Saturday, 9 July 2011

Cornbury Festival, Oxfordshire - Review

The Cornbury Festival is an English summer fete writ large. Primary schools fundraise by baking cakes, mini-Boden-clad children scamper with candyfloss. A nice military type is entertaining the crowds with songs on the piano: it’s James Blunt. Off-duty Morris dancers break into a frenzy of hanky-waving to Bellowhead’s brassy bawdry. A woman is singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” but she is the real Cindi Lauper. The Dire Straits tribute band boasts multiple former Straits members. The Madness tribute act is Olly Murs – theX-Factor also-ran, as a button and a festival headliner in embryo.

Less often seen at summer fetes is a 70-year-old Red Indian (her term) in a heavily studded leather jacket, tearing at ear-splitting volume through five decades of music. Buffy Sainte-Marie’s band of much younger Manitoban musicians revelled in the changes. A headdress was tipped to Elvis in the breakneck rockabilly of “Blue Sunday”, all “Since My Baby Left Me” and “Saturday Night Ain’t Nothing to Me”. And Broadway collided head-on with country and western on “He’s an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo”.

Although Sainte-Marie was a smiling presence, the songs burned with anger. Once she dispatched the schmaltzy “Up Where We Belong”, her Oscar-winning song, in a reading pitched halfway between Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker, the material darkened into punk aggression. On “No No Keshagesh” she scolded rapacious corporations. “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” was an account of miscarriages of justice and the persecution of the American Indian Movement, the reggae rumble of the verses kicking up into a defiant chorus.

By David Honigmann

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Mal Johnson said...

A rather 'Corny' Cornbury writeup for a "Red Warrior" who has brought the plight of the "First Nations" fight to the public, through her music, nigh on these last 50 years or so. Unfortunately the fight is still there and bless her soul, so is she. The last fight you Britons had, when your land was grabbed, was probably with the Roman Empire, "How soon you forget" Eh! The "Red Indian" are still involved, to this day, in that fight to claim Sovereignty, Equal Citizenship and Land Rights denied them these many years since the White Mans arrival.. If you'er tired of hearing her "Sad Songs" Please get on the bandwagon and help get the 'Treaty Rights' settled and I bet she and her people will inundate you with "Happy Songs".

delcrowe said...

The Britons usually did the grabbing in establishing their 'Commonwealth Empire'. They were an inspiration to Nazi Germany with the methods used to pacify the natives of the lands that they encountered.