Preview: WOMAD UK @ Charlton Park (Malmesbury, 28th to 31st July)


WOMAD UK will be upon us again very soon. From the 28th to the 31st of July the fields around Malmesbury will resound to the sounds from a multitude of musicians from all over the world. There has to be at least one African superstar, and there are several. Following the release of his new album The Traveller Baaba Maal will take to the stage with his new band, while Toumani Diabate joins forces with the old Songhai crew of thirty years ago, Juan & Josemi Carmona & Javier Colina. Meanwhile, there’s a great cohort of African women. Mariam Doumbia (of Amadou and Mariam fame) is here with a new project of women musicians from Mali, Les Amazones d’Afrique, while Aziza Brahim adds her Saharawi flavour to the festival. And, for those who love their desert blues Anana Harouna will be there with his band Kel Assouf .

Old favourites Anoushka Shankar, Konono no. 1  and the Tashi Lhunpo Monks make an appearance as do newcomers. The incredible Blick Bassey from Cameroon (who supported Baaba Maal on his recent tour), the wonderful collaboration that is N’Diale (Breton fiddler Jacky Molard and Malian vocalist Foune Diarra) and hiphop salsa outfit from Colombia La Mambanegra are well-worth checking out. There’s a good contribution from UK-based ‘world music’ bands, but there is one special act from Scotland – The Grit Orchestra led by Greg Lawson performing a live version of Grit, a sample-ridden album of the famed and tragic genius that was Martyn Bennett. And of course there has to be a ‘heritage’ act. This time it’s George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic . Groovy!

A new WOMAD app to send you alerts and provide a site map may be a cheaper alternative to the printed programme, and in the Arboretum an Australian wine producing company is sponsoring the Taste The World stage, while Bowers & Wilkins continue to experiment on us with their multichannel sound system.  See you there!

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