Worlds Kaleid (Kamerunga Records, 2012)
Sliding the northeastern Australian band Kamerunga into a genre would be a bit like putting a sweater on my cat – difficult and in the end pointless. Of course, slipping Kamerunga’s second recording Worlds Kaleid into the CD player is a hell of lot more entertaining than the mere idea of putting a sweater on a cat any day. Fashioning a sound of world music, folk, rock, jazz and reggae, only to reinvent the lot into a fresh version of Australian folk, Kamerunga’s quirky and hopelessly charming sound is addictively bright and breezy with some truly expert musicianship to tie the whole sound together.
With their debut recording The Push, an ARIA nomination for Best World Music album and a series of appearances at Byron Bay Bluesfest, National Folk Festival and the 2011 Rainforest World Music Festival, Kamerunga has set a course to make a name for itself and put Australian folk on the musical map with joyous abandon.
Dipping into some Latin rhythms, sassy trumpet lines provided by Harry James Angus and slick guitar licks against a folksy tune on the opening “Queensland Whalers/Sligo Creek,” Kamerunga dazzles the listener with its cross-pollination sound.
It’s impossible to resist such tracks like the traditional folk tune “Lime Juice Tub,” or “Fannie Bay” with its hauntingly lovely opening before it shifts into a thick, funky reggae ballad.
The lesson of Worlds Kaleid seems to be expect the unexpected as with “Burke’s Lament” and its opening oud intro by Joseph Tawadros before slipping into an original musical cautionary tale based on a letter written by the explorer Robert O’Hara before he died while exploring Australia’s “red heart.”
Worlds Kaleid just gets better with tracks like percussion driven “The Cameleers/Soldanza,” the wild ride of “Lazy Harry’s” and feel good feel of “Seisia.”
One only need to look at the musical line up for proof of the gender-bending nature of Kamerunga, and that jam packed goodness of Worlds Kaleid is served up by vocalist, violinist and mandolinist David Martin; guitarist, mandolinist, violinist, keyboardist and backing vocalist Peter Ella; saxophonist, keyboardist, cellist and backing vocalist Andree Baudet; bassist, percussionist, ukulele player and backing vocalist Will Kepa; guitarist, kazoo player and backing vocalist Tony Hiller, and percussionist and drummer Nigel Pegrum.
World Kaleid is deliciously good and we can hardly wait to hear what comes next.
Listen to samples and buy MP3s:
CD available via The Planet Company