WOMAD festival, day one
Ever since my first time coming to WOMAD festival at age seven, I have always looked forward to the last weekend in July because it would be Womad time! Why do I get excited? Because it is just the friendliest, most welcoming and highly educational (yes you can still learn at festivals) places. You get exposed to music, arts and cultures from all over the world - usually from the best in the business too - and you get to do that in a super relaxed environment. Plus, there is always great food which you know is close to my heart :)
Every year I've come to Womad, I try to have a theme to my outfits. I've had anything from butterfly wings to glitter to fluorescent ridiculousness. This year, I wanted to pack light and do something I've always wanted to do - I've decided to take the traditional Malagasy cloth called a lambaoany and wear it in three different ways. Friday's style is: as a top. I've tried to show off one of my favourite patterns - the heart flower - and paired it with some fun shorts, a floral headband I originally made for Gina & Ian's wedding and my favourite run around trainers :)
wearing | lambaoany as a top (present from Madagascar), black leather shorts (Zara), green frilly socks (+Topshop) & yellow +Converse
THE MUSIC: what I watched & what I thought
3 - 4pm, Open Air stage: Jagwa Music (Tanzania), "breakneck grooves from Dar es Salaam"
This was a good first gig to dip my toes into. Nice rhythms, really happy and lovely people performing on stage and very relaxed under the hot sun.
4 - 5pm, Siam stage: Ondatropica (Colombia), "pan-generational celebration of Colombian music"
I am a big fan of South American music because it's always managed to get me dancing and is just plain fun to listen to. This band didn't disappoint, I was grooving away and really enjoyed the vibes on stage. Plus, their matchy matchy outfits made me smile :)
5 - 6pm, Big Red Tent: Spoek (South Africa), "futuristic transnational electro"
This was one of my "I have no idea what this is but based on the blurb sounds interesting" and I soon found out that interesting was an understatement. Spoek is led by a talented young man dressed in some of the most standout outfits I've seen on stage (think Kanye West Lady Gaga merge) and their music is a mix between techno, hip hop and funk. It was a mix I'm not used to hearing but I liked it! Potential future sound of popular music?
6 - 7pm, Siam stage: Tamikrest (Mali), "the desert blues heirs apparent"
Desert blues from the Sahara region is music very close to my heart thanks to the discovery of a band called Tinariwen at Womad several years ago. The only way I can explain how I feel when I listen to this style of music is that it literally transports me to the desert as if I'm walking with the nomadic Tuareg to our next destination. Tamikrest did just that :)
7 - 8pm, Open Air stage: Lee "Scratch" Perry & Max Romeo (Jamaica), "joint helping of top-table reggae royalty"
This was probably the most surreal gig I've been to in a while. I've heard some of Lee "Scratch" Perry before and reggae is again one of the music genres which I really enjoy but at times I felt like the entertainment was more about the performer rather than the music. Either way, it was pretty entertaining (particularly when Lee "Scratch" Perry apparently told Womad security to go away!) and both Max Romeo & Lee "Scratch" Perry are reggae legends.
9.30 - 11pm, Open Air stage: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (Nigeria), "the Afrobeat prince who would be king..."
Seun Kuti is dubbed "the Prince of AfroBeat" as he is the son of legendary Fela Kuti, King of AfroBeat. This genre is another one really close to my heart because when I hear it I can't help but dance. It's really addictive! I had high expectations already going into this gig based on Seun Kuti's background - and am so so happy that he not only met but exceed my expectations. This was probably one of the best performances I have ever seen - the energy was high the whole set (plus Seun had some great moves), I couldn't stop dancing and Seun just owned the stage like his father did back in the day. I'm sure Fela would be so proud.