MULLUM MUSIC FESTIVAL ACTS: Omara
MULLUM MUSIC FESTIVAL ACTS: Omara "Bombino” Moctar (above), a Nigerien singer-songwriter and guitarist; singer-songwriter Kaiit (below left), from south-east Melbourne; Jamaican singer Janine Elizabeth Cunningham (below centre), better known as Jah9; and Afro-Caribbean dub music producer and engineer Mad Professor (below right), otherwise known as Neil Fraser. Richard Dumas

The sound of other cultures at Mullum Music Fest

PAPUA New Guinea, Jamaica, Niger and Guyana are not places you regularly hear music from, but then again Mullum Music Festival is an event to discover music gems.

This year, those gems are really exotic.

Festival Director Glenn Wright said that a good festival inspires creativity and helps turn a group of people into a community.

"Mullumbimby now has a thriving arts and cultural community and we are very proud that over the last 11 years Mullum Music has played a significant role in the town's renaissance. We're really excited about this year's program and can't wait to share it with our local community and the many music lovers who make an annual pilgrimage from all over the world and Australia to be with us," he said.

The first line up release includes some iconic and mystifying artists such as:

Bombino: Tuareg eyes

 

ICONIC: Omara 'Bombino' Moctar is a Nigerien singer-songwriter and guitarist.
ICONIC: Omara 'Bombino' Moctar is a Nigerien singer-songwriter and guitarist. Vittorio Catti

Omara "Bombino" Moctar is a singer-songwriter and guitarist born in Niger.

His music is sung in Tamasheq language, and often address geopolitical concerns in Turag.

Born in 1980 in Tidene, Niger, a Tuareg encampment about 80 kilometers northeast of Agadez, Bombino is a member of the Ifoghas tribe, which belongs to the Kel Air Tuareg federation.

Following the outbreak of the Tuareg Rebellion in 1990, Bombino, along with his father and grandmother, were forced to flee to neighboring Algeria for safety.

He later studied with renowned Tuareg guitarist, Haja Bebe.

While living in Algeria and Libya in his teen years, Bombino and his friends watched videos of Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler and others.

Filmmaker Hisham Mayet managed to track down and record Bombino and his electric band Group Bombino in 2007 during a wedding performance.

On April 1, 2016 Bombino released Azel.

Produced by David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors, the album brings Bombino's guitar playing to the forefront while staying true to his desert blues roots as he sings in his native language of Tamasheq.

Pitchfork's Andy Beta notes more specifically that the record "features a sublime iteration of desert blues that's both authentic and ambitious."

He has just released a new album, called Deran.

Kaiit: PNG neo-soul

 

Born in Papua New Guinea,  songstress Kaiit has been singing in southeast Melbourne, where she is based, for as long as she can remember.
Born in Papua New Guinea, songstress Kaiit has been singing in southeast Melbourne, where she is based, for as long as she can remember. SUPPLIED

No, it's not Ngaiire, but young songstress Kaiit.

Hailing from southeast Melbourne, the young songstress has been singing for as long as she can remember.

Born in Papua New Guinea, Kaiit grew up listening to alternative music, with her parents embracing the likes of Pink Floyd.

Kaiit is blessed with an enchanting voice that crosses musical boundaries.

Her love for jazz and neo-soul is evident in her music, drawing upon inspiration from her idols Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill and the contemporary sounds of Noname Gypsy and SZA.

Kaiit's artistic background in both beauty and fashion is apparent in her inimitable style and edgy aesthetic.

Jah9: Mystical Jamaica

 

Jamaican singer Janine Elizabeth Cunningham, better known as Jah9.
Jamaican singer Janine Elizabeth Cunningham, better known as Jah9. SUPPLIED

Inspired by the open spaces in the instrumental dub of 1970s Jamaican roots music, Jah9 sings with a voice that belies the dimensions of her physical body, from a soul much older than its current vessel, reminiscent of the darkly operatic wailer for truth and justice, Nina Simone.

Her philosophy is profoundly spiritual, and her style is jazz on dub.

Born Janine Cunningham, Jah9 spent her first nine years in Falmouth, Trelawny, on the rural western edge of Jamaica, before moving into the city of Kingston in 1991.

Transplanted into the city, the country girl, used to the idyllic Falmouth where everyone knew everyone else, was suddenly struck by chaos disguised as order in Jamaica's capital.

Growing up with a preacher for a father and a social worker for a mother, Janine had always been aware of the injustices in the world.

It was not until she was on campus at the University of the West Indies that she would embark on a pivotal journey to find her true voice.

At UWI, she would gather with a group of fellow socially conscious and Rastafari brethren by a fire to steam herbs and reason for long hours.

There her heart was opened to the teachings of Haile Selassie I and her ears to the hypnotic bass of the heavy dub rhythms of roots reggae.

Janine eventually embraced her childhood nickname, Jah9, as she learnt the significance of the word "Jah" (the Rastafarian name of God) and the number "9", the symbol of creation and womb of the universe.

Mad Professor: Afro-Caribbean dub

 

Neil Fraser (A.K.A. Mad Professor) born in Guyana, raised in South London, has been at the backbone of the UK dub reggae scene since 1979.
Neil Fraser (A.K.A. Mad Professor) born in Guyana, raised in South London, has been at the backbone of the UK dub reggae scene since 1979. Contributed

Mad Professor (born Neil Joseph Stephen Fraser in Georgetown, Guyana) is an Afro-Caribbean dub music producer and engineer known for his original productions and remix work.

He is considered one of the leading producers of dub music's second generation, and was instrumental in transitioning dub into the digital age.

He has collaborated with reggae artists such as Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Sly and Robbie, Pato Banton, Jah Shaka and Horace Andy, as well as artists outside the realm of traditional reggae and dub, such as Sade, Massive Attack, The Orb, and Brazilian DJ Marcelinho da Lua, Grace Jones and Perry Farrel.

Mad Professor has released hundreds of original recordings and has worked with a number of reggae and non-reggae artists.

He is best known for his 12 instalments of the Dub Me Crazy series and 5 albums under the Black Liberation Dub banner.

He has also done a version of I&I for New Zealand reggae band Katchafire, three versions for New Zealand electronic group Salmonella Dub and twelve remixes for Japanese musician Ayumi Hamasaki.

  • Mullum Music Festival will be held at a number of locations in Mullumbimby, from November 15-18. For details and tickets visit mullummusicfestival.com.