Maybe it’s a reluctance to admit that summer is finally over, but it’s hard to believe that WOMEX 2014 starts today. Four of the Songlines crew are heading out to sunny Galicia for the annual world music gathering, this year in Santiago de Compostela.
A quick glance through the line-up and lots to get excited about. Here are just a few of the music showcases I’m particularly looking forward to. Don’t forget, this is just a shortlist – there are legions of other new acts to be discovered! If you’re making your way to Spain this year, please do stop by the Songlines stand (#1.50) and say hello.
Listen to our WOMEX 2014 playlist here.
The Aboriginal singer-songwriter will make a special and rare European appearance, showcasing songs from his latest album, Uncle.
La Chiva Gantiva
The Brussels-based Colombian band rocked festival stages this summer with their unique mix of Colombian folk, punk and funk – punfklore, as they call it. They are sure to bring the party-time atmosphere to Spain.
We haven’t heard much from the Congolese king of cool since his last release, Kinshasa Succursale, in 2011. I hope this appearance means he’s got something – a tour or new album – up his sleeve.
El Gusto Orchestra
Algeria’s super orchestra of veteran Jewish and Muslim musicians.
This will be a special chance to check out the superstar from Guinea, with his passionate voice and potent songs. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Bambino in #103.
It’s good to see the young Hungarian group make an appearance. If their live shows are even half as good as their two most recent – both Top of the World – albums, then this will be a showcase not to be missed.
The Bristol string and accordion quartet went down a storm at last weekend’s Homegrown festival in Bury, so they’re sure to impress the Galicians and WOMEX delegates with their minimalism that brings to mind composers like Philip Glass or Steve Reich.
The four-piece from Malaysia perform Bidayuh roots music from Sarawak on pratuokng, a zither that is made entirely of bamboo.
Expect theatrical brilliance and a wall of sound from Korea’s percussion ensemble.
An interesting collaboration between Australian slide guitarist Jeff Lang, tabla player Bobby Singh, sarangi maestro Asim Kahn Lange and khartal player Bhungar Manganiyar. They first met at Jodhpur RIFF and got a really positive response when they performed at Celtic Connections festival earlier this year.
And don’t forget to check out the bonus CD of Galician music with the current issue.