Posts Tagged ‘womad’

Live Review | WOMAD 2016 – A World of Workshops

Posted on August 6th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

WOMAD ©Tom Askew-Miller

Graham Green provides an alternative view of this year’s WOMAD Charlton Park, in Wiltshire, July 28-31 from the perspective of the festival’s myriad workshops. Photo by Tom Askew-Miller

Everyone who comes to WOMAD wants to get closer to the music and perhaps learn some new dance moves or beat some unfamiliar rhythms on a drum, right? Well, no, not everyone. While thousands will be gathered at the Open Air Stage or filling the enormous Siam Tent, there may be a couple of hundred intrepid people in a smaller tent participating in one of the 30 or more workshops which run during the festival. The workshops seem to distil the spirit of WOMAD: uplifting for both participant and performer and generating waves of warmth between the two.

This year’s world tour in Wiltshire started for me in the desert of Rajasthan; my guide being the Grammy award-winning Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and his mohan veena, a sort of sarod-slide guitar hybrid. He and his team of singers and percussionists describe some of the Indian classical traditions that inform their music and then demonstrate individually and collectively their instrumental and vocal skills. The privilege for the audience is being able to see and hear the musicians at work from almost touching distance, and not on a remote stage.

A more participative workshop came courtesy of JP Percussion & Co and their ‘Rhythms of Rio’. Shakers, blocks and drums were distributed to a crowd eager to samba. JP’s tutoring in English was delivered in a surprising, soft Irish accent but the rhythms were complex cross-weaves of sound which seemed as authentically Brazilian as a one-hour workshop can allow. A WOMAD workshop crowd are always enthusiastic pupils and JP’s hand signals were followed to the last thunderous beat. Everyone was smiling as we shook, rattled and rolled.

Intrigued by hearing Italian band Kachupa in the Siam Tent brought me to their workshop afterwards. Their singer led us through traditional Italian folk dances, such as the tarantella, while the band played their blend of Mediterranean musics mixed with a little reggae skank here and there. The band audibly levitated when joined by an audience member playing a large tambourine with considerable dexterity.

Then, it was a short walk next door to Poland, or to be more specific, to what appeared to be a barn dance led by the Pied Piper of Hamelin. There was something rather darkly alluring, folkloric and elemental about the fiddle, hurdy-gurdy and wooden flute music of Muzykanci and the dances led by our particular piper. Lines of dancers  snaked round and round, up, down and through each other in limb twisting contortions. The atmosphere resonated with something pre-Christian and mysterious.

Finally, back to Italy, or rather, Sardinia and Cuncordu e Tenore de Orosei, a five-piece a capella band. Their tradition is centuries old and speaks of an age and a place where instruments were prohibitively expensive or simply not available. The workshop started rather tentatively as the singers appeared unsure of their audience. But it coalesced beautifully when the singers moved to the centre of the floor and the audience formed concentric circles around them. We moved counter-ways around the band as they sang. Both band and audience were visibly lifted by this arrangement, which, it occurred to me, was the proper presentation of this fundamentally ‘folk’ music. A formal concert presentation, with separation of performer and audience, cannot create the atmosphere we had in this tent.


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Songlines is now an Apple Music curator

Posted on July 1st, 2016 in News, Recent posts by .


Songlines becomes the first world music magazine to be an official playlist curator on Apple Music 

We are thrilled to announce that Songlines has officially teamed up with Apple Music’s streaming service to create bespoke playlists for you – fans of music from around the world. As the leading magazine for world music, Songlines’ expert, specialist contributors will be fashioning the finest playlists, highlighting some of the world’s best music whether it be traditional, folk, contemporary or fusion – classic tracks and hidden gems.

With more than 13 million paid subscribers, Apple Music’s playlists have been a wonderful addition to the world of music streaming, offering a fabulous roster of curators including other magazines like Jazzwise, Pitchfork, NME, Vogue and Rolling Stone.

We’ve launched our Apple Music page with the following line-up of playlists:


WOMAD Charlton Park always provides a fantastic weekend of music from around the world and this year is quickly shaping up to be their best yet. From well-loved, veteran acts like Baaba Maal and Anoushka Shankar to newer names on the scene, like quirky Bosnian band Dubioza Kolektiv or the very hip Ghanaian pop singer Wiyaala, there will be plenty to satisfy every musical palette. Playlist by deputy editor Alexandra Petropoulos.

Balkan brass

Balkan brass describes a genre that has developed across the southern Balkan nations of Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania. In these nations brass bands, often featuring Roma musicians, play at weddings, parties, funerals and festivals, their music ranging from mournful to storming party ravers. Romanian village band Fanfare Ciocarlia’s dynamic live shows, high speed playing and imaginative cover versions has won them audiences from Moscow to Vancouver. Boban Markovic is a Serbian Roma trumpeter who is widely considered the greatest Balkan brass musician. Ekrem is a Roma trumpet player from Southern Serbia and his brass band play a gentler, more jazz influenced music. Kocani Orkestar hail from Macedonia and are highly respected across Europe. Playlist by Garth Cartwright for Songlines.

Best of summer festivals 2016

It’s just not summer in the UK until you’ve spent a weekend dragging yourself through the mud to see the undeniable wealth of bands at one of the hundreds of festivals. This year there are homegrown acts and bands from sunnier climes who will be sure to rock their respective stages, rain or shine. Here are a selection of some of the best acts to keep your eyes on this summer, playing at Larmer Tree Festival, WOMAD Charlton Park, Cambridge Folk Festival or Shambala Festival. Playlist by deputy editor Alexandra Petropoulos

Hip-hop across the Americas

Since its humble beginnings in downtown New York, hip-hop has become one of the United States’ biggest cultural exports. The music has brought forth innumerable scenes and provided a voice to the politically disenfranchised across the globe. It bears particular significance across Latin America owing to a geographical proximity that has seen a body of work emerge holding hip-hop at its core whilst possessing an expansive range of regional influences. This fervent musical dialogue is documented here, with appearances from both US artists who possess Latin American ancestry and tracks from the most vibrant local scenes south of Tijuana. Playlist for  by Alex de Lacey for Songlines.

Quintessential kora

The rippling strings of the kora define the sound of West Africa. But the instrument is also hugely versatile as this playlist shows, whether played solo by the virtuosic Toumani Diabaté, duetting with the Welsh harp of Catrin Finch, the cello of Vincent Ségal or the trombone of Roswell Rudd, underpinning the Afro-pop fusions of Ba Cissoko and Toumani’s son Sidiki Diabaté, or creating exotic textures for western rock stars such as Björk. Playlist by Nigel Williamson for Songlines.

Songlines Music Awards 2016

Featuring nominated artists in the seven categories in the Songlines Music Awards 2016: Best Artist, Best Group, Africa & Middle East, Americas, Asia & South Pacific, Europe and Fusion.

Totally Tropicália

In 1967 a group of Brazilian musicians dared to go against the status quo. At that time Brazil was very protective of its music, samba and bossa nova had to remain pure, to stay clear of Western influences. But, with the influence of The Beatles, Rolling Stones and US soul music getting greater in Brazil, something had to give. The tropicália movement showed that it’s possible to integrate foreign pop, rock and soul music into Brazilian music, without it losing its soul. They showed that avant-garde and kitsch ideas can be included in the same song, and that Brazilian music can be as radical as any music being made anywhere in the world. Playlist by Russ Slater for Songlines.

We will be producing new playlists regularly, exploring all of the world’s sounds, so be sure to check back often and follow Songlines on Apple Music.

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More acts announced for WOMAD Charlton Park 2016

Posted on April 7th, 2016 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


Lura, Ana Tijoux, and Les Amazones d’Afrique are among the second wave of acts announced for this year’s WOMAD Charlton Park Festival from July 28-31

Following February’s announcement of the first wave of acts heading to Wiltshire this year, WOMAD have revealed the latest surge of artists who will take to the stages this coming July. 

Cape Verdean singer Lura graces the stage following the release of new album Herança, the brilliant Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux delivers her socially aware material, and extraordinary all-woman supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique – featuring Oumou Sangaré, Mariam Doumbia of Amadou & Mariam, and Mamani Keita – showcase some of Mali’s greatest female singers.

Other confirmed acts include: 
Asiq Nargile (US)
Broadway Sounds (Australia)
Charles Bradley (US)
Chouk Bwa Libète (Haiti)
Cuncordu e Tenore de Orosei (Italy)
Hanoi Masters (Vietnam)
Heartbeat (Israel/Palestine)
Hindi Zahra (Morocco/France)
John Grant (US)
La Mambanegra (Colombia)
Mercedes Peón (Spain)
N’Diale (France/Mali)
Roots Manuva (UK)
Sons of Kemet (UK)
Soom T (UK)
Wiyaala (Ghana)
Xaos (Greece/UK)

For tickets and more information visit

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First acts announced for WOMAD Charlton Park 2016

Posted on February 25th, 2016 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


George Clinton, Baaba Maal, Ibrahim Maalouf and Aziza Brahim are among the first acts announced for this year’s WOMAD Charlton Park Festival from July 28-31

The first wave of acts 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 in celebration of its tenth anniversary at the Wiltshire site.

P-Funk pioneer George Clinton and his legendary band Parliament Funkadelic will take to the stage, Senegalese musician Baaba Maal returns to the line-up following on from the release of his album The Traveller and acclaimed French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf will deliver his enchanting, expressive performances for the occasion.

Aziza Brahim, a musical spokeswoman for the people of the Western Sahara, also makes an appearance. Her new album, Abbar el Hamada, is released on March 4 on Glitterbeat Records. Read more about her in our next issue (#116, on sale March 4). 

Other confirmed acts include: 
Afriquoi (UK)
Baloji (DRC)
Blick Bassy (Cameroon)
Dom La Nena (Brazil/France)
The East Pointers (Canada)
Ethno Trio Troitsa (Belarus)
The Grit Orchestra (UK)
Hot 8 Brass Band (US)
Lula Pena (Portugal)
Moh! Kouyaté (Guinea)
Muzykanci (Poland)
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band (Ghana)
Sidestepper (Colombia)
Tetish (Israel)
This is the Kit (UK)
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (India)

For tickets and more information visit

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