WOMAD 2022 First Line-up Announcement

Posted on 23 February 2022

We’re excited to share the first lineup announcement for WOMAD 2022 with you all! This year’s 40th anniversary celebration features an array of amazing artists from around the world featuring Angelique Kidjo, Fatoumata Diawara, Kae Tempest, The Flaming Lips, Sugarhill Gang & The Furious Five, Fantastic Negrito, Nitin Sawhney, Greentea Peng and so many more.  

The WOMAD weekend at Charlton Park from 28 – 31 July will embrace the joys of community, friendship, diversity, and tolerance at a time when the world needs it more than ever.

Making a triumphant return to Charlton Park the esteemed Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara’s (Mali) distinctive, energetic, and powerful performance will be kicking off this anniversary event on Thursday night.

The legendary Angelique Kidjo (Benin) will perform her electrifying re-imagination of Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, taking the classic original version and enhancing it with her euphoric voice and striking fusion of West African traditions with R&B, funk, and jazz, whilst award-winning wordsmith Kae Tempest (UK) makes their WOMAD debut with their creative diagnosis of the 21st century urban condition, which has earned them respect and plaudits galore.

Others 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 in LA before a horrific car crash 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.

Iconic avant-garde rock band, The Flaming Lips (US) will bring their frenetic labyrinth of psychedelic anthems and one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time The Sugarhill Gang (US), famous for the 1979 track Rappers Delight and who have themselves just celebrated their 40th anniversary, will bring their old school hip hop sound to Charlton Park.

Also performing for the first time the only all-female mariachi band in Europe, Mariachi Las Adelitas (Mexico/Cuba/Colombia/Italy/UK), a multi-national mariachi band born out of a desire to shatter stereotypes within this traditionally male-dominated genre will bring their unique repertoire to WOMAD 2022.

Returning to WOMAD from West Africa is the magical kora player and singer Sona Jobarteh (Gambia) who is renown as the first female professional kora player from any of the griot family dynasties, and the thrilling all-female supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique, a creative force whose vibrant harmonies are a call to arms to the women of the world to unite.

Musical polymath Nitin Sawhney (UK) will be returning to WOMAD to perform tracks from his latest album Immigrants, the sequel to the 1999 Mercury-nominated Beyond Skin alone with music from his prolific back catalogue. Another long-overdue return is that of post-punk/funk Mancunians A Certain Ratio (UK) whose last appearance on a WOMAD stage was in Mersea Island in Essex 35 years ago, while The Dhol Foundation (UK/India) will bring bhangra and Bollywood to the festival led by the irrepressible Johnny Kalsi. Other home-grown acts include psychedelic R’n’B artist Greentea Peng (UK), a neo-soul artist compared to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill but with added psychedelic.

Earth Mother vibes and Mercury-nominated ten-piece SEED. (UK) combine jazz with inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influenced grooves. Two-tone ska band and legends of the genre The Selecter (UK) are back and led by the effervescent Pauline Black –and are ready to deliver hit after hit on Thursday night, the uplifting and infectious rhythms of Onipa (Ghana/UK) who mingle traditional African percussion and electronic music will raise the dance floor heat with their high energy Afro-futurism and Nubiyan Twist (UK) offer a monumental fusion of Afro-jazz, Soul and Afrobeat.

Stories are at the heart of the music at WOMAD; Elaha Soroor, who will be performing with Kefaya (UK/Italy/Afghanistan) had to flee her native Afghanistan after speaking out against the government. 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, their West African and Creole influences shining through and from Belize; The Garifuna Collective combines soulful music with activism to bring this unique artistic and musical culture to tell the stories of the Garifuna people of Central America’s eastern coast to WOMADERS.

Aside from all the musical delights there are plenty of other activities, sights, sounds and smells to experience at WOMAD. Some of the weekend’s performers will get the chance to show off their culinary credentials at our ever-popular Taste the World stage. There is the tranquility of the World of Wellbeing and luxury of the WOMAD Spa. You have the unique opportunity to get involved and learn from the experts with a whole array of workshops; from taking dance lessons to picking up a musical instrument from the other side of the globe. Celebrate the spoken word at the World of Words with author talks, debates, and discussions. And there are, of course, more child-friendly activities and workshops than any other festival, at the World of Children, the culmination of which is the now-legendary Sunday afternoon parade across the Charlton Park site. Stay tuned, as the World of Art returns this year, as we invite exciting artists to share their work to celebrate our 40th!

“The best possible way to celebrate 40 years of WOMAD, shining a spotlight on the cultures of the world, is our long-awaited return to Charlton Park after two difficult years, and what a return it will be with this spectacular line-up. At WOMAD we have received so much love and support from everyone who makes WOMAD possible we guarantee to repay that support with an unforgettable weekend that launches the next 40 years of the World’s Festival”. Chris Smith, Festival Director

Come join us for the party with Radio WOMAD, live on air from 12-3pm today! Listen HERE

Explore the line-up in full and get your tickets HERE