AFRO CELT SOUND SYSTEM

"A high energy force to be reckoned with..."

Timber and Steel reviews the Womadelaide performance…

I don’t like dance music. There, I’ve said it. I like dancing to music. I like tunes that were traditionally written to be danced to like jigs and reels and polkas. I even like watching people dance to music. But I find the whole “dance music” genre to be, well, boring. That is I did. Then I saw Afro Celt Sound System.

As the main drawcard at the biggest stage on Sunday night the Afro Celt Sound System were always going to draw a massive crowd. The fact that they were up against Luka Bloom on the Zoo Stage probably didn’t hurt them either considering how different their music was. But I probably wasn’t prepared for just how munch enthusiasm the crowd had for the Afro Celts and how much they fed off that energy.

Considering the Afro Celt Sound System have been plying their unique brand of Irish-Afro-Drum-and-Bass fusion for the past 15 years and that they first appeared at WOMADelaide in 1997 you’d probably expect them to be acting like elder statesmen. But instead what we were presented with was a high energy force to be reckoned with. The band leaped and pranced around the massive stage. The drum and bass was turned right up to 11. And the mixture of Irish instruments with African and Indian beats was just amazing.

N’Faly Kouyate on the kora was an absolute highlight as he ran and posed around the stage. James Mahon on pipes added the much lauded Irish element to the sound. And Afro Celt leader Simon Emmerson excelled at pulling it all together with his guitar, bouzouki and drum machine. I was impressed by how grateful Emmerson was about what WOMAD and WOMADelaide in particular has done for the band and I feel they gave back to the crowd as a massive thank you for the support they’ve given over all those years.

Overall an amazing performance and the perfect way to wrap up Sunday. I can’t believe I actually danced to dance music.

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