Monday, July 30, 2018

WOMAD 2018

30 July 2018

This year’s WOMAD Festival at Charlton Park in Wiltshire had mixed weather but the threatened torrential downpours failed to materialise and we only had a little light rain on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. The music was eclectic as ever. My personal highlights, from the 17 full performances I saw, included gentle acoustic songs from Estonian singer Mari Kalkun, the pan-American female quartet LADAMA (from Columbia, Brazil, Venezuela and the USA) and a long-overdue opportunity to see the wonderful Amparo Sanchez and her band Amparanoia. This was a WOMAD for catching up with artists I have enjoyed listening to for years but never before had the chance to see perform live. French vocal gymnast Camille (reviewed here in May 2008) proved as impressive, bizarre and compelling as I had hoped, with a stunning show on the main Open Air Stage on Saturday evening, featuring some great dancing. And the young, female, a cappella, Finnish folk hop quartet Tuuletar (reviewed here in January 2017 when I compared them to Camille) were stunning live performers as well as being hilarious and charming in their appearance at the Taste the World stage (where they demonstrated how to make traditional Karelian pie). But my favourite performance of WOMAD 2018 was the Bollywood Brass Band with the South Indian violinist Jyotsna Srikanth. I loved Sarha Moore and Kay Charlton’s new soundtrack for the finale of the amazing 1948 film 'Chandralekha’ which the band performed live with the film on Saturday afternoon. It starts with the epic scene where 400 dancers perform on top of enormous drums: suddenly the drums open up to reveal armies of soldiers who attack the stronghold – it’s an incredible spectacle. Then the Bollywood Brass Band played their new four-movement  ‘Carnatic Suite: A Day In Bangalore’, composed with Jyotsna Srikanth and featuring the amazing South Indian percussionist and vocalist RN Prakash. It was a great performance from a really enjoyable festival. You can see a selection of my photos from WOMAD 2018 at:

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