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Friday, 19 December 2014 11:19 am

WOMAD 2013 to bring music and colour from far flung countries

FROM the “Hendrix of the Sahara” to the Monks of Tibet to a seven-piece gypsy punk band – these are just some of hundreds of musicians descending on Taranaki for its annual World of Music and Dance festival.

WOMAD 2013 in New Plymouth’s Bowl of Brooklands boasts a line-up of more than 200 artists from 21 countries. Their musical styles range from folk to electronica to reggae to traditional Tibetan chanting.

WOMAD appeals to people of all ages and with all kinds of musical preferences, says Taranaki Arts Festival Trust artistic director Drew James.

“There’s something for all generations,” Mr James told NewsWire during the launch at Parliament.

“[There are] lots of different influences, and cross-overs between the traditional and the contemporary.

“Some acts are sublime to sit and listen to, and others you won’t be able to stop dancing to.”

Some of the more energetic acts in the 2013 line-up include Jamaican “godfather of roots reggae” Jimmy Cliff, French electro-folk artist DJ Click, Melbourne-based gypsy punk band VulgarGrad, and blues guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, known as the “Hendrix of the Sahara” in his native Mali.

More traditional acts include Siberian jew’s harp trio Ayarkhaan (right), Japanese banjo duo Shunsuke Kimura and Etsuro Ono, and Tibetan composer Tenzin Choegyal, accompanied by the Monks of Tibet.

The festival has eight New Zealand acts, which include the multi-award winning Fly My Pretties, The Clean frontman David Kilgour and New Zealand’s Got Talent contestant and WOMAD veteran Mihirangi.

“WOMAD continues to surprise and delight with the diversity of its performers,” said Mr James told about 100 people at the launch, who watched a video showing many of the performers.

He is particularly excited about the performance of the Aotearoa National Maori Choir, which has re-formed especially for WOMAD 2013.

The choir will be accompanied by Wellington Calypso-Ska band The Yoots, who performed at WOMAD this year.

“By putting the National Maori Choir back together, we’re celebrating New Zealand musical history. By pairing them with The Yoots, we’re taking that history forward, not back.

“The Yoots are a solid crowd favourite. It’ll be New Zealand’s biggest singalong.”

GYPSY PUNK: Vulgargrad play the songs of the old Russian thieves and punk for the Perestroika era.

The launch was attended by dignitaries from some of the countries represented, such as Russia, Israel and the UK, and guest speakers included New Plymouth City Mayor Harry Duynhoven and Jonathan Young, MP for New Plymouth.

Mr Young said that WOMAD brings around $5.8 into Taranaki’s economy each year.

Mayor Duynhoven said one of his favourite parts of WOMAD was the different foods from artists’ countries of origin – and this year’s culinary programme, Nova Energy’s Taste The World, will be led by 2011 Masterchef finalist Jax Hamilton.

WOMAD was unique because of its family atmosphere, and that it has everything “for the nanas down to the tots”.

Mr James says other activities run at WOMAD include a creative programme for kids under 12, evening films held outdoors and workshops run by the visiting artists.

A new feature is the Human Library, where audience members can chat with New Plymouth residents who have led “different and interesting lives”.

“The audience can ‘take someone out’ [from the library] for half an hour. It’ll be a chance for them to address conversations they’ve not had before.”

WOMAD 2013 runs from March 15 to 17, and tickets are available from Ticketek. More information on ticket prices can be found on the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust’s website.

CROWD FAVOURITE: Wellington’s The Yoots will accompany the Aotearoa National Maori Choir on stage.

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is a Whitireia journalism student, most passionate about the arts and social justice issues. Sometimes, she even combines the two.
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2 comments
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  1. What a colourful snapshot of the festival. Thanks Erin you’ve given us a really clear picture of what we can expect at WOMAD in March.

  2. I just slipped upon this as I was looking for video footage of Womad at New Plymouth in particular of Brooklyn band Antibalas”s set. Any idea’s? Did you go?

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