Taste The World has been an increasingly popular feature of WOMAD festivals around the world since 2005, bringing artists performing at the festival to a designated 'cookery' stage to prepare and cook a traditional dish from their country of origin, whilst in conversation with the Taste The World host. The audience are encouraged to ask questions and open up the discussion of food and music, and at the end of the session they get to taste the dish. These encounters are a fascinating and intimate opportunity to enter into the world of the artist. Host, Roger de Wolf, reflects on his experience of presenting Taste the World and his engagement with artists in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK.
Music, even solitary, is a meeting point; of influences, traditions, notes, words, historical movements of peoples, empires; of families and memories; of feelings of love, hope, nostalgia, delight or belonging.
And so it is with food. We eat with others; celebrate our relationships with them, our bonds of kinship or friendship. And on our plates, often unnoticed, tradition meets innovation, the past meets the present. One of the fascinating themes to emerge from the "Taste The World" sessions is how rarely the ingredients of a recipe "typical" of a particular national identity are indigenous to that country. Each dish is a layered slice through time and space, with traces of trade routes, echoes of lost empires, footprints of migration and movement in search of wealth or simply the struggle for survival. Each ingredient, each method of cooking or preservation, has a story.
We have a WOMAD festival on our table each day and we do not notice.
Every "Taste The World" conversation with an artist has revealed another rich field of enquiry. During the cookery sessions we have discussed history, ethnography, landscape, gender, politics, language, chemistry, botany, colonialism, enslavement, war, famine, motherhood, childhood, marriage, pride, nostalgia; and of course, always, music.
Come and join Roger at the Taste The World stage over the WOMAD weekend.