Rhythm Passport’s highlights of Friday @ Womad 2015

Rain, rain everywhere and mud, mud too! But one of the great things about WOMAD is that you don’t always need the brightest and sunniest weather to enjoy the gigs on Charlton Park’s stages. With rain, musicians are even more willing to involve you in their show, to amaze and let you forget the humidity all around. That’s how the day got out of bed.

Despite the pounding rain, South African legends Mahotella Queens with their inspiring mbaqanga music forced the rain jackets to flutter and wellies to press and squash the muddy ground in front of the Siam Tent Stage. Then it was the turn of Totò la Momposina to fight and defeat the greyness of the day. It was all about her Afro-Colombian incendiary mix between rumba, salsa and cumbia, her colourful dress and the generous smile on her face. And, it was also about the skills of her band, a wild and experienced Latin dozen.

One hour later, Tal National kept on with the musical spell and enthralled the Open Air Stage’s audience introducing WOMAD to their hypnotic and exhilarating Nigerien traditional sound.

The Sahara Region and its desert rock-blues soul was also the protagonist in Siam Tent during Tinariwen’s set. The Malian music veterans let their guitars cry, giving goose bumps to their wide and excited followers. A few metres and minutes later, it was the history of hip-hop showing off on the Open Air Stage, which was literally packed for De La Soul’s performance. The Long Island born trio drove the audience crazy with insistent rhymes and groovy beats. They refreshed people’s memories with some of their greatest hits from “Me, Myself and I” and “Eye Know” to bring bit of the NewYorkese urban and noisy atmosphere to Wiltshire’s peaceful countryside.

As if we were in a fairy tale, the rain suddenly stopped minutes before the emotional and final concert of the second day of WOMAD 2015. When the Malian griot Kasse Mady Diabate began his performance under the Siam Tent, the first bits of sky were peeping again among the clouds. Kasse Mady’s voice and expressive guitar cleared the night, paying tribute to the secular mandingue tradition.

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