TWO WOMAD ACTS FOR 2020 ANNOUNCED:

 |   |  1 min read

TWO WOMAD ACTS FOR 2020 ANNOUNCED:

In the past some of the first announcements of acts for the Womad in Taranaki have been a bit underwhelming. (Dragon?)

But the two groups announced for next year's three day festival of music, dance, food and conversation with artists from around the world look like hitting the right note.

First out of the gate are the Blind Boys of Alabama and Seckou Keita with Catrin Finch.

The Blind Boys of Alabama have had a very long career (they formed in 1939) and inevitably there have been line-up changes due to members moving on or dying, but their sound remains rooted in gospel and doo-wop close-harmony singing with an often uplifting and joyous spirit.

As we have noted previously, add a backbeat to what they do and the gospel-cum-soul element gets very close to rock'n'roll.

It can certainly rock your soul.

They have appeared in New Zealand opening for Robert Plant, Aaron Neville and Mavis Staples, and on record they have collaborated with the likes of Koko Taylor, Ben Harper, the Oak Ridge Boys, Willie Nelson, Amadou and Mariam, Marc Cohen and many many others.

They have won Grammys and numerous other awards and accolades, and don't let that “blind boys” bit fool you, there are active men not constrained by the stage and can take their dancing and singing right into the audience.

Now that's what you call a strong Womad announcement.

Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch are something else again.

Keita is a gifted kora player from West Africa and his 22 Strings album was one of Elsewhere's best of 2015 choices. And as far back as 2006 we were talking about him.

In recent years he has teamed up with Celtic harp player Catrin Finch (we mentioned them here) and if you know the sound of the kora you can imagine why, the two instruments are like cousins from different countries.

Their 2018 second album Soar won many accolades (“Hypnotic and ethereal, Soar is a unique marriage of cultures”, wrote Neil Spencer in the Observer) and both albums appeared in critics and readers polls as the best of their respective years.

We offer sample clips from both acts below.

So the 2020 Womad Aotearoa in Taranaki – March 13 -15, New Plymouth – gets a fine launch and more announcements will follow.

For details on Womad and ticketing go here.

For Elsewhere's extensive coverage (previews, interviews, reviews) of previous Womad festivals and artists start here.

.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

SUSAN AGLUKARK INTERVIEWED (1995): Inuit into the mainstream

SUSAN AGLUKARK INTERVIEWED (1995): Inuit into the mainstream

It is 1995 and Susan Aglukark is speculating on how she’d like to see herself in five years; married certainly (she and her boyfriend have talked about it), a lot of children, learn to... > Read more

La Chiva Gantiva: Pelao (Crammed Discs)

La Chiva Gantiva: Pelao (Crammed Discs)

With horns and electric guitars, this outfit which was formed in Brussels by expat Colombian percussion players bring as much funk and Fela Afrobeat as they do rocked-up South American sounds... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST ARTIST GARETH THOMAS opens his laptop in downtime and . . .

GUEST ARTIST GARETH THOMAS opens his laptop in downtime and . . .

Elsewhere writes: When Gareth Thomas' delightful second album Fizzy Milk arrived we were immediately struck by the cover, and said as much in our review. And so smitten were we that we invited... > Read more

Rome, Italy: When in Rome

Rome, Italy: When in Rome

I don't know his name, never did, and it isn't important anyway. Let's call him Big Marco because that's who he looked like. I arrived at Big Marco's small hotel in Rome early one morning having... > Read more