Review: Womad 2017 (Malmesbury, 30th July 2017)

2016-07-31_e_peopleatmos_womad2016_emma-marshall_019

This year, we only got a glimpse of the music bonanza offered by the Womad UK weekend. Our stay in Malmesbury consisted of a hit-and-run or a ‘toccata-and-fugue’, in-keeping with the musical topic, and saw us pay a visit to Charlton Park on the last day of the event.

Still, we enjoyed a bellyful of tasty, quality and suggestive sounds, next to some layers of mud on our wellies – due to the intermittent rain and inevitable stage-hopping.

When you think that you’ve seen and listened to them all, Womad will always be there ready to surprise you one more time. We were indeed spoilt for choice since the early afternoon on the conclusive day of the 2017 edition.

In front of the BBC Radio 3 Charlie Gillett stage, King Ayisoba gathered together many dedicated and rain-dancing fans to enjoy his organic North Ghanaian Kologo. Under the Siam Tent, Noureddine Khourchid & the Whirling Dervishes of Damascus brought their uplifting Sufi melodies, enriched by mystic and spellbinding dance moves, directly from the torn-apart-by-war Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.

From there on, it became quite clear that the last hours of the Festival were also going to be a “spiritual” experience as well as a musical one.

After those Syrian Sufi rituals, Benjamin Zephaniah and The Revolutionary Minds showed their audience how to be effective and thought-provoking urban preachers, thanks to their straightforward metrics and hip-hop and dub vibes.

The almost metaphysical character of the programme became even more emphasised by ÌFÉs gig in the lush backdrop of the Ecotricity Stage. The white-dressed Puerto Rican musicians, led by Otura Mun, are indeed Santeria devotees, and their credo is embodied in their music. The Afro-Caribbean and Latin roots of their sound are adorned by their refined and rarefied electronic arrangement, which is able to guide their listeners in an uplifting and rhythmic musical ceremony.

Meanwhile, there was another kind of devotion displayed by Msafiri Zawose. Since an early age, the Tanzanian musician has dedicated his life to the Ilimba (Tanzanian thumb piano) and today, he is one of the most renowned and original interpreters of the Gogo tradition. His one-man-show (Msafiri also plays the zeze, kalimba, flute and Ngoma drum) was a journey through some of the most authentic traits of Eastern African music.

To keep up with the ritualistic mood, a few minutes after the end of Msafiri Zawose’s gig and just a few steps away, Womad’s Main Stage audience could luxuriate themselves in a musical bacchanal. Chilean group Chico Trujillo didn’t spare any effort in letting people dance and inebriate themselves with their intoxicating and original new Cumbia and upbeat versions of traditional songs like “La Fiesta de San Benito”, “La Pollera Amarilla” and “La Medallita”.

We closed our “otherworldly” Womad 2017 adventure with a show that can be easily described as the epitome of the day. Ariwo’s performance was indeed the perfect sum of Middle Eastern (and Sufi hints) electronic melodies assembled by the Iranian sound wizard Pouya Ehsaei, with organic Afro-Latin notes (and Santeria imagery) played by Cubans Yelfris Valdes (trumpet), Oreste Noda (congas) and Hammadi Valdes (drums and percussion).

It wasn’t “simply” about the talent of the four musicians on stage, but how their sound could envelop and elate the crowd. Their prolonged and ethereal compositions, built on electro-soundscapes, precise trumpet solos and dilated percussion and drum beats, have the ability and intensity to detach their listeners from reality.

Which is also what Womad has been able to do every year since 1982. For a weekend in July, Womad-goers can be sure that they can take a break from their everyday life and immerse themselves in an uplifting music experience.

Content Related To These Artists

Gallery: Chico Trujillo @ Rich Mix (London, 29th July 2017)

They came, they played, we danced all night to their wild cumbia vibes! That’s, in a few words, the recap of the short, but intense, London visit of Chico Trujillo. Between one gig and another of their Euro tour, the Chilean band found the time and energy to turn Rich…

Artists: Chico Trujillo

Album Review: Ariwo – Ariwo [Manana Records, June 2017]

Ariwo‘s eponymous EP may only be four tracks long, but the length of the tracks gives it more of an album feel and, indeed, one on an opus level. Bridging an extraordinary cultural and global gap, this quartet is one part Iranian and three parts Cuban and explores the rich…

Artists: Ariwo

Preview: Chico Trujillo @ Rich Mix (London, 29th July 2017)

It happened little more than a year ago. On a quiet April night, London was stormed by a cyclone cumbiero. Camden and the Electric Ballroom were battered by the uptempo rhythms coming from Valparaiso and branded distinctly as Chico Trujillo. The sound of the band from Vila Alemana (a few…

Artists: Chico Trujillo

Review: Manana//Cuba – A Night of Afro-Cuban Collaborations @ Barbican (London, 26th May 2017)

That euphoric swelling an artist feels when they connect with their audience is what rumba musicians describe as ‘Manana’. The purity of this Cuban chemistry was the motivation behind the 2016 Manana//Cuba Festival in Santiago de Cuba, the Manana record label, and subsequently this month’s Barbican gig. Three friends are…

Artists: Ariwo , Dj Tennis , Obbatuké , Plaid , Soundspecies , Yelfris Valdés

Interview: King Ayisoba [April 2017]

King Ayisoba, as his name states, is the king of Ghanaian music. He plays his sacred kologo, a two-stringed wooden instrument, like no one else does and the energy and power of his singing are able to reach everyone indiscriminately. On March 31st he released for Glitterbeat Records his latest…

Artists: King Ayisoba

Album Review: King Ayisoba – 1000 Can Die [Glitterbeat Records, 31st March 2017]

It’s very interesting to observe how contemporary sounds meet the heritage of tradition, especially in African countries, which are rapidly embracing the advantages of modernity, while still enjoying deep ties to their ancestral cultures and customs. Ghanaian singer and kologo player King Ayisoba does exactly that, but inverts the formula;…

Artists: King Ayisoba

Review: Chico Trujillo @ Electric Ballroom (London, 27th April 2016)

The historical Electric Ballroom in the heart of Camden Town, was indeed a ballroom on April 27th. Few bands are able to make the audience dance from the beginning until the very end, but Chico Trujillo is definitely one of them, with their music making it physically impossible to stay…

Artists: Chico Trujillo , DJ Cal Jader , Rokola

Review: Ariwo & A Guy Called Gerald @ The Pickle Factory (London, 16th April 2016)

Ariwo are a little-known, and newly-established, world fusion act. Led by sound designer, Pouya Ehsaei, they are a quartet of celebrated instrumentalists exploring Afro-Cuban, Iranian and electronic atmospheres. Their ever-growing list of accolades and projects is immense, including trumpeter Yelfris Valdes’ participation in the Buena Vista Social Club, and Latin…

Artists: A Guy Called Gerald , Ariwo

Preview: La Linea Festival (London, 17th – 28th April 2016)

As it’s happening since 2001, for ten days in April, London sounds and plays Latino. The responsibility rests on ¡COMO NO! which, 15 years ago, started to organise one of the most chéveres Festivals of the London music scene. La Linea has indeed brought to the British capital some of the finest,…

Artists: A Guy Called Gerald , Adanovsky & Xavi y Los Imanes , Ana Moura , Ariwo , Baloji , Calexico , Chico Trujillo , Criolo , Daymé Arocena , La Yegros



There are no comments

Add yours

Get an exclusive FREE compilation album each month compiled by us
Just sign up to our FREE monthly newsletter
Your e-mail address will not be passed on to anyone!
Never display this again