“Yeah, but I tend to just go to the ones nearby or the ones I can volunteer at.”
“But then what’s the point? Why go if you don’t know if a band you like is going to play there?”
“I prefer going to a festival having no idea who’s going to play.”
“Well that’s just stupid, not to mentioned a waste of time and potentially money.”
“What? I’m sorry I couldn’t hear you over the sound of… Mama Rosin.”
I’ve had this conversation several times in the last year, though I have to admit, without the suave ending. And I’m still not sure if the last line should be filed as ‘suave’ or ‘douchey’. Still, it’s a good summary of why I do festivals the way I do. Having no idea who’s going to play, and also going to smaller festivals, means you’re guaranteed an awesome experience meeting loads of new people – this is where the volunteering comes in! – and discovering some bands you might never otherwise have discovered.
Mama Rosin is this archetypical kind of “I went to this festival and discovered an amazing band” band. When I stewarded at WOOD Festival – an eco-friendly, small, folk and world festival held in a commune-owned field in the middle of Oxfordshire – I had several hours a day free, most of which I spent lying on the grass in front of the ‘main’ stage (a tiny construction of wood beams, smaller than an average truck). When Mama Rosin came on in the early evening I was blown away. I’m not very good at reviews, but I’ll try because I think they’re such an amazing band that they deserve a little effort.
This band is unfettered by needing to fit in to some mould. They do fit into a mould, but that’s not what defines them. Their carefree yet chilled out sound comes primarily from the lead singer’s raspy, slightly slurred, Louisiana-inspired voice combined in a delicious honey-mead with the the largely unrefined, slightly tipsy, gratifyingly simple arrangement of traditional American folk instruments upon which it rests. The banjo, the accordion, the guitar, the accordion, the washboard and the uncomplicated and imperfect harmonies pull together for a distinctly laid-back, smoky, weekend sound.
Mama Rosin prove that if you find something you love, something you can do well, you should just run with it. There is no straightforward reason why a Lebanese accordion player and a French-Swiss University drop-out decided to live in a duck farm in the Alps and spend their days making music which is plucked straight out of the Louisiana Bayeux, but I thank the powers that be that they did.
Anyway, that’s enough talking, so here’s a song for you!
It also bears mentioning that when I saw these three alpine neo-Cajuns hippity-hopping about on a stage made of sticks, I developed a minor crush on this guy:
Ok, I know that he’s not hot. Even I am not that blind — but he is my type.
On second thought, he does resemble a skinny Wolverine with a tambourine.
Well, it’s like I said.