Posts Tagged ‘ladysmith black mambazo’

WOMAD Charlton Park 2017: Sunday

Posted on August 1st, 2017 in News, Recent posts by .

WOMAD Roy Ayers

Roy Ayers; Photography by Tom Askew-Miller

African stars old and new delight the Charlton Park crowds on the final day

Those who braved the lakes of treacle-like mud, wind, rain and eventually sun were treated to a glorious day of music on Sunday at WOMAD, featuring many newcomers plus a handful of legendary acts such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Roy Ayers and Bonga.

The day began at the Charlie Gillett stage with the BBC Radio 3 and 6Music simulcast broadcast. Presenters Lopa Kothari and Cerys Matthews were the as ever glamorous and entertaining hosts, whose guests included the Mexican chicano group Las Cafeteras from Los Angeles; Msafiri Zawose from Tanzania and the Ska Vengers from India.

The first act on the Open Air stage was Mamadou Diabaté from Burkina Faso and his troupe of balafon (wooden xylophone) players. Perhaps it was their thunderous percussive sound that briefly kept the showers at bay and meant they attracted a big crowd. They were certainly one of several acts from Africa who really shone out.


Mamadou Diabate WOMAD

Mamadou Diabaté in Percussion Mania

On the same stage later that afternoon came Bonga, the resplendent singer from Angola. Now in his 70s, Bonga has recently released his 30th album, yet he’s still a striking figure onstage, with a deeply powerful and soulful voice. The light, semba dance rhythms of his music belie the fact that many of these songs are ones of resistance – in the early 70s his music was banned by the Salazar dictatorship in Angola.

Following on from one veteran’s performance, it was the turn of a new star in the making, Msafiri Zawose who had earlier charmed the crowd during the simulcast. His own solo set was an excellent showcase of this young musician who is keeping the Zawose family musical legacy of gogo music alive. He’s the fifth child of the late Hukwe Zawose and plays the zeze, a two-stringed bowed instrument that resembles the ritti, and the ilimba, a type of thumb piano. His new album, Uhamiaji, comes out at the beginning of September on the Soundway label – look out for more about him in a forthcoming edition of Songlines.

WOMAD Ladysmith Black

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

British folk star Eliza Carthy and her Wayward band put on one of the standout performances of the weekend. Comparisons with Bellowhead are inevitable but Carthy’s 12-piece band proved they are worthy successors of English folk’s finest big band crown. Always a hugely entertaining performer, Carthy is clearly relishing playing with this new outfit who have a punk-like attitude to the folk tradition. Their set included songs from their debut album Big Machine and rapper Dizraeli who joined them onstage for the song ‘You Know Me,’ Carthy’s response to the refugee crisis. Thankfully the torrential downpour at the start of their set was short-lived – “dance between the raindrops!” urged Carthy – and by the time they had finished, the delighted crowd and jubilant band were basking in sunshine. Even a rainbow made a brief appearance as the sun set on a veritably muddy yet enjoyable 35th edition.


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First acts announced for WOMAD Charlton Park 2017

Posted on February 23rd, 2017 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bombino and Emir Kusturica are among the first acts announced for this year’s WOMAD Charlton Park Festival from July 27-30

The first wave of names have been announced for this year’s WOMAD at Charlton Park. Recognised as one of the greatest world music events, the festival returns to its regular setting at the Wiltshire site this summer.

The hugely popular household name that is Ladysmith Black Mambazo will take to the stage this year, alongside politically-minded Benjamin Zephaniah with his new musical project, Revolutionary Minds. Emir Kusturica is also sure to lead a lively set of Eastern European folk and Gypsy music, with help from The No Smoking Orchestra.

Maarja Nuut, the Estonian vocalist and fiddler, will also make an appearance, as will Alsarah & The Nubatones, whose track ‘Ya Watan’ featured as a Songlines Top of the World in #123.

Other confirmed acts so far include: 

Shobaleader One (UK)

Bokanté (USA/Guadeloupe)

Bombino (Niger)

Chico Trujillo (Chile)

Grupo Canalón de Timbiquí (Colombia)

Jamie Smith’s Mabon (UK)

Khmer Rouge Survivors (Cambodia)

Maarja Nuut (Estonia)

The Nile Project (Egypt/Ethiopia and more)

Nomade Orquestra (Brazil)

Rajab Suleiman & Kithara (Zanzibar)

Savina Yannatou (Greece)

Spooky Men’s Chorale (Australia)

Tom Middleton (UK)

Zhou Family Band (China)


For tickets and more information, visit


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Live | Inala featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo on tour

Posted on September 23rd, 2014 in News, Recent posts, Reviews by .


A unique collaboration between choreographer Mark Baldwin, dancers from The Royal Ballet and the South African choral legends

South Africa’s iscathamiya (a capella) group Ladysmith Black Mambazo need little introduction. Since featuring on Paul Simon’s Graceland album back in 1986, they have become one of their country’s most famous musical exports. They’ve also proved themselves masters at collaboration, performing with the likes of Taj Mahal, Stevie Wonder and even the queen of country, Dolly Parton.

LBM’s latest project Inala is billed as ‘a Zulu Ballet.’ It’s an ambitious work with choreography by Rambert artistic director Mark Baldwin, music by composer and pianist Ella Spira, stunning dancing from 11 young dancers – and of course, the joyful singing of LBM. The programme calls it a ‘somewhat abstract visceral experience’ – a fairly accurate description, given that there is no storyline to speak of. Instead, it’s a series of evocative vignettes portraying life – both rural and urban – in South Africa.

The show opens at sunrise with the cast of dancers resplendent in a variety of exotic bird headdresses, accompanied by some lovely, comedic, hen pecking impersonations from the nine LBM members. Some of the scenes are frankly baffling – are they squatting mosquitoes or rounding up bees for honey? No matter; indeed once I stop trying to figure out what is going on, the sheer exuberance of the dancing and soulfulness of the singing completely wins me over.

LBM are a constant presence onstage, either gently swaying in unison, performing their trademark shuffling, or engaging in some impressive leg kicks together with the professional dancers, much to the delight of the audience. One small gripe is that, besides the percussion, the piano accompaniment jars and feels at times superfluous. The best moments come with  LBM doing what they do best – simply singing altogether in deep and soulful harmony.

All in all, a highly enjoyable evening and a show that is bound to yet further boost LBM’s already sizeable fanbase.

Inala is currently on tour in the UK until October 4. See for details


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September 2014: Top 10 UK Live Events

Posted on August 29th, 2014 in Live, News, Recent posts by .

After a brief hiatus for our festival-packed summer, the Top 10 gig guide is back, with a list of ten of the best concerts happening this September, so you don’t miss out!

Swanage Folk Festival

O'Hooley & Tidow black and white

Set in the majestic surroundings of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, Swanage Folk Festival is a three-day affair featuring both local artists, and acts from further afield. The incredibly infectious Blackbeard’s Tea Party will be performing twice over the weekend – including a Saturday night ceilidh – and Songlines favourites O’Hooley & Tidow (pictured) will play on the Sunday evening.

Where & When: Across Swanage, Dorset, September 5-7, More info.

Tashi Lhunpo Monks


The Tashi Lhunpo Monks started their mammoth European tour last month in Dorset, but return to the UK for a further 19 dates this September. The monastery which was forced out of Tibet following the national uprising in 1959 is now based in Karnataka, India. Cultural exchanges are occasionally organised by various trusts worldwide, and this is a great chance to see some wonderful performances by the Tibetans.

Where & When: Across The UK, September 6 – October 18, More info.



This September offers a rare opportunity to catch Celtic superstars Altan at an intimate venue in London. Cecil Sharp House will play host to the Irish group who have been a stalwart of the Irish traditional music scene for the past few decades.

Where & When: Cecil Sharp House, September 11, More info.

Africa Utopia


Africa Utopia at the Southbank Centre celebrates the influence of the African diaspora upon ideas on how to improve our world through ways of thinking about culture, sustainability, technology and community. There are talks, debates and workshops across the weekend – including a bustling street market – and performances by the Kinshasa Symphony (pictured), and five-piece Simply Soweto Encha.

Where & When: Southbank Centre, London, September 12-14, More info.

Mulatu Astatke


With a glistening career spanning 50 years, Mulatu Astatke has established himself as one of the finest musicians and bandleaders in Ethiopia. Last year’s Sketches of Ethiopia was a Top of the World, not to mention a personal highlight, and he recently headlined the brilliant Shambala festival. Catch him at the Royal Festival Hall this September for what promises to be an outstanding show.

Where & When: Royal Festival Hall, London, September 13, More info.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo with members of the Royal Ballet in Inala


This unique collaboration at the fabulous Sadler’s Wells Theatre sees the award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin work with choral superstars Ladysmith Black Mambazo to produce a brand new production, which fuses South African and Western cultures on stage. Its combination of contemporary dance and choral mastery will prove to be a unique experience, so make sure you catch the show during its four-day residency this month.

Where & When: Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, September 17-20, More info.

Lulo Reinhardt


The grand-nephew of Gypsy-jazz legend, Django Reinhardt, takes to the stage this September for a tour across the UK. He combines a variety of different influences in his work, including flamenco, Latin, and Brazilian jazz.

Where & When: Across the UK, September 17-October 29, More info.

The London African Music Festival


This September sees the 12th London African Music Festival take place. Spread across 16 venues over ten days, the festival features some fantastic performances from world-famous acts including Niger’s Bombino, Guinea’s Sékouba Bambino, and Ghana’s King Ayisoba. There is a London debut for Malian songstress Mamani Keita, and the British-Ghanaian funk band Yaaba Funk (pictured) are set to tear up Rich Mix on September 19.

Where & When: Across London, September 19-28, More info.

Çiğdem Aslan


Following the success of last year’s Mortissa, Çiğdem will tour the UK this September and October. The ‘Making Tracks’ tour opens at the Brighton Dome, and finishes up at Cambridge’s Junction three weeks later.

Where & When: Across the UK, September 21 – October 7, More info.

Sahara Soul


Following last year’s sold-out event, Sahara Soul returns to the Barbican with a younger generation of artists set to take the stage. Western Sahara’s Aziza Brahim (pictured) has been going from strength to strength recently, having released Soutak her first album for Glitterbeat Records – earlier this year. There will also be performances from Noura Mint SeymaliNabil Baly Othmani, and Touareg band Tartit. Read more about all these artists in this issue’s cover feature (#103, October issue).

Where & When: Barbican Centre, London, September 27, More info.


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