Event Preview: WOMAD @ Charlton Park (Malmesbury; Thursday 27th
to Sunday 30th July 2023)

It’s the annual event we’ve all been waiting for… Peter Gabriel’s mothership lands once again in a field in Malmesbury, braced and ready to take us on a voyage of musical discovery.

Fresh off the back of its 40th birthday celebrations, this year’s WOMAD festival goes further to present an eclectic mix of performers and genres across its six stages. 

As always, venerable old masters and aficionados appear alongside artists at the cutting edge of new and unique global scenes. There’s a healthy dose of harder, heavier and altogether more out-there in the mix, resulting in an excitingly diverse and experimental lineup. 

Women are refreshingly well-represented. In the folk corner, Ukrainian “freak cabaret” Dakh Daughters mesmerise with hypnotic string drones and guttural vocals typical to their homeland. Austria’s multi-instrumentalist Alicia Edelweiss serves up leftfield acid freak-folk with a whimsical edge. Star Feminine Band joyfully deliver a fresh, upbeat take on the traditional rhythms and chants of Benin. Wiyaala, the Lioness of Africa, offers uplifting socially-conscious pop with signature frenetic grooves and dancing.

Hot female stars of electronica also feature. Pongo’s wild take on Angolan kuduro embraces afrobeat, EDM and dancehall with fierce exuberance. KUUNATIC present dreamy Japanese ‘tribal psych’ with ritual vocals on an interplanetary theme. From Kampala, MC Yallah unleashes rapid bars of pure fire, set to producer Debmaster’s hard-hitting beats.

There’s plenty more for hip-hop and dance fans. 47Soul, Middle Eastern ‘shamstep’ pioneers, produce beats and bars from Palestine accompanied by synths, darbuka and the traditional Arabic scarf-waving folk dance ‘dabke’. Lova Lova brings a searing blend of heavy beat-fuelled Congolese dance with punk attitude.

With Polobi and the Gwo Ka Masters, traditional drums and voice from Guadelupe are given an electronic twist. ENNY’s brand of hip-hop, set against a lazy jazz backdrop, sheds light on the life of a Black woman in Britain today. And from Sao Paulo, rap battle king and Gilberto Gil-collaborator Emicida is sure to bring the party.

Womad provides an opportunity to delve deep into niche projects and specialist sounds. Amongst the wealth on offer this year, audiences can explore South Korean folk with a new wave twist from Seoul’s LEENALCHI; take a dive into the Arctic Circle’s Sami tradition with soundpoet Torgeir Vassvik; find out what the tuba is capable of with Sons of Kemet’s Theon Cross; and be hypnotised by a fresh, dark dancefloor take on traditional Bugandan drumming presented by the ‘alluringly strange’ Nihiloxica.

There’s so much more to discover at this year’s world of music and dance. Four days in this field feel like a lifetime’s journey round a musical globe. Get ready to be transported, spellbound, and moved to a point of frenzy.



Get your festival tickets HERE!

Follow THIS LINK to indulge in our Womad 2023 playlist