WOMADelaide 2021 – the finale

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.

To my mind Midnight Oil had two spectacularly golden moments in their collection: the recording of Beds are Burning, and their appearance in Sorry shirts at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

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.

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WOMADelaide 2021 – day 3 review

Three rapidly-rising young stars thrilled the day 3 audience, each with their individual take on contemporary style.

It’s a super-confident artist who opens her first WOMADelaide appearance with an a cappella song, and pulls it off magnificently, especially at only twenty years young. Miiesha did it so well.

The intro to the song was a recording of her beloved Grandmother who raised her saying: “Remember you’re nobody’s property”.

She’s taken it on board; this is one feisty performer.

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WOMADelaide 2021 – day 2 review

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.

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WOMADelaide 2021 – Opening night review

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.

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WOMADelaide 2021 – COVID-safe

I have to confess that I felt cheated when I first saw the COVID-safe plan for WOMADelaide 2021. How can it be WOMADelaide if it’s not in beautiful Botanic Park, and if it’s really just a series of 4 evening sit-down concerts?

But eventually I realised I was being greedy. After all, how lucky were we to squeeze in a full WOMADelaide last year, just before COVID lockdowns and border closures swung into force?

And I also remembered how brilliant the mini-WOMAD in the Vales had been in 1998, starring the late great Geoffrey Oryema of Uganda.

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