WOMADelaide @ King Rodney Park, Adelaide 7/3/2021

Everyone knows WOMADelaide hasn’t been the same concept as previous years but at least we get to have a music festival during these COVID times. That was the sentiment by all the artists that performance on the Sunday night. All were excited and thankful they could perform at all and so were the Adelaide crowd.

The WOMAD flags were flying high and Sunday night’s concert was a more soulful affair with Tash Sultana, Kaiit and Miiesha. The evening was hosted by Annette Sun Wah and started with a Welcome to Country from Jamie Goldsmith at King Rodney Park. He also explained who King Rodney was: a Kaurna elder known to early European settlers as ‘King Rodney.’

First up and if there was ever an artist bursting with talent it’s Pitjantjatjara/Torres Strait Islander artist Miiesha belting out an acapella of the song Caged Bird. Her vocal prowess had the crowd mesmerised while the cheeky and personal banter between songs had everyone fall in love with this star on the rise. The setlist consisted of a few unreleased songs Price I Paid and the crowd pleaser Made For Silence which got them up on their feet. Previous releases Drowning, Black Privilege, Broken Tongues a well as cover Neon Moon were also hits with the 5000 strong crowd.

With an alluring voice Miiesha is a storyteller with soulful melodies and lyrics wise beyond her years. Touching on topics such as self-empowerment, the plight of indigenous people and her relationship with her mum which she admits is a challenge she’s one artist to watch.

Described as Jill Scott and Erykah Badu’s love child Kaiit sings and raps in her own distinctive style to her neo-soul style and she’s another young talent to keep your eyes on. Starting off with Girl in the Picture from her 2018 EP Live From Her Room it set the scene for a 45 minute session of soulful jazz tunes. Thankful to be back singing live and to be in Adelaide the crowd responded with the same energy back.

It seems tonight was a night for unreleased songs Kaiit sung an acoustic version of Bombay a song they often play live and working through to songs Natural Woman and crowd favourite Miss Shiny were she references WOMADelaide a few times.

When Tash Sultana took the stage, the atmosphere was electric. Playing trumpet then breaking out into new song Musk it was a non-stop psychedelic rock frenzy. The pure joy on Sultana’s face showed how excited they were to finally play on stage in front of a live audience. Sultana even confided “I feel like I’m having a jam session in my living room and you’re all watching!”

There were plenty of new songs, Sweet and Dandy and Pretty Lady from latest album Terra Firma and Sultana dedicated the set to the late Michael Gudinski. Sultana shines when switching from instrument to instrument whether it was the flute, saxophone, mandolin, bass guitar, beating on the drums or trumpet but playing the guitar like it was their God.

Singing and strutting the stage with self-empowerment Sultana immerses into the music taking us for the ride. The roar from the crowd who were all up dancing confirmed that Sultana is an artist Adelaidians have fallen in love with and when the final song Jungle was played it was the end to another successful WOMADelaide concert.

Live Review By Anastasia Lambis

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