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Wobeon – Austin’s debut World Music Festival

Submitted by on April 9, 2013 – 4:04 amNo Comment

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Wobeon – Austin’s debut World Music Festival happened this weekend of 6th and 7th April. Amidst almost perfect weather 12 groups played to the beat of One Beat One World. I have, as many of you know, been to many festivals.

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What differentiates this amongst others was really the selection of artists, ranging from local to Austin, from the US and global.

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I really went to listen to Fatou and Angelique Kidjo, but just could not believe the fun and enjoyment I had with every group that played. Every band and artist displayed extremely high energy, and had the listeners swaying in trance. The tempo and energy was never down in the full 2 days that I spent there.

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Phew what fun. The atmosphere itself was vibrant and colorful. I think the organizers did a very sensible thing of allowing kids free with adults. Not only did it make the festival vibrant, but also in my opinion paves the way of future world music players and enthusiasts. It was delightful to see kids synching with the groove. Practicing hoopla to the grooves and more.

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As I had mentioned earlier, the groups that played were really well selected. Whether it was Red Baraat weaving indian bhangra melodies into high energy groove tracks, the 8 member M.A.K.U or the trance groove fusion electronic group Bomba Estereo, they just had all of us on our toes.

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I must single out my find this season, the ghana born Mohammad Alidu. His music simply was to my best discovery in recent times. He simply rocked with his Afro beats. I was thrilled with his talking drums and had no hesitation picking up his CD.

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One voice that I liked was Duina Del Mar a Columbian singer. She sang a few tracks, and i loved it so much that I decided to buy her CD too, which unfortunately was not available.

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The atmosphere in between concerts were maintained by local DJ’s, and a local Indian Fusion singer Naga Valli. This was a lot of fun too, and the organizers should do more of these in future concerts. I found that the DJ’s just mixing tracks found less attention then when they mixed with a singer present. Naga Valli attracted huge numbers to the tent who let themselves loose to the rhythmic grooves and her voice.

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Bomba Estereo was another find. The electrifying psychedelic music coming from this band led by Lilliana Saumet, a extremely high energy trance like singer, kept us all in total awe swinging in trance to the grooves.

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I think Singers like Anglique Kidjko and Fatoumata Diawara need no introduction. My favorite has always been Oumou Sangare, and Fatou used to sing and dance for her group for many years.
Her music is very beat oriented, but with strong messages, whether it is women, freedom, children or expression. She mixed some really lovely tracks from her CD Fatou with some extremely high powered solo dancing. It seems very clear that Fatou does not just like singing, but loves dancing too. Her stage setting was very different from the rest, as she gave herself a lot of space to do some high energy frenzy dancing, which got the audience mesmerized.

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Overall a beautiful two days, and hopefully the beat lives on, I liked the One Beat One World slogan. Caught my attention for sure. Wobeon’s organizer Sikes hit bulls eye this year with the selections. I think, I would find my way again from NJ to Austin next year, if this is the caliber of performances.

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