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Between 13 and 15 March, the New Zea­l­and WOMAD fest­iv­al returns to Brook­lands Park and TSB Bowl of Brook­lands in New Ply­mouth for yet anoth­er week­end of incred­ible music, arts and dance from across the globe.

One of the most beau­ti­ful out­door fest­ivals New Zea­l­and has to offer, WOMAD also fea­tures food, arts, crafts and, cru­cially, the fam­ily-friendly Kid­zone. It’s always an enrich­ing and life-affirm­ing trip away, and this year looks set to be no dif­fer­ent. Below I look at four acts from the line-up who genu­inely deserve your ears.


Luzm­ila Carpio

Since she began record­ing in 1969, Bolivi­an singer/charango play­er Luzm­ila Car­pio has been cel­eb­rat­ing the ancient music and cul­ture of the Andes through col­our­ful cos­tume, per­form­ance and song. Flu­ent in the Aymara and 2,000-year-old Quechua tongues, she has a stun­ningly unique bird-like voice and was once described by Yehudi Menuh­in as a “singing viol­in”. I prefer to say her songs are so joy­ful that they make Kate Bush sound like Darth Vader. With­in her music, Luzm­ila pays respect to nature, rebels against west­ern col­on­isa­tion, and ral­lies against sex­ism, injustice and racism. Live, or on record, she provides an unfor­get­table experience.

Malawi Mouse Boys

Vocal group Malawi Mouse Boys recall the devo­tion­al power and ‘Sunday best’ pur­ity of the great Amer­ic­an gos­pel record­ings of the 1950s. How­ever, their sin­gu­lar inter­pret­a­tion of that form grew into what it is today in the unlikely land­locked Afric­an coun­try of Malawi. Across their two albums, sky-high six-part har­mon­ies pluck at heartstrings over the top of idio­syn­crat­ic junk­yard guitars/ukuleles and DIY per­cus­sion. Pro­duced by Ian Bren­nan (Tin­ari­wen, Lucinda Wil­li­ams, Richard Thompson), 2012’s He Is #1 and 2014’s Dirt Is Good have won them crit­ic­al love and world­wide tour­ing oppor­tun­it­ies. A quick You­Tube browse marks the group out as an essen­tial WOMAD listen.

Meeta Pan­dit

For six gen­er­a­tions, the fam­ily of Indi­an clas­sic­al singing star Meeta Pan­dit have rep­res­en­ted a 200-year-old tra­di­tion of elite sing­ers. Blessed with a fra­gile-yet-firm voice that stretches over three octaves, Meeta’s detailed treat­ment of her country’s clas­sic­al music has won her region­al acclaim and status as a youth icon in India. Be it Tappa, Khay­al, Tarana, Bhajan, Thumri, Sufi or cross-cul­tur­al music, her per­form­ances are immacu­late. Accom­pan­ied live by a tabla play­er and a sarangi play­er (an Indi­an 38-string viol­in), her music hits you like a tid­al wave.

Ramzi_TEMPRamzi Abured­wan

Through vir­tu­oso skill and an emo­tion­al sens­ib­il­ity, Ramzi Abured­wan uses the viol­in and long-necked buzuq to tell heart­felt stor­ies of Palestine with his deeply cine­mat­ic instru­ment­al pieces. Born in Beth­le­hem in the late 1970s, Ramzi grew up in the al-Am’ari Refugee Camp in Ramal­lah. Deeply affected by the Israeli occu­pa­tion of Palestine dur­ing his child­hood, at 16 he took part in a music work­shop, which even­tu­ally led to fur­ther music­al study in France. He now divides his time between con­cert per­form­ance, bandlead­ing, music­al dir­ec­tion, com­pos­i­tion, and arrange­ment with Ensemble Dal’Ouna and the Palestine Nation­al Arab­ic Music Ensemble.