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A Fringe road trip for world music


Heading into the city to see a show or 10 is a summer ritual for many South Australians, but hitting the highway for a night of world music in Clare could become a new tradition.

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The World Music Fringe opening weekend is hitting Clare as part of the Fringe Across the State program.

Dubbed “Fringe in the Valley”, the February 19-20 event is presented by HATs (Heritage Arts & Traditions), an independent arts and events organisation formed in 2011 to present live music and cultural events.

Based in the heritage town of Auburn, HATs has converted a historic courthouse into a live performance space complete with an in-house sound and lighting system.

While the usual lineup for their Sunday sessions sees local and interstate folk and roots musicians, the Fringe weekend is a warm-up to WOMAD with a line-up of world music being highlighted.

Kicking off the weekend on Saturday, February 19, at 8pm is “Gypsy Spirit. The Sounds of Romania & Hungary” by Vardos.

Driven by violinist Alana, chased by Kirri (double bass) and Sofia (accordion), Vardos play folk and Romany music learnt from Rroma (Gypsy) musicians during their Eastern European travels.

Formed in Perth in 1993, Vardos has played in every state of Australia, toured to Europe, Britain, New Zealand, New Caledonia and the United States, and appeared in film and on television, including a not to be forgotten episode of “Spicks and Specks”.

The Gypsy spirit will be backed up on Sunday afternoon by “Mystical Music of the Mountains”, a Kashmiri Santoor concert at 3pm.

Maestro Vinay Desai has travelled from the United States to wow with the sweet ethereal sounds of the 100-stringed instrument that has its origins in the valleys of Kashmir.

Vinay studied under the guidance of many of the best teachers in the world, including Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, who passed away last year.

Australia’s foremost tabla player, Jay Dabgar, will join Vinay. Jay is a regular at WOMAD and OzAsia.

The duo will present an unforgettable concert of classical Indian music that “conjures the feelings of vast space, timelessness and the majesty of the Himalayas”.

The final Fringe show on March 17 at 7pm will feature pianist Tim Barton in his one-man show “Rhapsody in Chicago Blues”.

While the Auburn Courthouse Cultural Centre will host the Fringe, it also has regular acoustic music sessions on the last Sunday of each month.

Opening at 12pm for lunch – HATs offers a two-course home-cooked meal to purchase – you can relax with your Clare Valley food and wine finds while enjoying the set from 2-5pm. Punters are also encouraged to bring along their own instruments and join in.

The February 26 session will feature interstate artists who have travelled over for the Adelaide Fringe.

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