First up is the energetically named ATOMIC BOMB! THE MUSIC OF WILLIAM ONYEABOR, the fluid supergroup that revives and celebrates the music of the eponymous reclusive 1970s Nigerian synth pioneer William Onyeabor. The group will flood WOMAD stage to recreate and remix his trademark futuristic grooves. Whilst the line-up is still to be announced, Atomic Bomb! is the project of Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor and Beastie Boys’ Money Mark, while special guests have previously included Damon Albarn and David Byrne.
- Bringing artists from across the world, already counting Syria, Tibet, Mali, Senegal and South Korea among those already announced to the 2015 line-up, WOMAD welcomes a folk rock trio from closer to home: Hertfordshire hailing THE STAVES, made up of three silken-voiced sisters whose bold second album ‘If I Was’ was released earlier this year to critical acclaim.
- Six-piece funk fusion, Australian band, THE CAT EMPIRE, whose imminent Royal Albert Hall date has sold out, will bring their powerful live show to Charlton Park. Having played at WOMAD festivals across the world, the UK’s audience will be the next to experience their atmospheric performance, stuffed with extended jams and anthemic songs that cross genres of rock, jazz, ska and reggae with flourish.
- Fast earning a reputation of presenting the most energetic shows over the weekend, The Big Red Tent will see the pairing of DADDY G of Massive Attack & dancehall MC DEEMAS J, who will collaborate live on stage. A second DJ/MC collaboration will see the Red Tent brought down by long term sparring partners SHY FX & STAMINA MC with dynamic jungle/drum collaboration.
- More cutting-edge sounds come from MBONGWANA STAR who hail from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their traditional Congolese guitar sound is wrapped in distortion and echo, and adorned with beguiling electronics. More traditional sounds from Africa come in the form of KASSE MADY DIABATE, the venerable, velvet-voiced elder of Mali, a man who's been a stately ambassador for his country's music for almost half a century.
- From the southerly tip of the same continent come more musical elders, the MAHOTELLA QUEENS, the vocal trio from Soweto who remain the guardians of classic-era township jive. A contemporary of the Queens – albeit from another continent – is TOTO LA MOMPOSINA. One of the true totemic figures from WOMAD history who first appeared at in 1992, this will be the veteran Colombian singer's only UK date this year. Someone who also is no stranger to a WOMAD stage is the Slovenian artist MAGNIFICO who thrilled everyone at our bash in Caceres in Spain earlier this year with his unique fusion of Balkan brass, disco, funk and surf guitars.
- WOMAD, a place for enlightenment and discovery, is also proud to welcome newer artists including:
- Alhousseini Anivolla & Maarja Nuut (Niger/Estonia)
- The Sahara meets the Baltics in this fascinating collaboration between desert blues-playing electric guitar and folk-dance violin.
- Chassol (France)
- Genre-straddling and multi-talented musician/producer/arranger with a strong soundtrack heritage and a border-free outlook.
- Criolo (Brazil) Sound-of-now singer/MC from Sao Paulo who's collaborated with Brazilian legends Seu Jorge and Caetano Veloso, and Ethiopian titan Mulatu Astatke.
- Nightmares On Wax (UK) Leeds-via-Ibiza DJ/producer who's been fusing hip-hop, house, dub and much more for quarter of a century now.
- Pascuala Ilabaca (Chile) Smoky, accordion-led torch songs courtesy of this young female troubadour from the coastal city of Valparaiso.
- Sheelanagig (UK) String-driven Balkan grooves from this exuberant five-piece with their tongues often planted firmly in their collective cheeks.
- Sinkane (Sudan/USA)
- A mainstay of the Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor project, Sinkane is one Ahmed Gallab, a UK-born, US-raised musician who fuses together electronica, funk and Sudanese pop.
- The Soil (South Africa) Exceedingly creative, heart-racingly soulful three-part harmonies and vocal gymnastics from Johannesburg.
- Tal National (Niger) The missing link between those familiar desert blues and legendary West African outfits like the Rail Band and Les Ambassadeurs. The Guardian, for one, praised their “hypnotic intensity”.
- Violons Barbares (Mongolia/France/Bulgaria) Multinational trio of multi-instrumentalists with bagfulls of invention and virtuosity. Throat singing too!
- Winston McAnuff & Fixi (Jamaica/France) One of the unlikeliest partnerships this weekend sees Winston's reggae vocals dovetailing with Fixi's perfectly Parisian accordion.
- Wrongtom Meets Ragga Twins (UK) Turntable-straddling DJ from South London provides the beats and breaks for the pioneering jungle MC brothers.
These artists join the impressive list of performers who've already been confirmed for WOMAD Charlton Park 2015 – De La Soul, Tinariwen, Bellowhead, Souad Massi, Laura Mvula, Ghostpoet, Cheikh Lo, 47 Soul, Acholi Machon, Aurelio, Banda Magda, The Correspondents, Count Drachma, Delaney Davidson, Dona Onete, Egyptian Project, ESKA, Ester Rada, Ezza, Hossam Ramzy, Ibeyi, Jambinai, Kala Chetena Kathakali Company, Kapela Maliszow, Kim Churchill, Kočani Orkestar, Lee Fields & The Expressions, L’Hijâz’Car, Luke Vibert, Luzmila Carpio, Mahmoud Ahmed, Malmesbury Schools with Tomorrow's Warriors, Molotov Jukebox, Nazim Ziryab, Ngawang Lodup, Noura Mint Seymali, Olcay Bayir, Orange Blossom, Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro, Osaka Monaurail, Red Baraat, Sagapool, Shantel & Bucovina Club, Shikor Bangladesh All Star & Lokkhi Terra, Sona Jobarteh, Spiro, Swindle LIVE, Tashi Lhumpo Monks, Tigran, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Tulegur and The Very Best.
Beyond the Music
WOMAD is a feast of culture. Apart from experiencing the hottest musicians and inspiring new talent from around the world there is always much more to discover throughout the festival.
There is the popular Taste the World stage where some of the artists will show off their cooking prowess and Taste The World Restaurant will lay on sumptuous spreads of local, seasonal and completely natural food from all around the globe.
The All Singing All Dancing Tent will make a welcome return with firm favourites; the early-bird yoga sessions, sabar dance lessons and Japanese taiko drumming. In World Rhythms you can drum to your hearts content with the best drummers from around the world and listen to the musician very own inspirational stories.
The World of Wellbeing, located throughout Charlton Park’s lush arboretum, offers an oasis of treatments, therapies, discussions, workshops and spaces to simply get away from the bustle of the main arena. And for those who fancy a luxurious moment to themselves and a scrub up, the WOMAD spa, complete with treatments, spa pools, sauna, boundless showers and a cocktail bar, is the place to go.
WOMAD’s World of Art will once more see invited artists use the entire festival site as a giant canvass on which to create specially commissioned pieces and the World of Words to debate and discuss the things that matter in the world we live in.
Festivalgoers can experience the sights, smells and tastes of the festival’s diverse food traders, shop 'til they drop in the Global Market or simply enjoy the vintage rides at Carter's Original Steam Fair.
The dedicated kids zone World of Kids will be bursting with things to see with the usual wide-ranging programme of workshops, entertainment and activities around the theme Myths, Legends and Folktales from around the world. On Sunday afternoon the much-loved Children’s Parade, one of the festival highlights, will wind its way through the festival site. WOMAD continues its well established place as the best festival for the whole family, by allowing all children 13 years and under, in for free.
WOMAD – The World's Festival