WOMAD 2017: 6 Acts You Can’t Miss At This Years Festival

The central aim of WOMAD is to celebrate the world’s many forms of music, arts and dance.

To recognise this objective, we’ve hand picked six of our favourite musicians due to perform at Charlton Park from Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th July 2017. Each of these artists offers something different to the listener; from voodoo inspired tribal trance to rumba rhythms and cow bells, read on to sample the tropical choice of sounds you’ll hear at WOMAD 2017.

Speech Debelle – Sunday 30th July

We cant stop listening to this lady and we’re pretty sure you won’t be able to either. Think chiming atmospheric notes juxtaposed with vulnerable, barefaced rap. Corynne won a Mercury prize for her debut album “Speech Therapy” in 2009 and has since released her second album “Freedom of Speech”. With introspective topics themed around three years living on the streets of London, Speech Debelle is the perfect afternoon treat that combines light acoustic guitars and pianos with soulful, immersive lyrics.

Sounds like: Akua Naru, Bonobo, Little Simz

GOAT – Friday 28th July

Psychedelic, looping tribal rock beats characterise this experimental group. Unapologetically strange in their sound and appearance, GOAT tap tambourines whilst exploring the stage like feral beings and claim to draw inspiration from their home town in Sweden (allegedly famed as a historical place of voodoo worship). If you’re not familiar with the band’s appearance, think Donny Darko masks crossed with Day of the Dead festival outfits. Definitely one not to miss if you have an ear for jungle trance rhythms and are ready to appreciate some 10/10 festival attire.

Sounds like: Django Django, Flamingods

Chico Trujillo – Sunday 30th July

Meet this Chilean 9 piece blending ska, reggae and rock with Latin American, cumbia rumba rythms. A dynamic mix of percussion, guitars, trumpets, saxphone, drums and the odd cow bell come together in an irresistible, foot tapping, body shaking combination. You can be sure that wherever Chico Trujillo go, the party soon follows.

Sounds like: Buena Vista Social Club, The Cumbieros

BURD – Sunday 30th July

If you want to hear two girls expertly perform beatboxing remixes of Kelis’ “Milkshake”, Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and The Fugees “Ready or Not” – then you’re in the right place. Technical, playful and talented are three words that best describe Grace Savage and Bellatrix of BURD, who hold some impressive credentials having won the UK Beatbox Championships two years in a row.

Sounds like: One of a kind

Afro Celt Sound System – Saturday 29th July

First founded in 1995, Afro Celt Soundsystem make ambient, atmosphere electronic music blended with West African and Irish rhythms. Prepare to hear soulful vocals enriched by steady melodic tempos, with a hint of mysticism. On paper they might be a hard concept to digest, but after just a few seconds of listening, the quick celtic beats speak for themselves. Simon Emmerson, producer-guatarist of the band, says: “People thought I was mad when I touted the idea. At the time, I was out of favour with the London club scene. I was broke and on income support but the success was extraordinary”. This is a guaranteed mind blower, don’t miss it.

Sounds like: Martyn Bennett, Banco De Gaia

 The New York Theremin Society – Friday 28th July

What’s your favourite instrument?The saxophone…the guitar, perhaps? But have you ever thought about what all these instruments have in common? Well, aside from the fact that they all produce music, each one requires a person to play them by making physical contact and creating vibrations, which in turn creates sound. You’d assume this is a fundamental part of music making, right? Now is the time to reassess your assumptions. Dorit Chrylser and Charlie Draper play an instrument called the theremin which works by “massaging” the air around it, without actually being touched. Watch the video to see for yourself.

WOMAD has put together an official playlist for the 2017 festival which you can listen tohere. It’s the perfect way to get a feel for what to expect, discover new artists or simply decide whether WOMAD is your cup of tea.

Remember, as amazing as all these musicians are, WOMAD isn’t just about the music. It’s also about engaging with written and spoken word, inciting discussion and celebrating the art of dance. There’s plenty of workshops happening within the festival. You can check out the full schedule here.

Get your tickets here.