Sunday, 29 July 2018 22:47

WOMAD spectacular ends on a high Featured

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TENS of thousands of people enjoyed an eclectic mix of music, dance, arts and sumptuous food at this year's WOMAD festival.

The four-day extravaganza had a little bit of something for everyone, with the acts providing classical music to drum and bass, jazz to DJ sets, Bollywood to rock and gospel choirs to reggae, among others.

A total of 128 countries were represented at the Charlton Park festival, near Malmesbury, that also offered cooking sessions, poetry slams, yoga, children's rides and much more.

Despite the heavy showers and strong winds, which caused many tent casualties, the spirits of the masses was never dampened.

WOMAD veteran, Andrew Bradstreet, has been coming to the festival since 1985 and he said this year's edition was a real treat.

"I have been coming for such a long time because of the variety of fantastic music on show that you do not get anywhere else," said Mr Bradstreet, who travelled up from Brighton.

"I see things that continually blow me away. I am very interested in world music and this is a fantastic place for that.

"You see things you do not expect and then you want to stay for more. It enriches your body and your mind."

American music producer, Ian Brennan, travels across the globe in search of singers whose music is under-represented internationally, making recordings of musicians and producing albums of their work.

Having worked successfully with prisoners in Malawi and war survivors in Cambodia, his latest project is Abatwa, the endangered ‘pygmy’ tribe of rural Rwanda recorded by Ian and put out as the album Why Did We Stop Growing So Tall? on his Glitterbeat label.

"We are willing to lose money doing it and to go through all the bureaucratic planning, the travel because it is all worth it when it comes off," he said.

"The organisers at WOMAD work all year in making things like this possible. The work they do behind the scenes to put on such a diverse festival is superb.

"Putting this project together takes years. Some singers didn't have passports, had not been on planes and for some this is a once in a lifetime thing, so you have to treasure it even more.

"WOMAD makes this possible and that is very special."

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