More African acts added to line-up for WOMEX in Spain

Several more African artists and DJs have been added to the line-up for this year’s World Music Expo (WOMEX), set to take place from 19 to 23 October in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Moroccan musician Mehdi Nassouli will perform at WOMEX in Spain. Photo: www.boulevard.ma
Moroccan musician Mehdi Nassouli will perform at WOMEX in Spain. Photo: www.boulevard.ma

Following a call for applications earlier this year, this year's selection of showcase artists will see around 60 acts from all over globe to showcase to the expected 2500 delegates at WOMEX this year.

The first 23 acts for the WOMEX Showcase Festival were announced late last month.

Now with WOMEX’s second announcement of showcase artists as well as DJs, Africa’s representation at this year's WOMEX has more than doubled, with more acts still to be confirmed.

They will join already confirmed African acts in the form of Mauritanian ‘desert blues’ singer Noura Mint Seymali; Mali’s 21st century griots Trio Da Kali; Belgium-based Tunisian band Bargou 08; and Angolan-Portuguese outfit Throes + The Shine.

Recently added to the bill from Africa is Moroccan multi-instrumentalist Mehdi Nassouli, who blends the many indigenous sounds of Morocco – including Arabic, Gnawa and Amazigh. Always open to new fusions of genres, Nassouli has traveled several continents collaborating with some of the major names in world music.

 

Also added to the the WOMEX Showcase Festival is South African guitarist Derek Gripper, who presents kora music in a different light. His 2012 album, One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali, interprets kora compositions on solo guitar, a feat that classical guitar legend John Williams said he thought was “absolutely impossible until I heard Derek Gripper do it”. When Malian Kora maestro Toumani Diabaté heard these recordings he soon invited Derek to collaborate with him in Mali, which saw Derek performing at the Acoustik Festival in Bamako in early 2016, the first international festival held in Mali since 2012.

 

Representing Senegal at WOMEX will be Faada Freddy, the former MC of Daara J Family who has since embarked on a successful solo career leading his ‘a cappella gospel-soul revue'. He is popular performer both at home and in Paris, where he has staged concerts at two of its most prestigious live music venues, the Olympia in October 2015 and Le Zénith in May 2016.

 

From DR Congo, meanwhile, WOMEX will welcome Jupiter Bokondji and his band Okwess International. Representing ‘the dark side’ of Congolese music, Jupiter blends rumba, rock and more in an energetic live show. In late 2014 the band was invited by Music In Africa to perform at the opening of the Goethe-Institut in Kinshasa.

 

Kondi Band is an inspired collaboration between blind Sierra Leonean kondi (thumb piano) player Sorie Kondi and American techno producer and DJ Chief Boima, who himself has Sierra Leonean roots. They connected via Youtube and Boima remixed one of Kondi’s tracks, which soon started appearing in DJ playlists and led to coverage by The Fader magazine. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sorie travelled to the US for the first time for a five-date tour, during which he and Boima worked on new ‘lamellotronica’ recordings that form the nucleus of the debut Kondi Band album Belle Wahalah.

 

Also added is French rapper MHD (aka Mohamed Sylla), born in Paris to Guinean and Senegese parents, who has been hailed as the young king of Afro-Trap.

Recently added to the line-up from other parts of the world are Adnan Joubran (Palestine/France), Bella Ciao (Italy), the Edmar Castaneda Trio (Colombia/USA) and La Negra (Spain). They will join already confirmed acts Bixiga 70 (Brazil), Black String (South Korea), C4 Trio (Venezuela), Delgres (Guadeloupe/France), Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis (Israel), Gisela João (Portugal), Gulzoda (Uzbekistan), Maïa Barouh (Japan/UK), New York Gypsy All Stars (Macedonia/Turkey/Greece/USA), Okra Playground (Finland), Oligarkh (Russia), Ponk (Czech Republic), Puerto Candelaria (Colombia), Radio Cos (Spain), The East Pointers (Canada), Trad.Attack! (Estonia), Tulegur (China), United Vibrations (UK) and Vassvik (Norway).

Uganda, Angola and Morocco to be represented at WOMEX DJ Summit

One of the most popular portions of the WOMEX programme is the DJ Summit, which hosts late-night sets from up-and-coming acts at the Sala Capitol club. Now in its fifth year, the WOMEX DJ Summit has become a drawcard for professionals and musicians seeking club sounds and electronic music from across the world. This year’s DJ Summit will consist of five artists showcasing global club music, including WOMEX's first ever Ugandan performer, DJ Rachael. Alongside her will be Angola’s DJ Satelite, Morocco’s Hatim Belyamani (aka officerfishdumplings), Acid Arab (France) and El Remolon (Argentina)

The DJ Summit selection is made from proposals, and for 2016 was chosen by special curator Guy Morley. "Dance music culture is a really important element of world music; helping to both excite new audiences and move on preconceptions," explained Morley. "The self-confidence of 'homegrown' dance music is charged-up around the globe creating popular musical archetypes that threaten the dominance of US and European ‘pop’ culture. Native markets grow stronger and a new generation make their mark, often more reliant on neighbouring markets than on ones further afield, in Europe or North America. The evidence for this can be seen in through this year’s DJ submissions, where there were really strong fields from both Africa and South America. These days how this all works together with notions of counter-culture is a complex task, but I hope visitors to the WOMEX DJ Summit get some insight!"

For updates and more details visit the WOMEX website.

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