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23rd February 2017

Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Benjamin Zephaniah confirmed for WOMAD

Plus Emir Kusturica, Bombino and Squarepusher's Shobaleader among the first acts announced

WOMAD is back for its thirty-fifth year as a vibrant, joyful and timely reminder that in a world where division and isolation are increasingly prominent, music can still bring people together from all around the globe.
 
As well as musicians from every imaginable background the event will host a mix of art, dance, food, wellbeing, discussion and family activities.
 
The first names of acts appearing at this year’s gathering at Charlton Park near Malmesbury in Wiltshire between 27-30 July have been announced.
 
Ever since they appeared on Paul Simon’s Graceland album more than three decades ago, Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been a household name right across the globe, thanks in no small part to their near-constant touring schedule: “we are the travelling musical academy for South African culture,” they proudly boast. And their trademark sound – that weightless, dignified choral singing – still sounds as stirring today as it did when they formed in the mid-60s.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
 
There’s plenty going on in 2017’s chaotic world for Benjamin Zephaniah to take his pen to. And he’s back to voicing his discontent through the medium of music, with the poet striking up the band again for his latest musical project – Revolutionary Minds. 
 
Emir Kusturica is something of a polymath, a man with the confidence and talent to turn his hand to many things, whether it’s film-making, acting, writing or music. When he puts on his musical hat, the Serbian is found in the company of The No Smoking Orchestra, his ragged band of musical miscreants who deliver a wild, iconoclastic (and sweat-soaked) take on East European gypsy and folk traditions.
 
Shobaleader One is the side project of Squarepusher, a live band that also features the equally mysterious monikered Strobe Nazard, Company Laser and Arg Nution. They specialise in full-band revisits of Squarepusher classics from over the years, adding a vital, visceral dimension to tunes already held dear by the great man’s acolytes.
 
Also announced are Alsarah & the Nubatones, Bokanté, Bombino, Chico Trujillo, Grupo Canalón de Timbiquí, Jamie Smith’s Mabon, Khmer Rouge Survivors, Maarja Nuut, The Nile Project, Nomade Orquestra, Rajab Suleiman & Kithara, Savina Yannatou, Spooky Men’s Chorale, Tom Middleton and the Zhou Family Band.
 
“This is the perfect collection of artists to kick off WOMAD 2017. Some new faces and some old friends returning after a long absence, all of whom I’m certain will demonstrate the extent to which WOMAD still, after thirty-five years, has the power to surprise people and give them a musical experience they’ve never had before.
 
As well as providing a festival experience like no other, we increasingly, in the age of Brexit and Donald Trump, feel responsibility to champion those who are willing to share their culture with others, celebrate variety and build bridges not walls” 
WOMAD’s Global Festival Director Chris Smith

WOMAD Charlton Park 2017 takes place at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, between Thursday 27 and Sunday 30 July 2017. Tickets are available from the Festival Website
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