BOOMERANG: Solomon Island's band Narasirato at Bluesfest 2018.
BOOMERANG: Solomon Island's band Narasirato at Bluesfest 2018. Javier Encalada

Bluesfest Day 2: Pan pipes, Prince and Plant

DAY 2 of Bluesfest Byron Bay 2018 was a Friday of sun and heat, and although the terrain was still muddy, the music took the focus of the day.

It was a day of discovering new band and enjoying old classics.

The prize for the most unexpected band of the festival goes to Narasirato Bamboo Pan Pipers from the Solomon Islands.

Part of the Boomerang line up, this ensemble hails from Oterama Village, one of the most remote villages in the Solomon archipelago in the South Pacific.

Their infectious, funky, energetic and unique show has gathered fans all over the world: their first international show was in Japan in 2010, and in the meantime they have astounded audiences in festivals such as Glastonbury in England and Roskilde in Denmark.

What was the most fascinating aspect of the show? It's hard to pinpoint it. It may be the oversized pan pipes, the nakedness of the performers, their (minimal but) traditional outfits, or the fact that the music was so infectious.

The fact that the performers were wearing so little meant that male spectators did not know how to react initially, but since their wives and girlfriends stopped listening to their protests, the men had no chance but to enjoy the music, and Narasirato delivered fantastic funk, reggae, folk and more.


Youssou Ndour performs at the Crossroad Stage at Bluesfest 2018 in Tyagarah.
Youssou Ndour performs at the Crossroad Stage at Bluesfest 2018 in Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

More music with ethnic tones came from Youssou N'dour, the Senegalese singer, songwriter and politician who offered a polished, African-styled show that entertained the crowds.

Slightly less popular was Juanes' show.

The Colombian superstar, used to selling out arenas across the Spanish-speaking world, looked slightly confused with the lukewarm reception he got from Bluesfest crowds.

Singing only in Spanish to an adoring crowd of Latin fans, Juanes struggled to connect with Australian audiences not used to romantic ballads and cumbia, despite the fact that every song in the set has sold millions of copies and won Grammy Awards.

The spirit of Prince

ONCE upon a time, there was a Prince and he was the king of funky, but the Prince died and his spirit sometimes visited places where music live.

The spirit of the late artist Prince must have been present at Byron Bay yesterday, with Andre Cymone and The New Power Generation band offering two shows featuring the late artist's hits.


Andr Cymone performs at the Delta Stage on Day 2 of Bluesfest 2018 in Tyagarah near Byron Bay.
Andr Cymone performs at the Delta Stage on Day 2 of Bluesfest 2018 in Tyagarah near Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Cymone was Prince's bass guitarist for Prince's first band, pre-Revolution.

The New Power Generation, also known as The NPG, was the backing band of musician Prince from 1990 to 2013.

They were replaced by 3rdeyegirl as his backing band in 2013.

In 2015, the New Power Generation reunited as Prince's backing band for his final studio album before his death, Hit n Run Phase Two.

There was no rain at the Bluesfest venue on Friday evening but Purple Rain and other Prince hits descended upon music fans last night.

The diva versus the gentleman

I am not going to enter in details, but sending a DJ to fill up for an artist for more than ten minutes is just rude, and Lauryn Hill should know better than make her fans wait for 40 minutes before showing up on stage.

An artist with only one good album, no matter how good, should know better than doing that to her fans.

The miseducation was in full display at Byron Bay last night.

At the other end of the music dial, Englishman Robert Plan presented a show that was not just some of the best music we have heard at Bluesfest 2018 so far, but that was an elegant, accomplished, interesting, uncomplicated show that captivated thousands with its magic.

In his first visit to Australia since 2013, Plant and his band, The Sensational Shapeshifters, were alsmot a tribute to Led Zeppelin's first ever Australian tour in 1972.

It may not be Led Zeppelin as it was back in 1972, but Robert Plant and The Sensational Shapeshifters are in 2018 an evolution and a manifestation of musical maturity and long lasting quality.

What's on tomorrow

  • Narasirato at 12.30pm
  • Yirrmal at 3pm
  • Leon Bridges at 4.30pm
  • Seu Jorge at 4.30pm
  • Con Brio at 6pm
  • Harts at 7.30pm
  • The New Power Generation at 8.15pm
  • Michael Franti and Spearhead at 10.15pm

Surfer badly injured in remote reef break

Surfer badly injured in remote reef break

Arlon was left overnight with his hip dislocated

Surf club saved by apprentices

Surf club saved by apprentices

The club faced an uncertain future and would have ceased operation

Expect delays after Pacific Motorway crash

Expect delays after Pacific Motorway crash

Emergency services are at the scene of a crash