|Paperhand Puppet Parade on Saturday at|
That's one of the most fantastic things about this bi-annual festival, they've shed all of the pretensions that come with the festival circuit, nobody is vying to be the hippest, nobody is trying to shed light on the most obscure bands of the weekend. These people are out here to share the timeless experience of witnessing live music from all over the world. Acts came from lands as far away as Zimbabwe and Brazil and as local as Pittsboro and Chapel Hill to create a wonderful festival filled with good vibes and good times.
|Keller Williams and The Travelin' McCourys|
|Dark Water Rising|
After taking in some of Thousands of One I had to head to the main stage to take in the heavily hyped sounds of Oliver Mtukudzi & The Black Spirits, this Zimbabwean icon was nothing short of incredible as his songs seamlessly blended elements from traditional African music with soulful pop to create an infectious sound that compelled the crowd to let go and be the beat. Droves of fans packed in close to the Meadow Stage to immerse themselves in these fantastic tunes and as I joined in on the dancing I realized that this was one of those defining Shakori moments that everyone hopes for. Acts like Oliver Mtukudzi are the backbone of this festival, they're heavily lauded acts that are transplanted to this remote farm in a rural North Carolina county and suddenly the language barrier is gone. While fans may not understand all of the lyrics, the passion and talent on display is as universal as the polyrhythms and sharp instrumentation that has compelled these festival goers to release their inhibitions and let the music take them over. Oliver Mtukudzi was a fantastic way to kick off the late-night sounds of Shakori, as DJ Bill Kelly and Equanimous Minds took the festival in an entirely different direction. Electronic music doesn't find itself at Shakori very frequently, but when it does it is usually in the form of the groundbreaking music of Equanimous Minds. While the last performance they gave at Shakori left little room for improvement, the group has somehow outdone themselves by adding in an electric fiddle to the mix, fleshing out the already dense layers of spastic percussion and pounding bass lines. While DJ Bill Kelly was a fantastic way to warm up the excited Dance Tent, nothing compared to the set from Equanimous Minds on Saturday night. Bopa King Carre's blazing percussion breaths life into the beats on display from DJ Adam Sikora. Transfusing house beats with the organic sounds of various hand drums, Equanimous Minds had festival goers of all ages dancing until the wee hours of the morning. While the transition from DJ Bill Kelly to Equanimous was seamless, I found myself eager to escape the dance tent to check out the last bit of Dirty Bourbon River Show at Carson's Grove before DJ Richard McVay took the stage. I caught the last three songs of Dirty Bourbon's set and their raucous carnival-esque stylings had the crowd worked up into a fit of uncontainable excitement. Through quirky and bouncing tunes about topics as flippant as their impressive facial hair, Dirty Bourbon displayed their immense levels of talent through their absolute control over this anxious crowd. After their set I checked back on DJ Richard McVay, but sadly the set felt more like college night at the club than late night at Shakori, as an MC awkwardly rapped through songs from Gnarls Barkley and various other pop/soul acts that simply don't need to be rapped over. My late night adventure ended with a trip to the drum circle which was called short after I saw a girl nearly fall into the fire. Bad vibes, man.
|Yomira John w/ The Beast on Sunday|
Looking throughout the crowd at Locos Por Juana provided the perfect snapshot of the Shakori weekend. Dreadlocked hippies and mud-covered bros alike were shedding their preconceived notions of what genre is hip, they were losing their care of who sees them dancing in what sort of way and simply enjoying themselves. Letting the rhythms take over. That's what keeps bringing me back to Shakori, a sense of kinship among complete strangers. So once again, I sit here only a week out of this fantastic festival and I've already begun to count down the days until I can do it all over again.