This year’s WOMAD festival is coming up in mid-March and given that a lot of Aucklanders head down to New Plymouth for this special event, we thought we’d give you a heads up about the acts we are most excited to see.


The main reason why you've possibly heard Bombino's name before is that his latest album was produced by Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys (who also produced albums for Lana Del Rey and Dr John). Bombino himself is a Tuareg guitarist, who combines a gritty rock sound with the ever-spiraling riffs that Tuareg music has become known for (Tinariwen are another famous proponent of this sound).

The library has both of Bombino’s CDs if you want to check them out: Agadez (2011) and Nomad (2013). Here's the current single from his latest album:


The Buena Vista Social Club was a venue in Cuba that closed in the 1940s. The style of music that had been played there was distinctly Cuban, but fell out of favor during the 1960s and many of musicians struggled to keep it alive. This changed when American guitarist/producer, Ry Cooder, went to Cuba in 1996 and fortuitously recorded an album that captured the most well-known musicians from this scene. A couple of the live shows that followed in Europe were filmed by acclaimed director, Wim Wenders, and turned into an Academy Award winning documentary.

The current line-up of the group isn't the full ensemble from the movie, but will include the highly emotive singing of singer, Omara Portuondo. And there is no doubt that the group will be sure to play their signature tune, 'Chan Chan'...


Rufus Wainwright is the son of folk singer, Loudon Wainwright III, and singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle so it’s no surprise that his own music is filled with so many interesting lyrical and musical flourishes. He creates thoughtful, strongly orchestrated songs that nonetheless also manage to be catchy and engaging. Fortunately he recently released a best-of compilation, which provides a great starting point for exploring his work – Vibrate (2014). Alternatively, you might want to watch his live performance DVD, Milwaukee At Last !!! (2009), or browse through the many other CDs by Rufus Wainwright that the library holds.


This act were discovered by Grammy award-winning producer Ian Brennan (his credits include working with folk legend, Richard Thompson, who is also playing at this year's festival). Aside from playing music, the four members of the band also supplemented their income by selling cooked mice at the side of the road, which are considered a snack food in their home country of Malawi. The group gained acclaim with their tremendously warm vocal harmonies and the strong rhythmic feel of their music. 

There are a number of youtube videos of them in their hometown, playing a variety of homemade instruments, but the one I have chosen below gives a better sense of their amazing gospel-infused singing style:


Here's a few other names that stick out on the schedule, along with links to their work on our catalogue:

  • Sinead O'Connor - the Irish pop singer with the amazing voice, who broke through in the early nineties but who is still releasing strong albums to the current day.
  • Youssou N'Dour - legendary Sengalese singer who has collaborated with many big stars, including Peter Gabriel, Sting, Paul Simon Wyclef Jean, and Bruce Springsteen.
  • Fanfare Ciocarlia - wild gypsy music from Europe.
  • Richard Thompson - UK folk guitarist/singer who began his career in Fairport Convention and released work with his wife (Linda) before beginning a three-decade spanning solo career. 
  • French For Rabbits - a local indie-folk outfit, whose music is atmospheric and tender.
  • Trinity Roots - originators in the local roots/reggae scene.
  • Mel Parsons - another local act, whose music ranges between folk and country.

It's also well worth listening to the WOMAD preview show that Graham Reid did for national radio.

- Gareth

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