By Robbie Slape.
On a very warm morning here in Adelaide it was refreshing to chat with a couple of DJs in the frozen hellscape of wintry Canada. It is -30°C in Toronto as I speak to Brandon Hocura and Gary Abugan and although they claimed winter was amazing they both sorely need the beach. ‘Winter is beautiful, for a short time – it wears off really quickly. It gets under your skin,’ they comment. Yeah, they can keep it. I’m really just after a cold drink.
Scrolling through their website and SoundCloud is like drifting through a microcosm of the WOMAD experience. According to their bio, they have,
‘Scoured North America and the Caribbean to revive towers of classic disco and vinyl rarities.’
All that travel shows. Music and voices from everywhere coming together to make a harmonious, lively rhythm. The delight of picking and plucking the best sounds from our rich multicultural history is a luxury for people in migrant nations like Australia and Canada. Their music is a celebration of all the stories and people that brought and maintained their musical culture in a new nation. It’s a celebration of the energy and vibrancy that stems from our diversity.
Despite being from Icelan- , I mean Canada, you can hear summer in their tracks – what the festival guide describes as obscure calypso-soaked mechanical soul. ‘It’s cold here, we play things that make us feel warm’, they explain. I guess when you live within the ‘polar vortex’ it is probably best to think of warmer places.
Living in a city with a rich Caribbean heritage (over 6% claim a Caribbean background), they don’t have to go far to find striking sounds to play with. Commenting on the city’s eclecticism they say, ‘In Toronto it’s just such a mix…with an open ear, you can find a lot of different types of music – even just blocks from our studio, it’s crazy.’
It sounds glamourous bounding across the continent seeking rare vinyl cuts but there is a lot of hard work that goes into ‘trying to put them all together in a tapestry.’ They say there are too many choices. ‘Eventually you want to take the whole record shop how with you. You should see our studios – just records everywhere; it’s complete chaos.’
There is now no end to possible discoveries with the allure of YouTube and SoundCloud amongst other goldmines so the range becomes more mind-boggling. One day they may need to ‘bring like a hundred turntables’ just to make their sounds.
The more you fall into this alternate universe of boundless rare disco classics, it becomes ‘never-ending – [you think] how is this even real, the depth and range and quality of music, sometimes I think – am I dreaming?’
Even then, the guys say how music is so much about mood and timing. They have to accept that they may have discarded wonderful music because they were in a bit of a grump. ‘Your tastes change – something you go back to something and think, oh my god – did we ditch that?’
As for the show itself, what can we expect at WOMAD? ‘The main thing is, we want to play party music – it doesn’t matter where it is from, or where we are, we want to play things people like dancing to. We are going to bring the best stuff we have and we’re going to play like we haven’t seen the sun.’
While writing this, it seems Toronto will have a nice top of -19°C tomorrow so you can bet your last Twonie (Canadian $2 coin) that these guys will have a ton of energy to burn off . They’re trapped inside forced to make amazing music – so check them out!
In its 23rd Year, WOMADelaide 2015 will take over Botanic Park from March 6 – 9. A range of ticket offers are available and there are of course discounts for students. Invisible City DJs will bring the party to end the Festival on Monday. They’ve brought the ruckus from Montreal to Tokyo and they’ve done all the hard work to find the BEST sounds, so Adelaide you’re in for a treat.
For tickets (DISCOUNTS FOR STUDENTS!!!), head to www.womadelaide.com.au.
For some great free music, check out https://soundcloud.com/invisible-city.
AND to have the chance to win some Fringe tickets let us know what sort of musicians/artists you’d like to see in Verse this year.