WOMAD 2020 ARTISTS

Posted on 25 February 2020

The first WOMAD 2020 artist announcement is here!

This year we are very proud to bring you Angelique Kidjo, The Flaming Lips, Kate Tempest, Mariza, and Thursday headliner Fatoumata Diawara, alongside a jam packed line-up of incredible musicians from across the world, for a weekend of musical discovery, dance, spoken word, food, science and more. 

Fresh from her win at the Grammys last month, the legendary Angelique Kidjo makes a triumphant return to Charlton Park with her striking voice, electrifying rhythms and fusion of West African traditions with R&B, funk and jazz.

Malian songstress and multiple Grammy nominee Fatoumata Diawara’s distinctive and powerful style will be kicking off the festival on Thursday night, bringing her brand of Malian music, memorable melodies and lyrics. Whilst iconic wordsmith and Mercury Prize nominated Kate Tempest makes her WOMAD debut with her creative diagnosis of the 21st century urban condition.

Iconic avant-garde rock band The Flaming Lips bring their frenetic labyrinth of psychedelic anthems to WOMAD for the first time. The three time Grammy award winners have been cited as the ultimate awe inspiring festival band who continue to dazzle audiences with their over-the-top, energetic performances. 

We are very excited to welcome the Queen of Portuguese fado and all-round superstar Mariza, celebrated for popularised traditional Portuguese style fado, whose stirring sounds will take the audience’s breath away. 

Make sure to purchase a 4 day ticket, in order to catch legendary 2-tone Ska band The Selecter on Thursday 23rd July. Known as one of the key bands in the U.K. ska revival of the late ’70s and early ’80s and one of the few racially and sexually integrated acts on the scene, tackling sexism and racism surrounding the 2-tone movement. Led by iconic front woman Pauline Black, they will be ready to deliver hit after hit.

Across the rest of the festival, you will be treated to a curated selection of the world’s best music. Haitian group RAM will showcase their exuberant, joyous mizik rasin – a mix of percussive Vodou music, rock and funk creating glorious musical storytelling at its finest. West African all-female supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique follow on from their outstanding gig at Real World Studios in January with an appearance at the festival in July. The group is a creative force whose vibrant harmonies are a call to arms to the women of the world to unite and rise up against the patriarchy. 

Performing at WOMAD for the first time, Fantastic Negrito’s backstory reads like something out of a film; leaving home at 12, hustling his way to a record deal and a horrific car crash that broke all his limbs and left him in a coma – now he is a one-man performing whirlwind who mixes soul, blues and R&B together to tell his story through his music. On the other end of the musical spectrum comes one of Iceland’s greatest musical exports, Ásgeir’s beautiful indie folk-pop has seen him collaborate with the likes of John Grant. 

All hail the long overdue return of post punk Mancunians A Certain Ratio, whose last appearance on a WOMAD stage was in Mersea Island in Essex 35 years ago! We will also be joined by Mercury-nominated ten-piece SEED Ensemble, who combine jazz with inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influenced grooves. The project presents a stellar line-up featuring some of London’s most up-and-coming young jazz musicians including tuba player Theon Cross and tenor saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael. Metro has described them as part of a “new wave of British jazz”. 

Stories are at the heart of the music at WOMAD; Sahra Halgan is fronted by one of the most prominent singers from self-declared independent state Somaliland, her warm voice articulating the struggles and strife of her compatriots, whilst Elaha Soroor, who will be performing with Kefaya had to flee her native Afghanisatan after speaking out against the government.

The music is just the start of it at WOMAD; as well as incredible musical performances from all four corners of the globe there is so much more to explore. From celebrating the spoken word at the World of Words with author talks, debates and discussions, fusing food and music at the Taste The World stage where artists cook up a storm, being inspired and intrigued at the World of Physics with the brand-new How-To Tent, chilling out in style at the World of Wellbeing and even a whole hub of discovery for little ones at the World of Children, there truly is something for everyone.

This is just a snap shot of some of the incredible artists that make up the first artist announcement  for WOMAD 2019. We hope you enjoy discovering them as much as we have. Check out the poster below and head over to the line-up page to learn a bit more about each artist here. Delve deeper into WOMAD 2020 with our Spotify playlist here.

Our second artist announcement will be revealed in the Spring. To hear the news first sign up to our newsletter!

WOMAD is an accessible festival and BSL interpreters are on site all weekend