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Stunning Line-Up for Womad New Zealand 2007

NEWS RELEASE – 31 OCTOBER 2006

Stunning Line-Up for Womad New Zealand 2007

Festival Features 300 Performers from 16 Countries

Multi-award winning performers, the world’s hottest tango music ensemble and virtuoso musicians are among the stellar line-up of artists heading to New Zealand for WOMAD New Zealand 2007.

The programme for WOMAD New Zealand 2007 was launched by Prime Minister Helen Clark at Parliament tonight (SUBS: 31 October) and includes more than 300 performers from 16 countries.

WOMAD New Zealand 2007 takes place at New Plymouth’s Brooklands Park and TSB Bowl from 16-18 March. Tickets go on sale 1 November at 9am and festival-goers should not delay in purchasing their tickets to avoid the disappointment that many experienced when WOMAD 2005 sold out.

Sensational tango music ensemble Gotan Project, hailing from France and Argentina, has been confirmed for the three-day festival and joins a stunning line-up of international performers including Academy Award-nominated Mexican singer Lila Downs, Israel’s incredible Yasmin Levy, world-renowned Chinese bamboo flute virtuoso Guo Yue and the Gyuto Monks from Tibet and Australia.

From Africa comes the ‘Golden Voice of Africa’ afro-pop singer Salif Keita (Mali), Nigeria’s award-winning Afrobeat musician Femi Kuti and his band The Positive Force, Etran Finatawa, a group combining the cultural richness of two of Niger’s nomadic peoples, and the exceptional Mahotella Queens from South Africa.

Other international acts include Kaneka band Celenod (New Caledonia), Australian artist Lior, Portugese fado singer Mariza, Shivkumar and Rahul Sharma from India, and 17-piece ensemble SambaSunda from Indonesia.

A solid line-up of New Zealand performers also features and includes APRA Silver Scroll Award winner Don McGlashan with his new band The Seven Sisters, Porirua-based Maori electronica group Wai (currently performing at Womex Spain), together with the sublime voices of Hollie Smith and Whirimako Black.

Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT) Artistic Director Roger King says WOMAD is a true celebration of world music, arts and dance and an opportunity to really recognise the diversity of performance art in the world.

“The performances on stage at WOMAD are like nothing else you will see again.”

WOMAD New Zealand 2007 follows the hugely successful sold-out 2005 event, which was nominated for a New Zealand Tourism Award. The 2007 festival features an expanded site with additional room, as well as regular features including artist workshops, a global food village, Kidzone and the option to camp at the adjacent racecourse or stay marae-style in the TSB Stadium.

Another new feature for 2007 is Taste The World – an opportunity to sample dishes from around the world cooked on site by WOMAD artists.

“Last year was incredible with a sold out crowd of more than 30,000 enjoying 30 hours of non-stop live music.

“We’re advising people to buy their tickets early to be certain of a spot at WOMAD 2007. Last year we turned away a large number of disappointed people who left it until too late to buy tickets to the festival.”

WOMAD is an international festival created by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Brooman 24 years ago. Since then 21 countries have hosted the festival and entertained millions of festival goers.

Tickets for WOMAD New Zealand 2007 go on sale through Ticketek from 9am Wednesday 1 November. Limited early bird three-day tickets are available for $145. The full line-up and detailed information is available on the WOMAD website www.womad.co.nz


ENDS

www.womad.co.nz

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WOMAD NEW ZEALAND 2007 – BRIEF ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

Celenod (New Caledonia)
Traditionally, the music of the Kanak people of New Caledonia is based on the rhythms of their dance. Six-piece band Celenod performs the modern form of this music, known as kaneka – a mix of dance percussion (bamboo, leaves and wood percussion), acoustic guitar arpeggios, polyphonic vocals inherited from religious choirs, and recent instruments such as drums, bass and keyboards. The group is currently developing a brand new show that will include dance and ancient chants.
Supported by l'Agence pour le Developpement de la Culture Kanak, la Mission aux Affaires Culturelles and le Gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Caledonie

Don McGlashan & The Seven Sisters (New Zealand)
Performing in New Zealand since 1979, Don McGlashan continues to be at the forefront of the New Zealand music scene. His single Bathe In The River won the Apra Silver Scroll in September 2006.
A member of the percussion ensemble From Scratch from 1979-86, Don was drummer and singer with Auckland agit-punk band Blam Blam Blam from 1980-82, and a founder of the innovative music/theatre/film act The Front Lawn in 1985.
Don was singer and primary songwriter in The Mutton Birds from 1991 to 2002 with which he toured internationally until returning to NZ in 2000. At WOMAD he performs with his new band The Seven Sisters.

Etran Finatawa (Niger)
Etran Finatawa combines the rich nomadic cultures of the Tuareg and Wodaabe people from the West African country of Niger – a region that for thousands of years has served as a crossroads between the Arabs of North Africa and the sub-Saharan traditions. Etran Finatawa blend traditional instruments with electric guitars, combining the polyphonic songs of the Wodaabe people with modern arrangements, and transporting you to the Sahara with their evocative sound.

Femi Kuti and The Positive Force (Nigeria)
The undisputed inheritor of the genius of Nigerian Afrobeat superstar Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti has had no problem carving his own musical identity and his version of Afrobeat is the most exciting new sound to emerge from Nigeria for years. He borrows his father’s funky, jazzy, heavily percussive sound that took James Brown's beat back to Africa and adds the freshness and exuberance of young Lagos and its taste for the new R&B and dance music of America and Europe. Expect a blaze of dance, and Femi’s own brand of glorious foot-to-the-floor Afrobeat.

Gotan Project (France/Argentina)
Five years on from breaking new ground in tango and electronica with their massive debut, 'La Revancha Del Tango' which sold more than one million albums worldwide, Gotan Project stunned the world with the release of the divine Lunatico (2005). Now the band is coming to WOMAD to serve up their tantalising, dubbed up, ultra contemporary take on Tango. Gotan Project’s first ever show in New Zealand will be truly unmissable.

Guo Yue (China)
Guo Yue is a world-renowned virtuoso of the Chinese bamboo flute. As a child Guo Yue learned how to put not just his breath but his whole body into his playing – creating curvaceous notes that blend and swoop to form an astonishingly gentle and beautiful sound.

Gyuto Monks (Tibet/Australia)
"The Gyuto Monks are masters of Tibetan Buddhist tantric ritual and their lives are dedicated to practicing tantric ideals. To be with them, to observe and be touched by their humanity, is to see kindness in action."
Visiting New Zealand for the first time, the Gyuto Monks will offer a cultural programme enabling all ages to participate in sampling the ancient Tibetan creative arts of sand mandala creation, harmonic chanting and meditation.
Known throughout the world for their unique deep overtone chanting, the sound has a visceral impact on the body and mind, which will leave you experiencing a new joy and sense of wellbeing.

Hollie Smith (New Zealand)
With standout collaborations with Trinity Roots, Fat Freddy's Drop, Don McGlashan and One Million Dollars, Hollie Smith has been turning heads in New Zealand music. Her deep, rich and soulful singing and songwriting has drawn praise from all who have heard her perform.
Hollie's wide range of musical influences combine elements of soul, jazz, reggae and R&B in a distinctive manner that vividly illustrates her considerable talents. Whatever style she embraces, Hollie creates an intriguing mix of sensual, melodic and earthy songs filled with depth, passion and power.

Lila Downs (Mexico)
Sporting long straight jet black hair and vibrant Mexican inspired clothing Lila Downs cuts a striking figure on any stage. Exploring and expressing Mexico’s rich culture has been a lifelong passion for Lila and she embodies the spirit of her music with her extraordinary voice and an emotion-drenched performance. The diversity of her pan-American band is reflected in novel arrangements from Mexican cumbia, classic ranchera, waltz, bolero and original compositions experimenting with rap, jazz and reggae. Lila promises to be one HOT show!
By arrangement with Maggie Gerrand Presents
Lior (Australia)
In early 2005, Lior released his critically acclaimed debut album Autumn Flow, which went Gold, making it one of the most successful independent debut releases by an Australian artist. Lior's sound is a rootsy mix of styles that always harks back to the lyric and melody. With Middle Eastern heritage, Lior also keeps the music of his bloodline close to the surface, but it is his voice that has drawn most attention, capable of both power and tenderness, it always delivers with soul in its truest sense.

Mahotella Queens (South Africa)
The Mahotella Queens belong to the legend of urban South-African music. This engaging, exceptional and joyous trio have gone through one of South Africa’s most sombre periods without anger or resentment, managing to retain the energy and humour through their music. When it comes to the beat of Soweto, the Mahotella Queens are among its true pioneers. Let yourself embark on a journey to the rainbow nation – to dance and to dream!

Mariza (Portugal)
The “Fado” is for the Portuguese what “Tango” is for the Argentinians and the “Flamenco” for the Spanish. This is the kind of music that one does not just play, or just sing, but more than anything else one feels. On stage Portuguese Fado singer Mariza emanates charm and charisma in equal parts. With her impeccable taste in haute couture, immaculately sculpted hair and strong but sensual voice, she was every bit the star at WOMAD Reading in the UK in 2006.


Salif Keita (Mali)
Internationally recognised afro-pop singer-songwriter Salif Keita is unique not only because of his reputation as the “Golden Voice of Africa”, but because he is an albino and a direct descendant of the founder of the Mali Empire, Sundiata Keita. Mali’s greatest voice, Salif Keita has had a seismic impact on the musical landscape of modern West Africa and beyond. His soaring sandpaper-and-honey voice, producing high drama one moment and intimate compassion the next, is unique. Salif allows his roots to speak in revisiting the works of his youth, in funk, soul and rock, with wisdom and mastery. A true music icon.

SambaSunda (Indonesia)
SambaSunda is a 17-piece ensemble from Bandung, the capital of Western Java, who face the challenges of modernity with relish, imagination and more than a splash of courage. They take Indonesia’s rich musical traditions and meld them with flavours from the hustle and bustle of modern Indonesia and from as far afield as Brazil, hence the ‘Samba’ in the name. The result is mesmerising melodies, palpitating percussion, the hypnotic, heavy bass of the big gongs and an intoxicating infusion of deep roots with fresh spices served up Sunda style.
By arrangement with the Australia Indonesia Arts Alliance

Shivkumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma (India)
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is a household name in India. Single-handedly, he has lifted the Santoor, a folk instrument previously found only in the valley of Kashmir, to full acceptance within the classical repertoire, to the extent that the Santoor is now a key instrument used in soundtracks in the booming Indian film industry. In the past three decades, Shivkumar Sharma has established a lineage of disciples, including his son, Rahul, who plays jugalbandi (duet) with his father. Together, father and son will perform Santoor Jugalbandhi.
By arrangement with the Nataraj Cultural Centre and with support from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations
Wai (New Zealand)
Five-member Mäori electronica roots band Wai hail from Porirua and bring traditional Mäori music and dance together with phat beats and electronica. The 100% te reo lyrics and poi provide a rhythmic skeleton which is then cloaked in electronica, producing a strong, soulful and passionate sound. Wai’s sound incorporates patere, ngeri, haka, waiata poi, waiata ringa, pao and waiata tangi style, vocal patterns and harmonies with organic natural beats and rhythms. Wai has performed internationally in the UK, USA and Europe and previously performed at WOMAD New Zealand in 2003.

Whirimako Black (New Zealand)
Whirimako Black’s distinctive sound, her lyrics in te reo Mäori, her use of traditional Mäori musical forms and collaboration with traditional taonga puoro instruments make her a unique and powerful voice for Mäori music and culture. With five albums to her credit and guest appearances on three other album projects she received the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Mäori music in the 2006 New Years Honours list.

Yasmin Levy (Israel)
With a BBC Award for World Music nomination and two stunning albums under her belt, she’s the hot name on everyone’s lips. It’s the voice, you see. It instantly renders anyone within earshot immobile. Haunting, strident and swooping, it revives the ancient art of Ladino singing, the Judeo-Spanish style whose songs reach back to 15th-century Spain.
Born in Jerusalem 31 years ago to the leading academic on Judeo-Spanish culture, Yasmin reinvigorates this almost-extinct tradition, crucially updating these beautiful centuries-old songs and often mixing them with the sultry heat of flamenco.

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WOMAD NEW ZEALAND 2007 – BACKGROUND

ABOUT WOMAD
WOMAD – World of Music, Arts and Dance – the name expresses the central aim of the festival; to bring together and celebrate many forms of music, arts and dance drawn from countries and cultures all over the world.

WOMAD aims to excite, to inform, and to create awareness of the worth and potential of a multicultural society.

Originally inspired by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Brooman, the first WOMAD festival was held in 1982. Since then there have been more than 140 WOMAD festivals in 22 countries around the world attended by more than one million people.

"The festivals have also allowed many different audiences to gain an insight into cultures other than their own through the enjoyment of music,” Peter Gabriel says.

“Music is a universal language, it draws people together and proves, as well as anything, the stupidity of racism."

WOMAD New Zealand 2007 will be the fifth time this unique festival has been held in New Zealand, and the third time New Plymouth has played host to the event following the hugely successful sold-out 2005 festival.

WOMAD New Zealand 2005 was the biggest music festival of the summer of 2005 with more than 30,000 people attending over the three days plus an estimated 3000 children. Almost two-thirds of the audience was from outside Taranaki with 35% of the visitors hailing from either Auckland or Wellington. WOMAD New Zealand 2005 contributed $4.52million to the Taranaki economy.

WOMAD co-founder and artistic director Thomas Brooman visited Taranaki prior to the 2003 event.

“We looked at a number of proposals for possible cities to host WOMAD in New Zealand. New Plymouth, Taranaki provided by far the most comprehensive and appealing case. The combination of unique facilities and location with Brooklands Park and the TSB Bowl – this must be one of the most beautiful venues in the world.”


ENDS

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