Saxophonist Charles Lloyd delights WOMAD crowds despite weather woes

Welcome sunshine on Saturday afternoon at Womad 2015

This year's WOMAD World music festival drew to a muddy close on Sunday in the picturesque surroundings of Charlton Park, Wiltshire.

This year's WOMAD World music festival drew to a muddy close on Sunday in the picturesque surroundings of Charlton Park, Wiltshire. Heavy rain on Friday and Sunday punctuated by glorious sunshine on Saturday meant that the weather was a subject impossible to ignore. The festival’s music proved enough to keep spirits high however, with audiences treated to a hugely eclectic line up comprising 120 artists from 53 different countries.

 
“Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor” had the crowd bouncing around in the sun on Saturday night with their excitable tribute to rediscovered Nigerian funk artist William Onyeabor with a line up which included the legendary jazz saxophonist sax Charles Lloyd, one of an array of celebrated septuagenarian artists at this year’s festival. The 77 year old grinned and danced his way through the set, taking turns with the other 11 artists on solo duties in a performance to remind the audience just what an important figure he still is no matter what genre he’s lending his hand to.
 
Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan made a late night appearance showing the influence of his father’s heavy-rock collection with a driving set combining piano, bass and pounding percussion. Vocalist Laura Mvula meanwhile provided a soulful, thoughtful addition to the program playing a spellbinding set on Sunday evening including a stripped down version of the Jazz FM favourite “Green Garden”.

For many though, the real joy of the festival, co-founded in 1980 by rock star and World music fan Peter Gabriel, is simply that it encourages the unplanned discovery of wonderfully diverse artists. Where else can you stumble across a trio consisting of players from Mongolia, France and Bulgaria and minutes later be watching a slightly surreal cookery class in Spanish from the Colombian living legend and original “Queen of Cumbia”, Totó La Momposina?

 

Dominic Tyerman

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