With two days done, and the halfway point well and truly crossed, it was clear to all and sundry that the third day of WOMADelaide 2021 wasn’t going to be anything but a continuation of the top-shelf quality already dished out by performers over the weekend. It didn’t take long for this to be confirmed though, with Miiesha beginning the penultimate night in a big way.
An Aṉangu and Torres Strait Islander woman, who first made music-lovers stand up and take notice by way of “Black Privilege”, 2020 saw Miiesha truly kick things up to the next level, with her debut album Nyaaringu, undoubtedly raising expectations for the evening’s set. Reaching #28 on the Australian charts, the record features interludes from Miisesha’s grandmother, while the overarching tale of her journey from Woorabinda to her current station in life plays out.
Arriving onto the stage after her band mates – consisting of a drummer, keyboardist, two vocalists, and Perry (off to the side) – rapturous applause complemented her presence, with the sound of her grandmother’s voice in “Caged Bird” soon giving way to her slick, soon-to-be iconic vocals. As the audience stood transfixed, mesmerised by the powerful electronic beats, swirling sound woes, and – of course – Miiesha’s truly gorgeous vocals, it was clear that she was as pleased to be at WOMADelaide as we were to see her.
“It’s just crazy to be here,” the somewhat nervous artist noted, before the likes of “Black Privilege”, “Drowning”, “Hold Strong”, the currently-unreleased “The Price I Paid”, and a cover of Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon” were accompanied by a small spattering of twin, turning an already masterful performance into one of the festival’s veritable best. Punctuating her set with stories about song origins, it felt only fitting that a small rainbow appeared in the sky to show that this was a performance of truly stunning quality.
As Miiesha left the stage, a brief intermission brought with it the arrival of the magnificent Kaiit – another artist having scored massive critical acclaim over the last few years. A Gunditjmara and Torres Strait Islander woman on her mother’s side and a Papua New Guinean on her father’s side, Kaiit emerged onto the music scene a few years ago with her single “Natural Woman” from the Live from Her Room EP helping put her on the map.
Bringing with her a four-piece band, the bright and bubbly artist kicked off her latest appearance at the festival by way of a jazzy rendition of the smooth “Girl in The Picture”, before the good vibes kept going with “OG Love Kush Pt. 1” showcasing her stellar lyricism and fun-loving attitude in one powerful piece.
Noting there’s been some issues about releasing new music since the release of the ARIA Award-winning set closer “Miss Shiney”, Kaiit utilised the chance to showcase a range of unreleased tracks such as “Dumb Bitch Blues” and “Lil Mama Theme Song”, giving fans a sneak peek into what the future holds, and making the evening even more special than it already was.
Arguably one of the most slick, vibey, and downright fun performances of the evening, it was clear that everyone lucky enough to witness Kaiit showcase her fearless talent was – like the artist herself frequently claimed – incredibly thankful to be graced with her presence.
With chart-topping musician and current Rolling Stone cover artist Tash Sultana having recently released a career-defining album, and kicking off a new musical era, it’s fair to say that their performance at WOMADelaide was set to be nothing short of historical. With one of their last performances as a solo artist taking place in Sydney last November, only a pair of hometown shows have preceded this event in 2021, meaning that the WOMADelaide festival was undoubtedly set to be an incredibly special one for fans of the iconic multi-instrumentalist.
With a hungry crowd eagerly awaiting their arrival, the sound of Bob Markey’s “This Love” saw a solitary figure appear onstage, with only a few graphics and strobing lights peeking through the darkness. Soon, it was clear that this figure was Tash Sultana, utilising a raft of instruments to build a swelling musical wall that was as alluring as it was intricate. Walking around the stage showcasing some truly stunning guitar work, Tash soon transitioned into their run of tracks, with a look of pure dedication, passion, and ultimately fun heralding the start of a monumental evening.
Of course, any fan will tell you that a Tash Sultana performance is not a traditional one. In fact, it feels almost like a mixtape – featuring lengthy jams and extended outros, while familiar hooks and musical themes ebb and flow into the next like a musical river.
Dishing out plenty of immersive favourites such as “Gemini”, “Sweet & Dandy”, “Pretty Lady”, and the beloved “Jungle”, Tash never once seemed to let up, showing not only their professionalism as an artist, but sheer athleticism as a performer. Of course, the set also featured a touching moment with a Tash dedicating their set to the late Michael Gudinski, asking the crowd to shout out in honour of the dearly departed industry icon.
Truly, there’s something amazing about Tash Sultana. It’s not just the technical proficiency, the musical intricacy, or the fact that Their performance looks akin to someone at the workbench, but rather it’s the absolutely infectious performance style. Not only is Tash having the time if their life showing us how they make some world class music, but we’re allowed into that world for the evening, and honestly, we don’t ever want to leave.
WOMADelaide concludes on Monday, March 8th.
Monday, March 8th
The Teskey Brothers
Friday, March 5th – Monday, March 8th
King Rodney Park, Adelaide, SA
Tickets & Info: Official Site