Kamerunga’s on top of the world

Acclaimed North Quensland band Kamerunga will be taking its innovative blend of Aussie folk, funk, reggae and world music overseas for the first time next month.

Having performed at just about every festival of note Down Under over the past couple of years, including the gargantuan Byron Bay Bluesfest, the Cairns-based sextet is now preparing to make its international debut.
Kamerunga will represent Australia at Borneo’s Rainforest World Music Festival, one of most prestigious events of its type in south east Asia.

It’s a great honour to fly the flag there,” commented a band spokesperson. “Hopefully, the festival will be a conduit to other gigs on the lucrative Asian market.”

The Aussie acts that have performed at Kuching in the past played African or South American inspired music, whereas our music draws to a degree on Australian colonial heritage, albeit with a modern twist.”
The 2011 Rainforest World Music Festival, to be held on weekend July 8-10, is a veritable united nations, with bands from no fewer than 21 different countries on the bill.

Kamerunga will be lining up alongside such well performed acts as Poland’s Warsaw Village Band, Finland’s Frigg, Tunisia/Algeria’s Duoud and groups representing several other European and African nations, as well as bands from North and Latin America, India, the Middle East and Asia.

Kamerunga recently jetted westwards from its Cairns base for four shows at the Fairbridge Festival of Folk and World Music, the biggest roots music event in Western Australia, where British celebrities Emma Thompson and Ben Elton were among a packed opening audience for the band’s performance at the Riverside Stage.
Since its debut CD, The Push, garnered an ARIA nomination (the Aussie equivalent of a Grammy), the band has attracted attention far and wide. It is now working on songs for a new studio album.

Harry Angus, singer/trumpeter with one of Australia’s most popular world music-oriented bands, the Cat Empire, is among those who have extolled the band’s virtues.

Recommending Kamerunga’s first album to its readers, influential UK magazine fRoots commented that the band’s “clever and tasteful concoctions” and ethnic elements “breathe peacefully within the cosmopolitan jungle”.

Closer to their home, Bob Elliston, reviewing last year’s Tablelands Folk Festival in the Brisbane Folk Rag, opined: “I think Kamerunga is one of the best bands currently in Australia.”

Kamerunga’s members include drummer Nigel Pegrum, who was a member of UK folk-rock pioneers Steeleye Span for nearly 20 years.

Author: Tony Hillier

Tony Hillier is based in Cairns in far north Queensland, from where he has been actively involved in all areas of the music industry in Australia for the past 25 years, primarily as a journalist, writing for national publications such as the Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine (for which he is World Music & Folk correspondent), and performing locally, nationally and internationally with the bands Kamerunga and Snake Gully. He has also presented and produced World Music and Folk music programs for ABC Far North, Port Douglas Radio and 4CCR-FM, netting a CBAA Best Specialist Music Program Award with the last-named for a documentary on flamenco. Before coming to Australia, he was a racing journalist of some repute in the UK, where he wrote a column for the London Evening Standard under the nom-de-plume of Ajax.


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