WOMAD festival complete their superb line up

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Vieux Farka Touré, Creole Choir Of Cuba And Oi Va Voi have been added to the 2011 line-up

So this is it, festival complete, the final selection of artists have added even more weight to a line-up that’s already arguably the strongest in years. ….this means we are dangerously close to that fantastical weekend of WOMAD @ Charlton Park

A year on from playing to a televisual audience in the billions at last summer’s World Cup opening concert, we’re delighted that Vieux Farka Touré is able to return to Charlton Park at the end of the month. This is a man who, over the last few years, has confidently stepped out of his father’s shadows (the Malian great Ali Farka Touré, of course) to become heir apparent to the African blues throne. For this ambitious, unblinkered young man, the sky’s the limit and the world is waiting.
Oi Va Voi have been around for several summers now and once boasted KT Tunstall in their ranks. But no matter the line-up, they’ve always successfully married the deep-lying traditions of Jewish music with an appealing pop sound to strong effect. Also calling London Town home, Lail Arad is most definitely – in that time-honored vernacular – one to watch. Guitar-picking female singer-songwriters are ten-a-penny, but Lail stands out thanks to her songs’ pithy observations on modern life, all delivered with plenty of swing and sass – and a devilish way with a sharp lyric.

The Creole Choir of Cuba focuses their sights on the deep musical traditions of Haiti, the country from which many of the choir’s ancestors were forced to flee and resettle in neighbouring Cuba. Aziz Sahmaoul is a performer who continues to embrace the music of his Moroccan homeland, even though he’s an adopted Parisian. A former singer with Orchestre National de Barbes, his latest outfit – the University of Gnawa – matches chaabi and gnawa traditions to the sounds of Senegal. 

The final slots on the bill are filled by some competition winners. Tori Ensemble topped the pile when Resonance Korea, an organization promoting South Korean culture, put out an open call for a place on the WOMAD bill. Their graceful amalgam of traditional Korean music, jazz and contemporary classical won the day. WOMAD ran its own competition too – an online contest, the winners of which were chosen by WOMAD’s festival-goers. The two bands who reigned supreme were the acoustic group The Bear Beats Band from North Wales and West Country ska outfit The Communicators. Their prize was to make their Charlton Park debuts.

So there you have it – the final pieces in this year’s Charlton Park jigsaw. 

Published on 07 July 2011 by DavidCullingham

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