Womad Festival Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading: Live review
Friday 01 August 1997
Talvin Singh's increasingly in-demand Asian dance collective Anokha: Soundz of the Asian Underground and Nitin Sawhey's fusion of traditional musics and modern beats are part of the new breed and both performed to much acclaim. So did the duo of Paban Das Baul and Sam Mills. This collaboration between the Bengali mystical singer and the member of former avant-funk outfit 23 Skidoo has already delivered a swooning summery album, Real Sugar. In their Saturday set, they were accompanied - and a little hijacked - by the Malian kora virtuoso, Touman Diakite, who milked the audience with stadium-style handclap routines.
Friday night's headlining performance by the legendary roots reggae singer Burning Spear (aka Winston Rodney) was a barnstormer. Spear, now grey-bearded but still plentiful of dreads, was relaxed and utterly charismatic, leading an excellent band through a set that included such classic "conscious" songs as "Days of Slavery". With the current resurgence of all things dub, it can only be a matter of time before the next wave of Spear-inspired root singers, one hopes.
One of the weekend's highlights was the Polish Klezmer trio, Kroke, who performed three times in as many days. On Saturday night, Kroke tore the roof off the big-top tent. Their instrumentation is minimal - double- bass, accordion and violin, with the occasional yearning ululation thrown in by the violinist. It's the empathy of the musicians that whips up their storm of a sound, encompassing mournful atmospherics and a sense of frenzied, almost jazz-style celebration. While theirs is a traditional music that originated in the thriving Yiddish communities of eastern Europe before the Nazis, there is nothing trad in the musty revivalist sense. After their rapturous reception this weekend, Real World whisked them off to their recording studios, where they are working with old farmer Gabriel.
At this most un-rock of festivals, there was a sense of several very different generations coming at world music from different angles. And with the incorporation of the Megadog World of Beats Dance Tent, this year's Womad saw the E generation consorting with the hippy generation, both sharing the same desire to explore something other and older than the current consensus-pop of Merseybeat necrophilia.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
Amy Winehouse film director: 'I wanted to show the fun, bright-eyed girl we didn't know'
Orange Is The New Black season 3 episode 1, review: The Ross and Rachel-ness of Piper and Alex is starting to grate
The picture of a man crowd surfing in a wheelchair at Glastonbury is brilliant, but it wasn't taken at Glastonbury
Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
Guillaume Tell, Royal Opera House, review: Gang rape and stripping naked of female actor met with boos
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato