WOMAD – Charlton Park – 26-29th July 2018

We travelled the world (musically) at WOMAD this year at the start of our summer hols, heading down to Looe in Cornwall afterwards. There’d been so much sunshine in the weeks leading up to it that we didn’t even pack any wet weather gear…..a schoolboy error as rain and gale force winds hit on the Saturday night…. Thursday was blisteringly hot though and perfect for a Jamaican trip with some old school reggae….

….then a late night beer at Molly’s Bar….


Thursday started with a 5ft long, one stringed bass thing from the Republic of Malawi, played with a drumstick and beer bottle – reminded me of the Ramones in it’s simplicity…

Gasper Nali

Next to Mongolia for a Pogues-like party band “This is drinking song. Let’s party!” – they even threw in a little throat singing……great fun


Next to Cuba to learn some salsa steps…

Then to Nairobi next for some top class African chiming guitar sounds – infectious stuff…

Orchestra Les Mangelepa

infectious dancing

Extraordinary singing from Syria…

Omar Souleyman

…and down to Sheffield for a funky dub dance…

K.O.G.& the Zongo Brigade

Traditional Irish music doesn’t come much better than when played by County Clare’s Sharon Shannon. Each of the musicians were outstanding with the fiddle player doing an amazing human beatbox section which brought the house down!

Sharon Shannon

Think Spanish guitars and you may think ‘Gipsy Kings’ (althogh they can’t call themselves that I’m guessing for legal reasons) – especially with 9 of them on stage – one of the legends!

The Original Gypsies of Camargue

Cuba next for a wild set that ended with (an invited) stage invasion that summed up the energy of this fabulous woman with family links to the Buena Vista Social Club

La Dame Blance

Fridays main stage finale brought us back to the UK with Leftfield performing their ‘Leftism’ album in full….and what a delight to the ears and eyes it was. Full of 50-something blokes (me included) jumping up and down like there was no tomorrow. No Johnny Lydon but the video made up for it – great stuff


Saturday started with a lecture on reverb in the D&B tent which had 30+ speakrs around the tent, each with it’s own reverb – the effect was crystal clear sound like the band were in the room.

Boffins explaining Reverb

They also showed this vid which looked and sounded amazing….

Next up Were Mattys faves – Whiskey Shivers from Austin, Texas. Great bluegrass with a sense of humour. All playing barefoot, lead man Bobbie had the best mullet haircut I’ve seen in years. They even did a cover of the Cure’s Friday I’m In Love – Fab!

Whiskey Shivers

Off to india for some cheesey Bollywood muvies with a live soundtrack – these went from swash-buckling 1950’s films to more modern dance oriented entertainment….

Bollywood Brass Band & Jyotsna Srikanth

Now to Norwich for, not quite the pick of the week, but for some lovely jazz tinged sounds that were rather glorious….

Mammal Hands

The most moving performance of the weekend was on a trip to Syria where piano player Aeham told awful stories of a small girl being shot dead by snipers whilst singing with him (he played a piano on the street to defy the Taliban – it was later destroyed) – he then played the lovely ditty the’d been singing and got us all to join in – heart felt and heart breaking…

Aeham Ahmad

Back to the UK for some Reaggae which consisted of old school Jamaican tunes with new lyrics…

Macka B

Then off to Paris for one of the highlights of the week-end – What can you say about Camille!?@?! She was gloriously bonkers and tuneful and fun and seemed to try and undress one of her male band during the set – she didn’t want to come off stage –  improvising a song about WOMAD after everyone else had left the stage and then doing another after that – I could have watched her all night


Up to Scotland for some furious and fast folk music…


We’d enjoyed them so much that Matty and I went back to Texas to the Whiskey Shivers ‘Workshop’ where they answered questions with great humour and played a party set.

Whiskey Shivers

They let a guy from the audience jam with them on banjo and did a little ho-down for us to dance to…..

Mali took centre stage for the main stage finale with blind married couple ‘Amadou & Mariam’ doing a wonderful set full of energy and power – a great set.

Amadou & Mariam

Our final trip for Saturday was to Finland for vocal gymnastics of a unique variety…


Saturday night saw the tent nearly blow down in a storm – wet got in and we decided to head for Cornwall rather than have a damp night and set of early Monday – so most of the day was packing up……We did manage a lovely trip to Chile to see 2 old timers who wooed the crowd with a twinkle in their eyes….

JM and Juanin: Los Crack del Puerto

We also got to hear a bit of irish fiddle (Caoimhin O Raghallaigh) and some Rwandan Pygmy singing (Abatwa) whilst chatting and saying goodbye to friends. Another fun-packed year – thank you WOMAD

Bob the Chiropodist

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