WOMAD 2005 / Blur About Bluegrass

At WOMAD last Saturday night, Asere’s Cuban rhythms proved too much for my cheapo OG shoes after one too many salsas with Kris (who is such a great lead that he can even make salsa-hata me enjoy it) and I later managed to spill a full cup of someone else’s abandoned JD and Coke completely down the front of my trousers, but really, a little sartorial despair was a small price to pay for the sheer nostalgia cheese joy of winding my ba-dee and wree-ggling my bel-ly to APACHE INDIAN.

It crossed my mind at some point during the night that although I’ve gone to 4 world music festivals by now (3 WOMADs, 1 awesome awesome RWMF) I’ve still not managed to see any live bluegrass, which is a big pity given that it’s one of my favourite types of world music. It’s a combination of missing whatever opportunities have arisen (I had to miss Foghorn String Band at RWMF because they played on the only night we weren’t attending), and there not being many opportunities arising in the first place. The festivals I’ve been to seem to feature South American music much more prominently than North American music, and bluegrass acts don’t seem to tour Asia on their own either, though given the popularity of country and western line-dancing here I’d think there might be a fairly receptive market.

I don’t actually know where I’m going with this, I’m just thinking out loud. If anyone out there can tell me anything about the bluegrass scene in Singapore (if there is one at all), please feel free!


  1. I got about maybe 3 hours worth of bluegrass records. We could have a bluegrass party. Everybody has to bring a straw hat and/or dungarees and we can all drink “moonshine”.

  2. Sounds great. If only we’d thought of this a few weeks ago whilst my cousin was in town. I could have brought her along and said she was my wife.

    Hmm, I wonder can you buy ‘grits’ in Singapore.

  3. A friend of mine always said, rather disdainfully, that world music seemed to be any music that wasn’t sung in English. By disdainfully I mean he thought this was a pretty shabby arrangement – to take everything people in America (and England, as the latter’s tastes are often swayed by the former) don’t think is pop and label it with one name. So I think this is why you never see bluegrass at world music festivals, cause it’s sung in English.

    The bluegrass party sounds excellent. Alec, your cousin is only allowed to be your wife if she’s also your sister.

  4. I can contribute bluegrass covers of Metallica songs to this wondrous party. When the bluegrass records and moonshine run out we can move on to ceilidhs and poteen.

  5. Matt: The first time in a while? You mean there was ever a time when you wished you were in Singapore rather than London?

  6. Yes – at one stage it was every morning at around 9.30am, because I knew the working day in Singapore would soon be over. And in the winter of course. And whenever it rains, cause at least it’s warm enough to dry off in Singapore. And obviously I miss you and Alec, Dave and Avril, Hsien-li, Rebecca, Angela, Larry, Wilson, and everyone I met at Newman House, all the time.

    But no, not very often other than that.

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