27 Jan 2011
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Eastern European hippies, Colombian electro-acoustic trail-blazers, traditional Cambodian musicians, an award-winning Kiwi artist, a Pacific treasure, cultural performance groups from New Zealand and Hawai'i, and a stunning flags project join the WOMAD New Zealand 2011 line-up.
The newly announced artists:
17 Hippies (Germany), Sidestepper (Colombia), Mana Maoli (Hawai'i, United States), Tray So (Cambodia), Tiki Taane and the Dub Soldiers with Te Pou o Mangataawhiri (NZ), Lawrence Arabia (NZ), Will Crummer and The Rarotongans (Cook Islands/NZ), the Patea Maori Club (NZ) and Whitireia Performing Arts Group (NZ) will perform at WOMAD New Zealand 2011 at New Plymouth's Brooklands Park and TSB Bowl from 18-20 March.
These artists join an outstanding line-up of performers from every corner of the globe delivering musical styles from calypso to afro-celtic, Inuit throat-singing to Mongolian rock, ska-fused rockabilly to electronica and everything in between.
"WOMAD 2011 will be fantastic," said artistic director Drew James. "We've managed to secure some incredible international artists to add to the existing superb line up, as well as some very high profile New Zealand musicians and performers. We're looking forward to a vibrant and exciting festival with music from all over the world."
Also announced this week are three new initiatives at WOMAD New Zealand 2011:
"WOMAD has always been more than just the music and we're looking forward to the local community getting involved in the event in the week leading up to the festival and the Village of Wellness adds another aspect for festival goers to enjoy," Mr James said.
About the artists
Since 1995 Berlin's 17 Hippies have been playing their unique mix of Eastern European melodies and rhythms, with French chanson and American folk music to audiences in Europe and afar. The 13-member ensemble plays a variety of acoustic instruments, including the ukulele, banjo, bagpipes, accordion, bass guitar, guitar, drums and piano.
Bogota-based collective Sidestepper fuse Latin rhythms, dub, drum and bass, dancehall and hip-hop music, uniting electronic and Caribbean trance in a timeless, irresistible dance party. The group have been a prime catalyst for the burgeoning revolution in Colombian music and continue to blaze trails at the forefront of it.
Lyrical pop, indie rock or new folk? It's hard to define the music of Lawrence Arabia but it is clear that he is one of New Zealand's best emerging songwriters with a unique voice and sound. The APRA Silver Scroll and Taite Music award-winner will perform songs from his much anticipated new album alongside his internationally acclaimed older material in a lively and entertaining Saturday afternoon trio set.
Tray So: Three Sounds brings the richness of Cambodian music, theatre and dance to New Plymouth, performing traditional love songs, lullabies, songs of loss and mediation to enchant audiences with some of their culture's historic treasures. The group uses exotic instruments including the evocative sneng made out of animal horn and traditionally used to summon elephants.
Since embarking on his solo artist career in 2007, Tiki Taane has become one of New Zealand's most popular and diverse award-winning artists. His debut album Past Present Future achieved double platinum sales and the single Always On My Mind rose to No. 1 on the NZ music charts.
The former Salmonella Dub member and his band The Dub Soldiers will be joined on stage by Ngaruawahia's celebrated 35-member kapa haka group Te Pou o Mangataawhiri of Turangawaewae Marae.
Pacific treasures Will Crummer and The Rarotongans will delight audiences with their encyclopaedia of Polynesian song. Father of New Zealand singing star Annie Crummer, Will was born in a small Cook Islands village and grew up surrounded by music: the singing of his mother, his grandfather's wind-up gramophone, the ukuleles and handmade percussion of the local string bands. Over the years, he forged a personal singing style, blending the crooning of American rock and roll stars he heard on the radio with the rich and romantic tradition of Rarotongan song.
Since coming to New Zealand in the 60's, Will has recorded and toured the Pacific. In late 2010 Will Crummer went into Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios to record his first album in four decades, accompanied by a group including Annie on harmonies and pa'u (traditional Rarotongan bass drum) and son Pat on guitar and ukulele.
Also representing the Pacific at WOMAD is the Mana Maoli Collective – a synergy of voices defining the new generation of music in Hawai'i and delivering a variety of music styles including reggae, jazz, hip-hop, dancehall, the blues, and weaving together traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music.
Representing Mana Maoli at WOMAD NZ will be Kumu Hula Mehanaokala Hind and dancers, together with an all-star band with Grammy Award-winning singer songwriter John Cruz, Anuhea and members of popular Hawaiian band Natural Vibrations.
Taranaki's Patea Maori Club is a household name, grabbing nationwide attention in 1984 with the waiata Poi E which clocked up 22 weeks in the NZ music charts, peaking at No.1 for four weeks. Poi E has enjoyed a recent revival, featuring in Taika Waititi's 2010 hit film Boy.
The Whitireia Performing Arts Group brings the challenge of the Maori haka, the joy and energy of Samoa and sensual rhythms and drums of the Cook Islands to the festival this year. Drawn from students and graduates at Whitireia NZ (north of Wellington), this dynamic contemporary cultural group has toured internationally to great acclaim for almost 20 years.
A stunning open-air exhibition Better World Art Flags (Australia/UK) also features this year. The exhibition is the result of a long term cultural exchange between Aboriginal artists from South Australia's remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands and Angus Watt, the UK visual artist whose flags have flown at WOMAD NZ since 1999. Twenty original paintings telling the stories of Ngintaka (the Perentie Lizard Man) dreaming will be exhibited alongside 20 Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters) in the Sky flags.
Leading into WOMAD is an extensive community programme involving international and local musicians and Taranaki schoolchildren.
The programme includes music and hula workshops with Mana Maoli sponsored by Shell New Zealand, percussion and dance workshops run by Cairo-based Sudanese band Rango sponsored by Todd Energy, while New Plymouth District Council hosts costume-making workshops with Tarja Parbbruwe at the Govett Brewster Gallery.
Putting the 'D' for Dance into WOMAD is a brand new Dance Zone in the Kunming Garden. The Dance Zone will include interactive dance workshops and demonstrations with live music, for all ages, featuring Brazilian workshops in samba, maculele and capoeira; hula from Hawai'i, and Chinese dragon and lion dancing. Maori and Pasifika dance workshops will also be offered in the Te Pae Pae area, and Columbian group Sidestepper will present workshops onstage.
Another new addition to WOMAD New Zealand 2011 is the Village of Wellness where festival goers can go to revive their bodies, minds and souls with massage, spiritual readings and foot spas to ease tired dancing feet.
WOMAD New Zealand 2011 takes place at New Plymouth's Brooklands Park and TSB Bowl from 18-20 March. Tickets are available through Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK or www.ticketek.co.nz. For more information and the full line-up and programme for WOMAD New Zealand 2011 visit www.womad.co.nz.