WOMAD, the global party that brings together music, culture and people from all over the world, today announces its first wave of artists taking to the stage at Charlton Park near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, 25-28 July 2019. Now celebrating its thirty seventh year, WOMAD is a glorious melting pot of music, dance, food, art, spoken-word, poetry, science and more, embracing the joys of diversity and tolerance at a time when the world needs it more than ever.
Five-time Grammy award-winning reggae superstar Ziggy Marley (Jamaica) will bring the richest Jamaican heritage there is to the WOMAD stage with his soulful and empowered sounds. Over his career, he has honoured his family’s heritage in making music that has a social conscience, whilst asserting himself as a true reggae star in his own right. Joining him is Orbital (UK), the homegrown collective of house and techno legends who are back with a new album Monsters Exitto deliver one of their famed live shows that have transformed festivals across the globe. Dramatic virtuoso guitarist Anna Calvi(UK) will also bring her queer, beautiful and thunderous sounds to the WOMAD stage.
The ‘golden voice of Africa’Salif Keita (Mali),will also gracethe sunny fields of Wiltshire. The Malian afro-pop singer legend’s cocktail of pop, funk and jazz and African rhythms will set the stage alight. Funk legends Cymande (UK), are another act who combine the best of western and African musical traditions, and who recently reunited after a four-decade hiatus. Joining them will be the energetic, passionate Afro-punk band Tshegue(France/Democratic Republic of Congo) whose mix of tribal sounds with garage rock have made them one of thehottest groups on the Parisian scene, led by the astonishing Faty Sy Savanet.
Reggae reigns strong at this year’s festival, as the remarkable Brushy One String (Jamaica)joins the line-up. Orphaned and illiterate as a child, he played his guitar so hard he broke five of its six strings, and consequently went on to accomplish more with one string than most people can do with six. Decades later he brings the style that carried him from his Jamaican township and around the world. Also representing the Carribean, the trio Delgres(France) fusion of hypnotised rock, earthy soul and caustic garage links French, Caribbean and US cultures.
Petite Noir(South Africa) is a force of nature already, hurtling towards the stratosphere; he hit international airwaves in 2018 with his single Blame Fire, gaining critical and commercial success. Also making waves areLes Filles de Illighadad (Niger),the first ever all women “Tuareg” (or Desert Blues) band. From a tiny commune, their ancient and passionate music speaks to a proud and ancient tradition that is descended from centuries of songs that tell the remarkable story of the Tuareg people. Acclaimed singer, composer and oud player Dhafer Youssef(Tunisia) combines mystical and jazz influences with Arabic lyricism and electronic, funky grooves to achieve beautiful sounds, whilst Nadine Shah (UK) draws on her Pakistani/Norwegian heritage to create a brooding and intense blend of pop and jazz-kissed post-punk.
Melding theatre and music areDakhaBrakha(Ukraine), the folk quartet whose raw, expressive sound jumps from intimate to riotous in a moment. Their performances are usually accompanied by the traditional instrumentation of India, Africa, Russia and Australia and led by powerful and emotive vocals, and their appearance at WOMAD will be no different. Keeping the energy levels high, the frenzied and wild ensemble Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino(Italy) have been at the forefront of reinventing and revitalising traditional Southern Italian Pizzicamusic.
Soul and R&B come together beautifully with Liniker e os Carmelows(Brazil), a band from inner-city Sao Paulo who, unable to afford studio time, have their passionate fans to thank for crowdfunding them and giving them the opportunity to record their first album. Three years later, their global tour arrives at WOMAD on the shoulders of those first fans who believed in them.
The world’s festival is also honoured to welcomeUstad Saami (Pakistan), the last living master of Surti,a style of music nearly 1000 years old, regarded as blasphemous by some religious extremists who have made threats on Ustad’s life for performing the ancient art. The music dies with him, so his WOMAD appearance is a once in a lifetime experience.
As well as the stellar line-up of musicians taking to the stage, WOMAD offers a chance to celebrate the spoken word in the World of Words with talks, debates, panels and performances,to get even closer to the artists as they rustle up their favourite dishes from home atTaste the World and to be inspired in the World of Physics with workshops galore. Festival-goers can also chill out in style at the World of Wellbeingwith hundreds of therapies to heal your mind, body and soul and, for the younger ones, a whole universe of fun and games at the World of Children,this year cosmically themed all around Space, as well as offering over 80 free workshops all day every day where festival goers can delve deeper into the music, the moves and the inspiration of some of the amazing WOMAD artists. More names to be announced soon.
“WOMAD, our world music festival, was established with the specific intent of featuring all the richness and magic of our cultural differences. Meanwhile, across the globe we’re watching cynical politicians growing powerful on a diet of fear and hate. The world is more divided than ever and there’s never been a better reason for people to bring all the barriers down, to relax and connect through music, art and dance. Every year at WOMAD it is our differences, our diversity, that become the reason we want to be together. Long Live WOMAD!” – Peter Gabriel
Other artists announced today;
An eleven-strong techno marching band from the heavy industry factories of Hamburg.
A Change is Gonna Come (UK)
Thrilling supergroup (members include Carleen Anderson and jazzers Nikki Yeoh and Nubya Garcia) with new interpretations of the music of human rights. Expect reworkings of songs from Gil Scott-Heron, Woody Guthrie, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye and more.
Built on a foundation of a deep reggae section and crowned by an Afro-jazz horn section, the Soothsayers juggernaut rolls into WOMAD ready to celebrate their twentieth birthday.
Orquesta Akokan (Cuba)
Big Band, horn-heavy music with a contemporary twist played by Cuba’s finest players and led by the great Jose “Pepito” Gomez.
Channel One Sound System (UK)
With 40 years of bass culture under its belt, the world’s most celebrated sound system Mikey Dread and MC Ras Kayleb combine to make some of the world’s most revered and well known dub reggae music.
Saint Sister (Ireland)
With a rare combination of power and grace, these women share their angelic debut album with Womad. They can make heartache sound like velvet and anger sound like cashmere.
Kraftwerk re:werk with the Paraorchestra(UK)
An onstage experiment, imperilled by its audacity, sees a 39-piece ensemble (Britain’s largest orchestra of disabled musicians) simultaneously reworking the music of the mighty Kraftwerk.
BaBa Zula (Turkey)
Psychedelic Turks bring their unique music to WOMAD having spent the last 22 years pushing the boundaries of surreal perfection.
Specialising in a ‘soul shaking, horn fuelled sound When West African roots and Inner London hues’, this jazz band plays the music it loves. It doesn’t get cooler.
Vaudou Game (Togo)
Specific to this region of Africa is the use, during vaudou rituals, of characteristic lyrics that differ from everything one may hear in neighbouring cultures. Hear them sung atop of energetic 70’s Afro-funk.
Jungle by Night (Netherlands)
The nine-headed collective melted a decade of passion, friendship, and influences from krautrock, dance, jazz, afrobeat together. A danceable and thundering live-act that connects with crowds like no other, with beaming fun and energy along the way.
Electrifying and dynamic, Nimba is based on the ‘African Ballet’ tradition which was born in Guinea to tell the stories of the Griots, (travelling musicians and the region’s oral historians) and combines breath taking acrobatic dance with visual storytelling.
Victoria Hanna (Israel)
Her music has been described as Kabbalistic rap, and is based on Sefer Yetzira (the Book of Formation, or Book of Creation) and it has made such an impact that Forbes listed her as one of Israel’s 50 most influential women in 2015.
London-based band Hejira perform their brand-new LP Thread of Gold. Music written on the road in Ethiopia – you’ll hear displacement, bereavement and, ultimately, the indomitable nature of the human spirit.
Château Rouge (Gran Canaria) Spain
Château Rouge is an experimental project that unites country, indie, blue-grass and American folk music with varied instruments.
Soham De (UK)
A veteran of 250 shows to-date this year alone, the 21-year-old songwriter brings his unique emotion and intensity to bear in every performance.
Maija Kauhanen (Finland)
One of the brightest rising stars in Finnish folk, Maija Kauhanen is incredibly versatile and talented in every direction, as a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer.
Scottish prize-winners who have entranced audiences across the world’s leading folk festivals.
Maysa Daw (Palestine)
Her live performances are raw and honest, her music a primarily personal reaction to the hard and harsh world around her. As a Palestinian living inside the Green Line, she shares a voice we can all learn from.
Szun Waves (UK)
This improvisational trio entwines the threads of spiritual and experimental jazz with those of electronic music.
Kim So Ra (South Korea)
Kim So Ra is one of the most skilled and prominent Janggu (Korean double-headed drum) players in Korea and is known for her genre-bending performances combining Honam Province Jeongeup folk music with creative, charismatic and modern interpretations.
Vula Viel (UK)
Vula Viel is a jazz group playing music based on the sound of the gyil, a wooden xylophone from West Africa. Iggy Pop described their music as “Beautiful… dance to it, make love to it, consume it, listen to it, stare at the clouds to it…. That music deserves good reactions!”
Macha y el Bloque Depreseivo (Chile)
The band that was born out of the slowest, most depressing songs. Played to calm down overheated Chilean audiences. The songs of this group are suffused with the luxurious sadness, romantic despair and perverse happiness of poets, sailors, and sinners.
Marja Mortensson (Norway)
Born into a reindeer herding family, her songs capture the transcendence and vitality of the Norwegian environment, as well as both the nobility of reindeer and her commitment to the protection and revitalisation of the endangered South Saami language and customs.
Lindigo (Réunion Island)
Rootsy Indian Ocean eight-piece who play maloya, the chant-heavy music of their home island that was originally created by Malagasy and African slaves. In Olivier Araste, they have a powerful and charismatic lead singer. “I was born maloya,” he says. “I breathe maloya. I will die maloya.”
The Lemon Bucket Orkestra (Canada)
A Canadian self-described “Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk-Super Band” hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
With the rhythms of the Sabardrums – a traditional form of Wolof drumming from Gambia and Senegal – at its heart, Fofoulah’s music is an inspired mix of spoken word, electronic music, dub, improvisation, and afro-rock.
Gili Yalo (Ethiopia/Israel)
From his base in Tel Aviv, Gili Yalo combines Ethiopian roots with Soul, Funk, Psychedelic and Jazz music to tell the hidden story of Operation Moses. The CIA and Israel Defence Force operation that covertly evacuated thousands of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan during a famine in 1984.
Madalisto Band (Malawi)
Discovered busking outside a shopping centre in 2009, this two man musical army is described as ‘Uplifting and Vibrant’ by the BBC and can always be counted on to get the crowd on their feet.
Both a virtuoso player and a master craftsman of didgeridoos, nobody can reach the heights of playing and understanding that the ‘Australia’s Dalai Lama’ can.