Celebrating the world in a weekend: WOMAD 2017 builds bridges not walls


WOMAD George Clinton
Photo by Adam Gasson


Further acts announced for WOMAD Charlton Park including Goat, Oumou Sangare, Eliza Carthy and Orchestra Baobab. West Africa’s funkiest female singer, Britain’s most vibrant new folk act and the world’s coolest band of psychedelic mysterions are among the eclectic headliners in the second batch of names announced for WOMAD 2017 to be held at Charlton Park near Malmesbury in Wiltshire between 27-30 July.

Back for its thirty-fifth year, the global gathering that is WOMAD acts as a timely reminder that in troubled and uncertain moments, music has a unique power to bring people together by celebrating the world all its creative, diverse and multicultural complexity.

And the bill for this year’s WOMAD festival is as diverse as ever with more than 40 acts now announced for the four day summit of music, art, dance, food, wellbeing, discussion and family adventures, which has made WOMAD a brand leader among summer festivals.

The mysterious masked men who create an intoxicatingly psychedelic mix of rock, Afrobeat, funk, chants and tribal drums under the name Goat sprang from nowhere in 2012 to take the musical world by storm with an album aptly titled World Music. Since then they’ve released a second equally monumental album, but we’ve found out surprisingly little about them other than that they come from Sweden and prefer to let their music do the talking. Their determination to remain anonymous, of course, has only enhanced their enigmatic status as one of the hippest names to drop in both rock and world music circles.

Stylish, feisty and charismatic, Mali’s Oumou Sangare is not only one of the most powerful female voices in world music but a striking role model who has used her music to campaign fearlessly to improve the position of women across Africa. Since her first album announced the arrival as a rising new star of African music more than a quarter of a century ago, she’s sold out concert tours around the globe to become an international phenomenon. Her latest album has been hailed as the funkiest of her career - and she is an irresistible force of nature on stage, as her recent appearance at WOMAD’s Australian offshoot WOMADELAIDE proved.

The ebullient folk singer and fiddler Eliza Carthy continues on her mission to take British traditional song to places it has never been before with her latest project, The Wayward Band, featuring a ‘who’s-who’ of names in the folk world and whose live shows are exhilarating adventures in keeping traditional music vibrant and contemporary.

The opening Thursday night of the festival finds Senegal’s veteran dance band Orchestra Baobab taking the stage along with Brazilian Afrobeat band Bigixa 70 and the Malmesbury School Project, whose annual performance has become a much-loved WOMAD tradition and this year will perform with the Bristol-based global-folk outfit Sheelanagig.

Among those making their first-ever appearances in the UK are Tanzania Albanism Society, a group put together by Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan from members of the ostracised albino community who have been forced to live on one of the most isolated places on earth in Ukerewe Island in Northern Tanzania to escape persecution, and Las Cafeteras, a thrilling Chicano band from the US who mix styles from both sides of the border with Mexico and state, “The President says he wants to build a wall. Las Cafeteras want to build bridges”. Also from the US-Mexican borderlands with a similar message come Orkestra Mendoza

. Other WOMAD newcomers include the wild Brazilian fusions of Meta Meta, a solo project led by Bill Laurence, pianist with the acclaimed Grammy-winning jazz mavericks Snarky Puppy, and the Italian folk band Officina Zoe. Bonga, the veteran 74 year old voice of Angolan music, Kakatsitsi, Gubi! Family & Bwiti from Namibia’s Kalahari Desert and the London-based Beating Heart collective with their inventive remixes of field recordings complete an eclectic African contingent, while the diversity of Indian music is represented by Ska Vengers from New Delhi and the explosive Bhangra sounds of the UK-based King Gurcharan Mall & the Dhol Blasters.

Jamaica’s Inna de Yard Allstars keep the righteous spirit of roots reggae burning, the Japanese drums of Taiko Meantime promise rhythmic peals of thunder (but hopefully no rain), while Kuenta I Tambu reimagine the roots styles of the Caribbean island of Curaçao for the digital age and Xaos lend an equally imaginative 21st century makeover to traditional Greek music.

Watch this space for more exciting announcements for WOMAD 2017, including brand new ways for festival-goers to chill out in style at the WOMAD Spa and a nature-tastic theme of Earth, Fire, Water and Air at this year’s World of Children, encouraging kids to get creative with everything from dance workshops to costume design to kids yoga.

The buzzing hub of creativity that is World of Words is back and bigger than ever, brimming with poetry, talks, authors, debate and lots more to spark your imagination and The World of Art and Taste the World stage are also returning for 2017, giving festival-goers even more reason to head to the lush fields of Wiltshire this July.

WOMAD Charlton Park 2017 takes place at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, between Thursday 27 and Sunday 30 July.

Tickets and full details can be found at


Full list of performers who've been confirmed for WOMAD Charlton Park 2017 so far; Alsarah & the Nubatones (Sudan//USA) // Beating Heart (UK) // Benjamin Zephaniah and the Revolutionary Minds (UK) // Bill Laurence (UK) // Bixiga 70 (Brazil) //Bokanté (USA//Guadeloupe) Bombino (Niger) Bonga (Angola) Chico Trujillo (Chile) Eliza Carthy & the Wayward Band (UK) Emir Kusturica and The No Smoking Orchestra (Serbia) Goat (Sweden) Grupo Canalón de Timbiquí (Colombia) Gubi! Family (Namibia) // Inna de Yard (Jamaica) // Jamie Smith’s Mabon (UK) // Khmer Rouge Survivors (Cambodia) // King Gurcharan Mall and the Dhol Blasters (India//UK) // Kuenta I Tambu (Netherlands) // Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa) // Las Cafeteras (USA) // Maarja Nuut (Estonia) // Malmesbury School Project (UK) // Meta Meta (Brazil) // Nomade Orquestra (Brazil) // Officina Zoe (Italy) // Orchestre Baobab (Senegal)// Orkestra Mendoza (USA) // Oumou Sangare (Mali) // Rajab Suleiman & Kithara (Zanzibar)// Savina Yannatou (Greece) // Shobaleader One (UK) // Ska Vengers (India) // Spooky Men’s Chorale (Australia) // Taiko Meantime (UK) // Tanzania Albanism Society (Tanzania) // The Nile Project (Egypt//Ethiopia and more) // Tom Middleton (UK) // Xaos (Greece//UK) // Zhou Family Band (China)



London Wonderground – London’s home of cabaret, circus, burlesque and alternative comedy – will play host to the world premiere of a brand new show The Raunch this year. Created by cabaret legend Empress Stah, The Raunch is an electric Wild West cabaret circus in which a bombastic, sexy Western story is told through circus, music, burlesque, dance, first class visuals and an awesome soundtrack including an original song by electro-punk pioneer Peaches.

Other acts announced for London Wonderground today include the cult folk-punk-cabaret trailblazersTiger Lillies, interactive anarchy from Miss Behave’s Game Show, impossibly stylish political-comedy-cabaret from Bourgeois & Maurice and the infamous Alternative Eurovision, which makes the real thing look like Jeremy Clarkson’s Birthday Party. They’re joined at Wonderground by East End Cabaret’s deliciously chaotic Club Perverts, notorious Hip-Hop Granny Ida Barr, cuntry legend (no spelling mistake) Tina C, and mixed bill madness from Friday Night Freakshow and Boom Tish.

But, before we get to enjoy all that, the purple cow rolls back onto its pasture this April, and acts joiningUdderbelly Festival today include TV legends and podcast aficionados Angelos & Barry, the world famousSh*t Faced Shakespeare and a sizeable nostalgia trip for the whole family in the form of anarchic science romp Brainiac Live!. They are joined by such comedy heavyweights as Frisky & Mannish, Sean Hughes, The Noise Next Door,Alex Edelman, Mark Dolan, Beta Males, musical maestro Joe Stilgoe, master impressionist Jess Robinsonand Kevin Eldon, Josie Long and Simon Munnery’s Alternative Trio.

Underbelly also provides an amazing range of entertainment for the whole family including Showstoppers’Fantastical Story Factory, musical funnyman Jay Foreman and The Noise Next Door’s Family Show. All of this combines with the usual offering of food, drink, fun and two of the coolest spots in the city to hang out which make Udderbelly and London Wonderground such London institutions.

#WOMADCharltonPark @womadfestival #WOMAD2017 Instagram: /womadfestival


WOMAD FESTIVAL UK 2017 Charlton Park,

Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK, SN16 9DG 27-30 JULY


Weekend 3 day £175 Weekend 4 day £210 Teenage weekend 3 day £85 Teenage weekend 4 day £120 Children 13 and under FREE (but still need ticket)

Camp WOMAD For more information on options and prices:


                         · London Wonderground runs 5 May – 25 September