WOMAD 2016 Highlights: Friday

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Our top 5 discoveries for Womad festival’s first full day, Friday, showcase the rich and varied styles that WOMAD 2016 has on offer. In our pick there is music from Spain, Lebanon, Mali, Scotland and Colombia – you can’t get more diverse than that!

La Mambanegra got us off to a lively start introducing the crowd to their high-energy ‘break salsa’ in the Siam tent. Led by Jacobo Vélez in his slick white suit and mirror shades the energy and interaction of the group instantly got everyone dancing.

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A blast of Scottish culture from the Grit Orchestra made for a pretty spectacular and emotional show on open-air stage. Complete with Gaelic song and traveller’s tales, harps and bagpipes the full orchestra, led by Greg Lawson, performed a live version of tragic hero Martyn Bennet’s sample-ridden final album ‘Grit’.

You couldn’t keep still to Bamba Wassoulou Groove’s driving rhythms that came at us in waves, propelled by three stunning Malian guitarists in the Siam Tent. With singer Ousmane Diakité this was a real treat for Malian music enthusiasts.

Into the evening, and Flamenco star Buika entranced the crowd with her smile and intense songs of love and tragedy.

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Back in the Siam tent French Lebanese Trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf (who has worked with the likes of Salif Keita and Amadou & Mariam) came at the crowd with his hard-hitting jazz & rock. Imbued with the flavours of his Arabic heritage there was great interaction with the crowd, ensuring a high-energy instrumental blast from start to finish.

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