04 December 2007

Guitar Festival

Over the weekend I went to two outdoor concerts of the inaugural Adelaide Guitar Festival.

On Friday night Slideshow: masters of the slide guitar featured Vishwa Mohan Bhatt , the irrepressible Bob Brozman , Kerryn Tolhurst, Jeff Lang , Lucky Oceans (a great pedal steel guitar player though perhpas better known in these parts as presenter of ABC RN's The Daily Planet ), Charlie Owen and, a late replacement for some no-shows, Dave Hole.

On Saturday Culture of Kings explored the roots , development and some current trends in blues music. The program featured five top notch performers: Mamadou Diabate, Alvin Youngblood Hart,Jeff Lang (again), Fiona Boyes, and the veteran John Hammond.

Two great evenings. I'd only intended to go on Friday but it didn't take much to lure me back on Saturday, when it was warmer than Friday, a fact noted by John Schaefer , the NYC guitar aficionado and DJ who MCed on each night.

The artists IMO varied from enjoyable to excellent, with most being at or well towards the excellent end of the spectrum. The organisers did a good job, too. The two big screens and nifty camerawork made it possible to watch the performers in close up, and thus to appreciate them even more.

For reviews of the two concerts see InDaily ,The Independent Weekly's email newsletter . The Australian also ran a curmudgeonly but thankfully brief survey of the whole Festival.

The organisers of Womadelaide, whose 2008 program was launched this week, should take a leaf out of the Guitar Festival's book and invest in some big screens. If they don't the audiences for Mamadou Diabate will be shortchanged robbed by not being able to watch his magnificent finger (and thumb) work on the kora except through binoculars. And I'm sure that he won't be the only performer to whom this comment applies.

No comments: