By the second day of Womadelaide, a certain peace and harmony had developed in the crowd. COVID precautions were understood and the mad rush to see everything had changed into a more relaxed atmosphere. Not that this stopped newcomer indigenous rappers MRLN x RKM whipping up some energy onstage.
Marlon Motlop (AKA MRLN) was born and bred in Darwin, while RKM is Adelaide-based MC Rulla Kelly-Mansell. During the COVID outbreak of 2020, Rulla was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. It is with this background that the raps and stories are forceful and insightful. With the cancer now successfully treated, we will surely see more of these two talented artists.
Vika & Linda have always been a popular backing duo for Paul Kelly, and performed beautifully. Paul Kelly says “Their voices combined sound salty-sweet and have that elusive twinned quality you only get when siblings sing together … They make the air beat in sync.” This sums up their performance perfectly. Their cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was a bittersweet tribute to the recently departed Michael Gudinski.
A certain excited started to build as Midnight Oil hit the stage. They were extremely generous in playing hits from their back catalogue. Starting with 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and taking songs from every album, they seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the audience did. There was still an underlying moment of sadness remembering bass player Bones Hillman, who passed away in November at his home in Milwaukee after a battle with cancer. He was sadly missed. But this, the first of two performances at Womadelaide was a celebration of hopefully a return to more music events such as these.