The first wave of acts have been revealed for the 39th edition of global music and culture festival WOMAD, which takes place at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury, in Wiltshire from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th July 2020.
Fresh from her win at the Grammys last month, Angelique Kidjo returns to WOMAD performing her electrifying reimagination of Talking Heads’ Remain In Light, taking the classic original version and enhancing it with her euphoric voice and striking fusion of West African traditions with R&B, funk and jazz. There's debuts from wordsmith Kate Tempest, and iconic avant-garde rock band The Flaming Lips (pictured above). Queen of Portuguese fado and all-round superstar Mariza’s stirring sounds will take the audience’s breath away.
Haitian group RAM showcase their exuberant, joyous mizik rasin – a mix of percussive Vodou music, rock and funk creating glorious musical storytelling at its finest, their West African and Creole influences shining through. West African all-female supergroup Les Amazones D'Afrique are a creative force whose vibrant harmonies are a call to arms to the women of the world to unite and rise up against the patriarchy. Fantastic Negrito’s backstory reads like something out of a film; leaving home at 12, hustling his way to a record deal in LA before a horrific car crash broke all his limbs and left him in a coma – now he is a one-man performing whirlwind who mixes soul, blues and R&B together to tell his story through his music.
There's a return from post punk/funk Mancunians A Certain Ratio, whose last WOMAD appearance was 35 years ago, whilst Mercury-nominated ten-piece SEED Ensemble combine jazz with inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influenced grooves. On the other end of the musical spectrum is beautiful indie folk-pop from Iceland’s Asgeir.
Zimbabwean fusion group Mokoomba combine modern and traditional instruments with funk, reggae, international pop and pan-African styles to create an incredible, vibrant sound whilst speaking out about the situation back in their homeland. Sahra Halgan is one of the most prominent singers from self-declared independent state Somaliland, her warm voice articulating the struggles and strife of her compatriots, whilst Elaha Soroor, who will be performing with Kefaya had to flee her native Afghanistan after speaking out against the government.
Other acts announced today are Ak Dan Gwang Chil, Alla Leake Percussion, Bab L’Bluz, B.Dance, Barmer Boys, Cimafunk, Dizraeli, Dublin Calling All Star Band, Dudu Tassa And The Kuwaitis, Fajardo, Fra Fra, Gypsy Hill, Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon, Johanna Juhola Reaktori, Joseph Tawadros, Kefaya & Elaha Soroor, King Kong Company, King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, Lazy Habits, Mesadorm, Minyo Crusaders, Nihiloxica, Sahba Motallebi, Son Rompe Pera, Sona Jobarteh, The Alostmen, The Mauskovic Dance Band, Too Many T's, Vassvik, and Wovoka Gentle.
Along with music from all four corners of the globe there is spoken word at the World of Words with author talks, debates and discussions and the brand-new How-To Tent, fusing food and music at the Taste The World stage where artists cook up a storm, being inspired and intrigued at the World of Physics with workshops galore, chilling out in style at the World of Wellbeing and even a whole hub of discovery for little ones at the World of Children, there truly is something for everyone.
Festival-goers also have the unique opportunity to get hands on and learn from the experts some of the incredible skills on show at Charlton Park with the adult workshops; from taking dance lessons to picking up a musical instrument from the other side of the globe to mastering a new dish at Taste The World, there’s a whole world to explore at WOMAD.
Festival Director Chris Smith says ‘WOMAD has always been a beacon of positivity and joy in the world – a place where people can come and unreservedly be themselves without fear of judgement. We are proud to welcome artists, performers, traders and festival-goers from all over the world to come together and enjoy a wonderful weekend of music – this year’s line-up is our most exciting and diverse yet and the stories behind some of the artists are just astonishing.’
Tickets are on sale, currently priced as follows:-
adult 3 days: £185 (full price £200)
adult 4 days: £225 (full price £240)
teenage 3 days: £95 (ful price £105)*
teenage 4 days: £130 (full price £145)*
(*names of teenagers must be registered when purchasing tickets)
Park & Camp: £90
Children 13 and under FREE (but still need ticket)
latest on this festival
video of the day
lack of government support outside Test Events cited
including Anoushka Shankar, Jordan Rakei, The Comet is Coming, Nitin Sawhney, and more