Ethio-Israeli singer Ester Rada is set to stage her maiden performance in New Plymouth, New Zealand when she plays at the WOMAD festival in March 2016. WOMAD that will be held between 18 and 20 March fans the flames of the diverse and colourful line up with the acts from various continents.
South African acappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo as well as American singer and songwriter John Grant are set to perform at the festival. Formed in the 1960s by Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has more than 50 recordings, 15 Grammy Award nominations and four Grammy Award wins under their belt. They have provided film soundtracks to a number of films including The Lion King (Part II), Invictus. A documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo; On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps to Freedom, the Story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was nominated for an Academy Award. They have also appeared on Broadway and been nominated for The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known informally as the Tony Award.
Malian group Songhoy Blues will export their unique blend of traditional and modern sounds to WOMAD. The group was formed in 2012 after its members fled their homes in North Mali due to growing unrest and a ban on music. The four-piece have since collaborated with Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the Africa Express project, released their debut album Music in Exile to critical acclaim and have been in high demand on the international touring circuit. Their music has been described as everything from desert blues punk, R&B, to the love child of Ali Farka Toure and US Bluesman John Lee Hooker.
Also bringing the West African rhythms to WOMAD is Fela Kuti’s youngest child Seun Kuti and Egypt 80. Seun, Nigeria’s wildly inventive musical visionary creator has full steamed ahead with his own inimitable brand of Afrobeat. He has been at the helm of his father’s legendary band Egypt 80 for more than 20 years. WOMAD promises an eclectic line up of artists from far and wide. To learn more about the 2016 visit the festival website.