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BWW Reviews: SESSIONS 2014: YELLOW BLUE BUS Brings in the Ukrainian New Year with Folk Fusion

Reviewed by Blake Parham, Friday 14th January 2014

This was the second in the Sessions 2014 live music series at the Adelaide Festival Centre in the Space Theatre, performed to an audience seated in cabaret style.

This evening's offering was the Ukrainian folk-fusion group, Yellow Blue Bus. This group manages to combine almost every imaginable genre of music with some Ukrainian folk music. As they themselves say, "Yellow Blue Bus, where East meets everything else." This event was given extra gravitas as the 14th of January is the Orthodox Christian New Year's day according to the Julian calendar, used by the church in Ukraine, and thus even more celebration occurred.

All of the members of the band are talented musicians, however the dexterity required to play the 60 stringed lute, with its unique sound, make the two lute players stand out from the rest. The group's fusions were intriguing, if at times a little odd, and generally well executed. The songs were separated by amusing and informative stories of Ukrainian history, folklore, and what it was like being a Ukrainian boy growing up in Australia. These tales could do with a little more refining, however, as they were at times long winded and poorly planned, which caused some of the audience to struggle with their narrative.

As an added bonus, two Adelaide based bellydancers joined the band, performing solo for one number each, and then a duet on a third number. Lily Sim, a teacher and choreographer with Nymphaea Bellydance, and Kylea Hartley perform in the style known as Tribal Fusion Belly Dance. This added extra colour and interest to an already rewarding evening.

The sound mixing for this performance was, unfortunately, not the best. The instruments were often not well balanced and the bass distorted, which often caused the songs to become rather muddy sounding. Nevertheless, the group are very energetic and produced some wonderfully image evoking music. Moreover, their use of a uniquely Australian instrument, the didgeridoo, and a uniquely Ukrainian instrument, the 60 string lute, together to produce such interesting music deserves praise.

This series is truly presenting a wide variety of talented performers and is not over yet. It continues with, Féfé on the 15th of January, John Grant on the 17th of January, Flamenco Areti on the 18th of January, Local band Vincent's Chair on the 23rd of January, and PilotFest 2014 on the 24th of January. Get you tickets now at BASS.

From This Author - Barry Lenny

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