaide

“There are no legends” were Hugh Masekela’s parting words from the main stage at WOMADelaide 2013, after the MC had declared “what a legend”, following the extraordinary performance from the 74-year-old giant of African music.

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WOMADelaide 2012

Having just received an email about the lineup for WOMADelaide 2013, I thought it might be a good time to share some of the photos I took at WOMADelaide 2012.

If you’d like to read more about Brian’s highlights, pop over to his post Respect and activism – music’s power unleashed at WOMADelaide.

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