Founded in 1980 by Peter Gabriel, WOMAD is an annual celebration of music, art and dance from all over the world, and currently takes place in six cities globally. The UK leg of this year’s festival is staged between 24th and 26th July at Charlton Park in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and features another brilliantly diverse line-up, ranging from hip hop, R&B and electro-pop to Ethio-jazz, Mbaqanga and Japanese funk. Check out our pick of the line-up below.
Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor
Though revered by musicians since the late 70s, Nigeria’s William Onyeabor remained something of a cult hero until last year. Thanks to the efforts of David Byrne’s label Luaka Bop, and this Ahmed Gallab-led supergroup (featuring Alexis Taylor, Pat Mahoney and Money Mark) thousands more are now finally discovering Onyeabor’s synth-led funk. Atomic Bomb! headline the Open Air Stage on Saturday.
The daughters of legendary Cuban percussionist Anga Díaz, Cuban-French twins Lisa-Kainde and Naomi draw on their unique heritage in their work as Ibeyi. Released on XL Recordings this year, their self-titled debut is a soulful fusion of hip hop, electronica and folk, sung variously in English and the West African language Yoruba. Impressively, their piano and cajón-based compositions are arguably even more spellbinding live.
Fusing futuristic electronics and post-punk basslines with fluid guitar work and traditional Congolese rhythms, Mbongwana Star are one of our favourite musical discoveries of 2015 so far. Don’t miss your chance to see the DRC-based sextet in the Siam Tent on Saturday, where they’ll be showcasing material from their absolutely astonishing debut, From Kinshasa.