24th February 2012
Robert Plant, Buena Vista Social Club and more for WOMAD's 30th Birthday Celebrations
Raghu Dixit, Ane Brun and Terem Quartet among the first confirmed artists for Wiltshire's World Music Festival 30 years on and WOMAD finds itself is in the strongest form and rudest health it’s ever known. Ever since that first gathering in 1982, the spirit of collaboration and cross-pollination has been WOMAD’s fuel.
The first acts have been confirmed for the big 30 this year with Robert Plant’s new project, the Sensational Space Shifters – a heady brew of blues, gospel and psychedelia inspired by the roots music of Mississippi, Appalachia, Gambia, Bristol and the foothills of Wolverhampton set to perform in the Wiltshire countryside. WOMAD face Justin Adams lines up on lead guitar.
Another Adams-associated act, the much-loved French collective Lo’Jo, will also joined the bill this July. As well as blowing out their own 30 candles this year, the collective return to treat all-comers with their hybrid of chanson, folk and Berber stylings.
Dizraeli and the Small Gods promise to be one of the weekend’s surprise discoveries, hitting the bullseye with their highly effective take on folk and hip-hop. The same sources are drawn upon by the USA-meets-Guinea collaboration between Joe Driscoll & Seckou Kouyate, a partnership aiming to reduce the spiritual distance between continents
Want Latin funk with a Texan postmark? Grupo Fantasma, the ‘funk orchestra’ who’ve often been the support band of choice for Prince. Fancy a singer-songwriter who blends ancient and modern, Indian traditions and Western rock and pop? Then lend your ears to Bangalore’s celebrated Raghu Dixit. And fancy ska from Tokyo City? Look no further than the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra…
These Japanese ska fanatics have plenty of miles under their collective belts – as do several other seasoned performers taking to this year’s stage. The Buena Vista Social Club continue to cast sunshine on all those within earshot with their timeless melodies and unbreakable rhythms, while the sinewy blues of Malian songster Boubacar Traore never fail to enthrall and charm.
Returning are those perennial Russian favourites (and former Real World recording artists) Terem Quartet whose balalaikas and accordions take us to St Petersburg and beyond. Further Eastern promise comes from the highly energetic Alaev Family. Although now resident in Israel, they unleash a torrent of Central Asian groove with songs from their native Tajikstan.
Bristol quartet Spiro also with their mesmerising, almost mathematical tunes, proving to be the missing link between English folk and contemporary composer Steve Reich. More vocal-free sounds come courtesy of Celtic fusionists Peatbog Faeries who marry an electronic sensibility with the tried-and-tested instruments of their native Scotland – fiddles, whistles, pipes… And the pipes are also calling for Narasirato, the high-octane Solomon Islands troupe.
Finally, rounding off this opening artist announcement, is Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun, most recently seen lending her striking vocal prowess to Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra and now stepping into her own limelight.
Tickets are on sale now - Adult Weekend Tickets £135, Teenager (14-17 Year Olds) Weekend Tickets £70, Disabled Weekend Tickets £135, Thursday Tickets £25, all Children 13 and under are free.
WOMAD - Thursday 26 – Sunday 29 July 2012 - Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire.