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WOMADelaide Announces First 20 Acts For 2020 Festival

The wait is over for the WOMADelaide faithful, as the first 20 groups are announced for the 2020 festival, to be presented over 6-9 March 2020 in the picturesque surrounds of Adelaide’s Botanic Park. Leading the first announcement is living musical legend, civil rights icon, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy Award-winner, Mavis Staples. Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” Staples is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. ‘The Golden Voice of Africa’, Salif Keita (Mali), returns to WOMADelaide with a cracking eight-piece band as part of his farewell tour, celebrating 50 years of music and 70 years of life.  From humble beginnings with the Rail Band of the Train Station Hotel in Bamako and a life of tribulations as an albino, Keita’s latest album Autre Blanc (Another White) calls on the world to celebrate difference. Fresh from the release of their seventh studio album and a tour of Europe that included two shows at Glastonbury, The Cat Empire return to WOMADelaide for an unprecedented fifth appearance.  Over 17 years, the band has come to be considered ‘family’, growing up with the festival since their first show at WoZone, the festival’s late night club, in 2003.  In 2020 the adored headliners will close the main stage on 6 March. Also announced today is Orquesta Akokán (Cuba) a stunning big band that redefines the golden era of Cuban Mambo, morphing Havana with the creative and talented spirit of the NY Latin scene, the USA’s master of lo-fi, underground rock, Bill Callahan, best known under the band name Smog, and Australia’s Grammy-nominated Hiatus Kaiyote with a new album on the way, joining New Zealand’s indie superstar Aldous Harding.

Mavis Staples
Mavis Staples

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway said the calibre of the artists announced today reinforced Adelaide’s position as a UNESCO City of Music.

“This is just a taste of the WOMADelaide line-up and we can already see why this event remains the best – showcasing such a wonderfully eclectic, diverse program of global sounds, sights, flavours and ideas,” he said.

“We are bringing the best of the world’s most creative musicians, dancers and artists right into the heart of Adelaide, and it is going to be another amazing celebration for everyone to embrace.”

Today’s announcement also includes the aerial spectacular As the World Tipped, a politically charged and environmentally focused work for our times by renowned UK company, Wired Aerial Theatre to be presented nightly in Frome Park. Towering 13 metres above the audience, As the World Tipped is an exceptionally ambitious and beautifully crafted aerial performance where dance and theatrics entwine with extraordinary projections which illustrate the very real and immediate realities of climate change.

WOMADelaide Director, Ian Scobie said that he was excited with the stature of program being unveiled today.

“We are thrilled to be announcing a program which includes artists at the peak of their craft exemplified by Salif Keita and Mavis Staples, as well as Orquesta Akokán – a stunning tribute to the Cuban big band era - and a powerful call to arms on climate change in As the World Tipped,” said WOMADelaide Director, Ian Scobie.

Artists also announced today include:

The sublime musical collaboration between classical harpist and griot kora master Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita. (Wales/Senegal)

Ezra Collective pay respect to classic jazz composition while running the lines between the delicate technicalities of jazz, Afrobeat and hip hop. (UK)

From the streets of Tokyo, Kikagaku Moyo blend classical Indian music, Krautrock, folk, and ‘70s rock into a mind-melting psychedelic sound. (Japan)

L. Subramaniam has been hailed as ‘the Paganini of Indian classical music’ who has transcended the distinctions between Eastern and Western composition. (India)

Brazil’s Liniker e os Caramelows, nominated for the 2019 Latin Grammy, combines lush and dreamy soul with the tropical heritage of Música Popular Brasileira. (Brazil)

UK electronic duo Sleaford Mods whose stabbing synths and acrid chants are matched by their on-stage energy.

With her powerful fusion of hip-hop, reggae, dancehall and neo-soul, Muthoni Drummer Queen has been paving the way for alternative artists in Kenya for years.  (Kenya/France)

The poetic lyricist and singer-songwriter sensation, Odette (Aus)

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, a stirring combination tracing a musical journey from American folk to Southern Italy, via Africa, from Grammy Award-winning Giddens and musical alchemist, Turrisi. (USA/Italy)

Produced by The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill, Spinifex Gum is the award-winning musical collaboration with Marliya, from Gondwana Choirs, celebrating the vast talent of Indigenous youth. (Aus)

trio of the finest traditional griot musicians is Malian super group Trio da Kali(Mali)

Fierce energy, beatbox rhythms and otherworldly harmonies in the all-female quartet, Tuuletar (Finland).

WOMADelaide 2020 will be held from 6-9 March in Botanic Park, Adelaide, South Australia. 



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