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30th March 2017

More acts announced for Malmesbury's WOMAD

Goat, Oumou Sangare, Eliza Carthy and Orchestra Baobab

Back for its thirty-fifth year, the global gathering that is WOMAD acts as a timely reminder that in troubled and uncertain moments, music has a unique power to bring people together by celebrating the world all its creative, diverse and multicultural complexity.

And the bill for this year’s WOMAD festival is as diverse as ever with more than 40 acts now announced for the four day summit of music, art, dance, food, wellbeing, discussion and family adventures.

The mysterious masked men who create an intoxicatingly psychedelic mix of rock, Afrobeat, funk, chants and tribal drums under the name Goat sprang from nowhere in 2012 to take the musical world by storm with an album aptly titled World Music. Since then they’ve released a second equally monumental album, but we’ve found out surprisingly little about them other than that they come from Sweden and prefer to let their music do the talking. Their determination to remain anonymous, of course, has only enhanced their enigmatic status as one of the hippest names to drop in both rock and world music circles.

Mali’s Oumou Sangare is not only one of  the most powerful female voices in world music but a striking role model who has used her music to campaign fearlessly to improve the position of  women across Africa. Since her first album announced the arrival as a rising new star of African music more than a quarter of a century ago. 

The ebullient folk singer and fiddler Eliza Carthy continues on her mission to take British traditional song to places it has never been before with her latest project, The Wayward Band, featuring a ‘who’s-who’ of names in the folk world and whose live shows are exhilarating adventures in keeping traditional music vibrant and contemporary.

Eliza Carthy
Eliza Carthy

The opening Thursday night of the festival finds Senegal’s veteran dance band Orchestra Baobab taking the stage along with Brazilian Afrobeat band Bigixa 70 and the Malmesbury School Project, whose annual performance has become a much-loved WOMAD tradition and this year will perform with the Bristol-based global-folk outfit Sheelanagig. 

Among those making their first-ever appearances in the UK are Tanzania Albanism Society, a group put together by Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan from members of the ostracised albino community who have been forced to live on one of the most isolated places on earth in Ukerewe Island in Northern Tanzania to escape persecution, and Las Cafeteras, a thrilling Chicano band from the US who mix styles from both sides of the border with Mexico and state, “The President says he wants to build a wall. Las Cafeteras want to build bridges”. Also from the US-Mexican borderlands with a similar message come Orkestra Mendoza.

Other WOMAD newcomers include the wild Brazilian fusions of Meta Meta, a solo project led by Bill Laurence, pianist with the acclaimed Grammy-winning jazz mavericks Snarky Puppy, and the Italian folk band Officina Zoe.

Bonga, the veteran 74 year old voice of Angolan music, Kakatsitsi, Gubi! Family & Bwiti from Namibia’s Kalahari Desert and the London-based Beating Heart collective with their inventive remixes of field recordings complete an eclectic African contingent, while the diversity of Indian music is represented by Ska Vengers from New Delhi and the explosive Bhangra sounds of the UK-based King Gurcharan Mall & the Dhol Blasters.

Jamaica’s Inna de Yard Allstars keep the righteous spirit of roots reggae burning, the Japanese drums of Taiko Meantime promise rhythmic peals of thunder (but hopefully no rain), while Kuenta I Tambu reimagine the roots styles of the Caribbean island of Curaçao for the digital age and Xaos lend an equally imaginative 21st century makeover to traditional Greek music.

WOMAD takes place at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, between Thursday 27 and Sunday 30 July. 
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