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25th May 2017

Womad’s 35th Birthday Celebrations get bigger with more acts added

Toots And The Maytals, Roy Ayers, Seun Kuti and Egypt 80, Nick Mulvey and more among the new additions

Thirty-five years on from the first WOMAD that introduced the world’s music to keen-eared and curious music fans, the festival confirm even more artists for its annual celebration of musical delights from every corner of the globe.
The most enduring band from reggae’s heyday Toots And The Maytals are effectively a human jukebox primed to play all their hits and more – Funky Kingston, Do The Reggay, Monkey Man, Pressure Drop… And they still more than cut it live, delivering a life-affirming experience topped by the exuberant presence and soul-heavy voice of ‘Toots’ Hibbert himself.

Another musical giant is saluted this year on the 20th anniversary of his death. Fela Kuti was the out-and-out godfather of Afrobeat, the heady, funk-heavy sound of ’70s Nigeria, and celebrating the great man comes a perfectly assembled cast – Roy Ayers, Seun Kuti and Egypt 80. Jazz-funk legend Roy made the brilliant Music Of Many Colors album with Fela back in 1980, while Seun – Fela’s youngest son – is the greatest protector of Kuti Sr’s legacy. At the age of just 14, he took over his late father’s Egypt 80 band and continues to energetically lead them today.

With her explosive mix of hip hop, cumbia, dancehall and reggae, the Cuban singer, flautist and percussionist Yaite Ramos Rodriguez, aka La Dame Blanche will make her WOMAD debut delivering her powerful, compelling and extraordinary sound fusion. Born in Havana, she grew up in the heart of an awe inspiring musical cauldron that included her father, Jesus “Aguaje” Ramos; an exceptional trombonist and the artistic director of the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club.

A joyful noise is also made by those dance-punk stalwarts !!! (known verbally as ‘chk chk chk’). Drawing from disco, house, electronica and rock, theirs is a perfect soundtrack for our hard-to-define times – and it’s a soundtrack that invites your limbs to fire into action.
Nick Mulvey offers a rather more reserved musical experience, but it’s one that no less nourishing. In a world where singer-songwriters are ten a-penny, his delicate, confessional songs standing out from the crowd, creations as neatly constructed as those of his previous band Portico Quartet.

Also newly added are Amsterdam Klezmer Band, Ariwo, Clap! Clap!, Daymé Arocena, Hannah Peel & Tubular Brass, House Gospel Choir, Ifriqiyya Électrique, Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra, Lamomali, Mamadou Diabaté’ & Percussion Mania, Maya Youssef, The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, Trembling Bells and Noureddine Khourchid & the Whirling Dervishes of Damascus.

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

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