The Goanna reunion performance was a wonderful emotion-charged event. It was clear they were having the time of their lives on the main stage at WOMADelaide 2022. Respect was flowing freely from and to the band.
Might it be that – in simplistic terms – there are two types of people: those who use their talents to enrich themselves, and those who use their special skills to enrich the lives of others? My experience in media leads me to think so.
I’ve been very fortunate to interview some special people over recent years, people who have dedicated their lives to ensuring they contribute to safeguarding our planet and improving social equity, and have been guests at WOMADelaide as part of the superb Planet Talks series. Here are some of the best.
Many bands hit gold at some point. It might be an era when personnel meshed brilliantly; a concert when repertoire, audience and venue all combined for a stunning show; the final mix of a recording on which they know they really nailed it.
Now I have a third golden moment to add: the launch of Makarrata Live at the closing evening of WOMADelaide 2021, in which Midnight Oil collaborated with great First Nations artists such as Leah Flanagan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Frank Yamma and Bunna Lawrie.
Revelation is a word closely associated with WOMADelaide for me.
Sure, when the artist announcement is released, I’ll be familiar with a few of the headliners. But each year I go along confident that it will be a weekend of surprises, as an array of instant new favourites are revealed.
Opening night was always going to be an emotionally-charged event. Archie Roach came on stage for his 7th and final WOMADelaide show – more repeat performances at WOMADelaide than any other artist – and the crowd responded with a standing ovation before he’d sung a note.
And he did it – as he has at recent concerts – accompanied by an oxygen cylinder, to boost his airways as he copes with obstructive pulmonary disease. Ten years ago he’d recovered from a stroke and also having half a cancerous lung removed. Last year – just before his induction to the ARIA Hall of Fame – Archie was in ICU for treatment and then performed with a medical team on hand backstage.
But Archie’s big heart and yearning to bring people together through storytelling in his unmistakeable voice is as powerful as ever.
I had a chat with Fatoumata Diawara ahead of her appearance at WOMADelaide 2019.
Brian: First of all, many congratulations on your nomination for this year’s Grammy Awards for your album Fenfo. Will you be attending the Awards Ceremony?
Fatou: Yes, I’m going to go, definitely. Last year it was the Victoires de la Musique in France, so I’m familiar with the significance of the ceremonies.
Brian: Many West African artists we’ve had at WOMADelaide have been in the wall of sound tradition, with horns, electric guitars and kora all competing for attention. But your new album Fenfo is much more spacious and open in style. Is that the style you prefer to use?
Ahead of his appearance at WOMADelaide 2018, I spoke with Chilean singer, multi-instrumentalist and song-writer Nano Stern about cultural heritage, his hopes for the future and the incomparable instrument, the human voice.
Brian: It’s been six years since we last saw you perform at WOMADelaide, and eight years since your Live in Concert album was recorded in Mullumbimby. What are the main changes we can expect at WOMADelaide 2018? Different instruments and band line-up? More influence of rock and jazz or stronger influence of Chilean roots since your return to live in Santiago? Continue reading →
For the past five years we’ve been tracking the superb renewable energy activism of the Port Augusta community in South Australia in their quest for a solar thermal power station.
2016 marked the end of six decades of coal-fired power generation at Port Augusta and now we finally have the announcement of a replacement that will provide dispatchable renewable energy, using CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) technology.
It’s quite brave leadership from the South Australian State Government. They’ve had to put up with a year of denigration and ridicule from the Federal Government for an ambitious transition-to-renewables program. But they’ve pushed on relentlessly, culminating in the announcement of the world’s biggest battery storage last month and now the solar with storage plant announced this week.
To protect Australians from worsening climate impacts (eg more destructive storms, intense heatwaves and worsening bushfire conditions) and in line with our Paris Agreement commitments and carbon budget constraints, Australia needs pathways to transition as rapidly as possible away from coal, oil and gas to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
But the Finkel review has little to say about our Paris Agreement commitments. Instead it focuses on ensuring a reliable electricity grid and reducing the price of electricity.
Brian: Your Port Augusta plans outlined in your June 2016 launch were for 1,700 collector tower modules which were expected to generate 110MW in winter and 170MW in summer. Is that still the plan?
Steve: The proposal is now to stage the project starting with a 100MW power station with 800 modules. This would do just under 50MW for 24 hours in winter and over 70MW in summer. More importantly, it will do 100MW for shorter times per day (peak hours) which is when the need is greatest.
This configuration could (would) be “cut and pasted” 5 times to give 500MW and completely replace the old to power station. Continue reading →