Sol Nation

The Australasian World Music Expo is a three-day event showcasing some of the most exciting world, indigenous, roots and folk music the planet has to offer. It’s all about world music with cooked-up beats and spicy rhythms. And for Melbourne band Sol Nation, landing a gig at the AWME is a pretty big deal.
With the event attracting some of the world's most prominent and influential festival bookers, talent agents, record labels and media for workshops, panel discussions and industry networking, Sol Nation have been hard at work in the rehearsal studio and are planning to put on a mind blowing show.
The seven-piece band formed in 2007 and were originally something of a continuation of the Dili Allstars – the Australian and East Timorese reggae/ska band and one of the leading voices in support for the East Timorese people. However, as Paulo Almeida (lead vocalist) and Colin Badger (lead guitarist) point out, Sol Nation’s message is not one fixated on East Timor but rather one that fits into a global context.
“My lyrics are about things that are happening at the moment, everyday life; our message extends beyond East Timor,” says Paulo, while Colin adds, “Music can be a great healing force sometimes. It breaks down barriers… it’s more powerful than religion and politics.
“In every country in this world,” he continues, “some sort of shit is happening and music is the one thing we can all relate to at one point or another – get up and dance! Have a good time, forget about the bad times.”
Placed under the genre of ‘world music’ the band describe themselves as ‘a meeting of nations and cultures.’ With Paulo’s homeland being East Timor, Deline Briscoe (backing vocalist) an indigenous Australian and their pianist Gerald Frederic from Mauritius, the cultural diversity is more than evident. But in fact, what is ‘world music’? What sound does this genre label produce? Even the two lead gents in the band can’t quite give a pinpointed answer. “[That’s a] very hard question my friend,” muses Paulo.
“We don’t really like to label our music, ‘cause we try and experiment with all different types of rhythms and beats, so we usually leave it for our audience to decide. I guess people like to label us as ‘world music’ because we sing in three to four different languages. But as long as people are happy and feel good about our music I don’t really care what label it is,” Paulo explains before quickly adding “Ohhhhh!!! If I had to describe it…” he grins. “A big melting pot of cooked up-beats and spicy rhythms.”
From this description, Sol Nation’s vibe seems sexy, carefree and way too much fun. Guitarist Colin is hoping that their good vibe and uniqueness will draw in some well-deserved attention at the Expo. “I don’t think we’re quite like any other band,” he ponders. “We have a uniqueness that evolves from our different backgrounds and different influences. Sometimes that can produce something special. And this AWME gig gives us the chance to showcase that.”
Paulo agrees that the Australasian World Music Expo will be a great opportunity to showcase their music and to show people what Sol Nation are all about.
Quick begs the question, what are Sol Nation all about? What is their ultimate goal? Could it be fame and fortune? Paulo is quick to answer the question, stating that fame and fortune are the least of their worries. “If we can change someone's life with our music than it’s a good thing…” he posits.
“I've had people coming up to me after a show and thanking me for our music cause it’s helped them change their life in some kind of way… and that to me is better than winning an ARIA or selling twenty million albums. Sol Nation are about the music and having a good time.”
With an EP already released and now with the AWME slot under their belt, Sol Nation are now preparing to record a live album, which should be out early February, and also have a European tour planned for late August, early September next year.
So Melbourne get ready to dance because according to Sol Nation, they “always bring the party feeling with us whereever we go,” Paulo asserts, “and no matter what problems you have, once you listen to our music it will cure you straight away! So leave your troubles at home and bring your dancing shoes!”
We also heard that they draw a crowd big enough for their percussionist, Daniel Mrocki, to stagedive into. A sight not to be missed.