FEBRUARY 29, 2012
First Performers Unveiled For WOMAD's 30th Anniversary Edition
Robert Plant, Buena Vista Social Club, Grupo Fantasma Among First Confirmed Artists For 2012by Tom Pryor
England's WOMAD Festival - one of the longest running world music festivals anywhere - celebrates its 30th season in 2012 with an impressive roster of artists from around the globe The festival officially announced its first batch of confirmed artists last week - including rock god/ desert blues afficionado Robert Plant, Cuban trova legends the Buena Vista Social Club, and Nat Geo Music's own GRAMMY-winning psychedelic Latin big band Grupo Fantasma.
Other acts confirmed to perform at the festival's Charlton Park stage include Mali's great guitar legend Boubacar "Kar Kar" Traore", French eclecticists Lo'Jo, India's Raghu Dixit, Norway's Ane Brun, the UK's Peatbog Faeries, Israeli-Tajik ensemble The Alaev Family and more (see complete list below).
The 2012 WOMAD UK festival - short for World of Music Arts and Dance - will take place this July over the weekend of the 27th-29th, in Charlton Park, Malmesbury, UK
But don't take our word for it, here's the WOMAD 2012 Press Release in it's entirety:
Robert Plant, Buena Vista Social Club, Raghu Dixit, Ane Brun and Terem Quartet Among The First Confirmed Artists For WOMAD's 30th Birthday Celebrations
First performers unveiled for Wiltshire's Charlton Park on July 27-29
1982 marked something of a watershed for music. Madonna released her debut
single. Abba released their last. And it was the year that we first heard Michael
Jackson's Thriller, the record that would go on to become the biggest-selling album
Meanwhile, in a field in deepest Somerset, something else was afoot - the first-ever
WOMAD Festival. And, like Madonna, Abba and Michael Jackson, the WOMAD
name is somewhat culturally iconic. Indeed, 30 years later, the organisation is in the
strongest form and rudest health it's ever known.
Ever since that first gathering in 1982, the spirit of collaboration and cross-pollination
has been WOMAD's fuel. Back then, it was Echo & The Bunnymen sharing the
stage with The Drummers Of Burundi. In the three decades since, it's always been
conspicuous and, this year, that spirit takes many forms.
There's the rather awesome prospect of Robert Plant's new project, the
Sensational Space Shifters - a heady brew of blues, gospel and psychedelia
inspired by the roots music of Mississippi, Appalachia, Gambia, Bristol and the
foothills of Wolverhampton. Longtime WOMAD face Justin Adams lines up on lead
Another Adams-associated act, the much-loved French collective Lo'Jo, will also
joined the bill this July. As well as blowing out their own 30 candles this year, the
collective return to treat all-comers with their hybrid of chanson, folk and Berber
Such musical impurity has always been welcome at scores of WOMAD events
across the word. And there's more evidence of it heading our way. Dizraeli and
the Small Gods promise to be one of the weekend's surprise discoveries, hitting
the bullseye with their highly effective take on folk and hip-hop. The same sources
are drawn upon by the USA-meets-Guinea collaboration between Joe Driscoll &
Seckou Kouyate, a partnership aiming to reduce the spiritual distance between
It's always best to approach a WOMAD event by expecting the unexpected, by
banishing those preconceptions about how music should sound from a particular
corner of the globe. Want Latin funk with a Texan postmark... Then give yourself over
to Grupo Fantasma, the 'funk orchestra' who've often been the support band of
choice for Prince. Fancy a singer-songwriter who blends ancient and modern, Indian
traditions and Western rock and pop? Then lend your ears to Bangalore's celebrated
Raghu Dixit. And fancy ska from Tokyo City... Look no further than the does-what-it-
says-on-the-tin Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra...
These Japanese ska fanatics have plenty of miles under their collective belts - as
do several other seasoned performers taking to this year's stage. The Buena Vista
Social Club continue to cast sunshine on all those within earshot with their timeless
melodies and unbreakable rhythms, while the sinewy blues of Malian songster
Boubacar Traore never fail to enthrall and charm.
WOMAD is delighted to be welcoming back those perennial Russian favourites
(and former Real World recording artists) Terem Quartet whose balalaikas and
accordions take us to St Petersburg and beyond. Further Eastern promise comes
from the highly energetic Alaev Family. Although now resident in Israel, they
unleash a torrent of Central Asian groove with songs from their native Tajikstan.
Closer to home, Bristol quartet Spiro return to Charlton Park with their mesmerising,
almost mathematical tunes, proving to be the missing link between English folk and
contemporary composer Steve Reich. More vocal-free sounds come courtesy of
Celtic fusionists Peatbog Faeries who marry an electronic sensibility with the tried-
and-tested instruments of their native Scotland - fiddles, whistles, pipes... And the
pipes are also calling for Narasirato, the high-octane Solomon Islands troupe. We'll
wager that you've never seen panpipes played so energetically.
And finally, rounding off this opening artist announcement, is Norwegian singer-
songwriter Ane Brun, most recently seen lending her striking vocal prowess to Peter
Gabriel's New Blood Orchestra and now stepping into her own limelight.
So there you have it - 15 reasons to come and help WOMAD celebrate becoming a
thirtysomething. And watch this space for many, many more reasons why attendance
WOMAD Charlton Park - July 27-29 2012
Artists confirmed so far... Alaev Family (Tajikstan/Israel); Ane Brun (Norway);
Boubacar Traore (Mali); Buena Vista Social Club (Cuba); Dizraeli and the Small
Gods (UK); Grupo Fantasma (USA); Lo'Jo (France/Algeria); Joe Driscoll &
Seckou Kouyate (USA/Guinea); Narasirato (Solomon Islands); Peatbog Faeries
(UK); Raghu Dixit (India); Sensational Space Shifters (UK/USA/Gambia); Spiro
(UK); Terem Quartet (Russia); Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (Japan).