WOMAD NZ Announce Line-up And Exciting Changes At Festival Launch


The internationally established three day world music, arts and dance festival WOMAD is all about artist discovery and the 2019 festival once again features an array of artists from all corners of the globe.

One of the WOMAD 2019 acts announced last month, the multi-national music collective the Silkroad Ensemble described its artistic process in the following words; "When we create music together we listen to our differences, connecting and creating meaning from them" - nothing for me sums up WOMAD better than that - Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Artists from countries as varied as Benin, Belgium, Ireland, Wales, Mexico and Greece are all invited to Aotearoa next March to share their cultures, identities and heritage and to tell ancient, joyous and powerful tales via a mixture of traditional and modern performances. From upbeat Afropsychedelic party vibes to quiet moments of reflection and meditation featuring cellos, bagpipes and voices, WOMAD is a dizzying cocktail of exhilarating experiences for all.


Image by: Charlott Curd

Once again set in the stunning 55-acre Brooklands Park and the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, amongst the trees and the lake, and under the watch of the mighty mount Taranaki WOMAD New Zealand 2019 will see the festival celebrate its 15th anniversary New Plymouth, 15-17 March 2019.

With over 20 local and international artists announced tonight, WOMAD New Zealand is excited to be able to deliver the discoverable and eclectic line up so far...

Joining the early and engaging international line-up announce of Angelique Kidjo (Benin) and Silkroad Ensemble (Various) is: Amjad Ali Khan (India), Baloji (DR Congo/ Belguim), BCUC - Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (South Africa), Dona Onete (Brazil), Jamie Smith's Mabon (Wales), La Dame Blanche (Cuba), Las Cafeteras (Mexico), Maalem Hamid El Kasri (Morocco), Maarja Nuut (Estonia), My Baby (Netherlands), Rebetien (Greece), Sharon Shannon Band (Ireland) and Taiwu Childrens Ancient Ballads Troupe (Taiwan).


Image by: Amandala

Keeping things fresh, the festival are highlighting our home grown talent with a top heavy, off the bat local announce. Joining the already announced Teeks (Aotearoa) are: Charlotte Johansen (Aotearoa), Finn Andrews (Aotearoa / United Kingdom), KORA (Aotearoa), Nadia Reid (Aotearoa), Niko Ne Zna(Aotearoa), Ria Hall (Aotearoa) and The Black Seeds (Aotearoa).

Tonight WOMAD announced a refreshed and revamped Kunming area with a dedicated World Of Words stage to meet the popular demand of the programme.


Image by: Andy Jackson

The World of Words for 2019 has been re-located to the beautiful setting of the Kunming Garden area. This will allow for a revitalisation of this area alongside an upmarket bar serving craft beers, fine wines and gin cocktails. Due to the popularity of the World of Words programme we have extended the programming to include late night slots. Festival goers can enjoy the relaxed beauty of the Kunming area whilst listening to top notch authors, presenters and comedians - Suzanne Porter (Chief Executive at TAFT)Exclusive to New Zealand, The World Of Words artists revealed tonight are:
Dominic Tourettes Hoey (Aotearoa), Elizabeth Smither (Aotearoa), Marama Mullen (Aotearoa), Marcus Thomas and Neil Silverwood (Aotearoa), Michael Donaldson (Aotearoa), Michele A'Court (Aotearoa), Nick Bollinger (Aotearoa), Penny Ashton (Aotearoa), Pip Adam (Aotearoa) and Sonya Renee Taylor (Aotearoa).

Another artist announce is scheduled for late November 2018.

Pack a smile, WOMAD New Zealand is happening 15-17 March 2019.


Meet Your 2019 Artists!


Amjad Ali Khan (India)

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Amjad Ali Khan is one of the undisputed masters of the music world. Born to sarod maestro Haafiz Ali Khan, Amjad is widely credited with re-inventing the technique of playing the sarod. Performing as a trio with his sons, Amaan and Ayaan, their work creates an exhilarating blend between East and West.



Angelique Kidjo (Benin)

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In 1980 Talking Heads’ Remain in Light album, heavily influenced by the music of West Africa, caught the attention of a young Angelique Kidjo in Paris. Hearing it again years later sparked the idea of a full circle deconstruction that seemed only natural. Using Afrobeat horns and percussion, and infusing the lyrics with new meaning, Grammy Award-winning Angelique brings her stunning twist on a classic album to WOMAD in March.


Baloji (DR Conjo/Belgium)

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Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but raised in Belgium, Baloji is a musician, film director and innovative artist. He infuses his heady cocktail of futuristic funk, soul, rap and Congolese soukous with a poetic political punch, which will appeal not only to your feet, but your head and heart as well.


BCUC Bantu Continua Uhuru Conciousness (South Africa)

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Imbibed with the spirit of Fela Kuti, this “Afropsychedelic” ensemble BCUC blend stirring harmony vocals with extended funk and rock jams that draw deeply on indigenous spiritual traditions. Expect to be mesmerised by startling, high-energy performances that in a short space of time have made them one of South Africa's most successful musical exports.


Charlotte Johansen (Aotearoa)


Charlotte Johansen has mastered the fine art of writing lyrics that blend a keen sense of satire with everyday emotional truth. Turning her thoughts into catchy tunes and her performances into memorable moments on stage has seen her record three albums, and open for Dave Dobbyn and Shona Laing.


Dona Onete (Brazil)

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Known as the Grande Dame of Amazonian Song, Dona Onete released her debut album when she turned 73 in 2014 - yet she’s been singing all her life. Dona Onete is a vivacious storyteller who joyously sings of love, sex and her life in the Amazon. Her sound is a unique twist on Carimbo, a blend of rhythms from native Brazilians, African slaves and the Caribbean.


Finn Andrews (Aotearoa/UK)

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Critically acclaimed singer songwriter Finn Andrews is best known for his London-based band The Veils. Their explosive and emotive live shows make them one of New Zealand’s most revered exports. 2019 sees the long awaited debut solo album of Finn, who has been likened to both Nick Cave and David Bowie.


Jamie Smith's Mabon (Wales)

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Jamie Smith was brought up playing Welsh folk tunes, but quickly embraced traditional sounds from all Celtic countries. His compositions draw influence from a deep knowledge base that isn’t bound to the past. Celebrating two decades of creating irresistible Celtic-inspired music, these are joyful, imaginative and bold tunes that are designed to move you.


KORA - (Aotearoa)


Regarded as one of New Zealand’s most electric and sonically powerful live bands, Kora are back to wow this WOMAD. The five-piece band is known for their huge live presence, with vocal harmonies that sail on a powerhouse rhythm section. This diverse and energetic group fuse elements of reggae, rock, dub, roots and funk.


La Dame Blanche (Cuba)

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Singer, flutist and percussionist La Dame Blanche grew up in a strong musical family, her father is Jesus ‘Aguaje’ Ramos, trombonist extraordinaire and the artistic director of the Buena Vista Social Club. She moved to Paris to seek her own identity, exploring a world of sound and offers an explosive mix of hip-hop, cumbia, dancehall and reggae.


Las Cafeteras (Mexico/USA)

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Las Cafeteras fuse Afro-Mexican, hip-hop, folk and First Nations rhythms into songs of activism and celebration. Generating a genre-bending sound and electric live performance with four versatile vocalists, their lyrically rich storytelling shares the hidden stories of migrant life in Los Angeles.


Maalem Hamid El Kasri (Morocco)

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The guembri is a distinctive instrument, a three-stringed bass lute found most in gnawa, the North African music of former black slaves. In the hands of Maalem Hamid El Kasri, the guembri travels the range of emotions, from mournful and melancholic to uplifting and celebrative. And as his fingers pick out their complex melodies, his deep, sonorous voice widens the emotion palette even further. Music that appears on the surface to be simple in fact boasts many layers and hidden depths.


Maarja Nuut (Estonia)

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Maarja Nuut is a startling and atmospheric folk artist from Estonia. Using live looping to rework Baltic folk styles this accomplished violinist and ethereal singer creates impressively original, intricate and often edgy and unsettling songs. Known for her quirky and haunting storytelling, Maarja is an award-winning and critically acclaimed artist taking the music world by storm.


My Baby (Netherlands)

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Known for their roots driven sound infused with hints of gospel and blues, and ancient folk melodies, My Baby’s performances have been described as a “voodoo trance experience"


Nadia Reid (Aotearoa)

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Nadia Reid has attained global success and claimed her place as one of the most evocative and profound young songwriters of the decade. With a richness of voice, a depth of emotion and wisdom beyond her years, Billboard Magazine has hailed her as the voice “saving folk music.”


Niko ne Zna (Aotearoa)

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Niko ne Zna are a high-octane nine-piece musical extravaganza filled with wildly infectious rhythms and hypnotic melodies. Even the most rhythmically challenged move and groove when this band starts playing their captivating original music, alongside their beloved tunes from the gypsy-soaked Balkan States.


Rebetien (Greece)

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Rebetien performs songs mostly derived from the Rebetiko and the Greek traditional music repertoire, as well as compositions of their own. Their nostalgic sound is reminiscent of the gramophone era, often subtly combined with alternate, yet closely-related, musical styles of various Eastern Mediterranean and Balkan musical traditions.


Ria Hall (Aotearoa)

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Ria Hall is a powerful performer, whose sought after live set has seen her play to audiences of thousands at a number of festivals across Australasia. Winning awards and critical acclaim, her sound fuses furious hip-hop beats and richly layered vocals in English and Te Reo Māori, creating an epic soundscape that embraces and challenges multiple genres.


Sharon Shannon Band (Ireland)

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Sharon Shannon is a genre-defying accordion player who is widely respected and deeply talented. Known for broadening the horizons of traditional music in the 1980s and '90s, Sharon is thoroughly versed in Irish music, and fearlessly mixes her accordion and fiddle playing with all manner of different styles - from reggae to country.


Silkroad Ensemble (Various)

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Founded by superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Silkroad Ensemble is a Grammy Award-winning collective of musicians and composers from more than 20 countries. Their sound is a vibrant odyssey-scale celebration of world music and the beauty of converging cultures and instruments – from tabla to bagpipes, shakuhachi to strings… a Silkroad performance is nothing short of exhilarating!


Taiwu Children’s Ancient Ballads Troupe (Taiwan)

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Taiwu Children's Ancient Ballads Troupe started with the visionary passion of teacher Camake Valaule and five students from Taiwu Elementary School, to document, perform and hold high the traditional songs of the Paiwan tribal villages. So far the troupe, now an 18-strong choir with band, has unveiled over 40 ancient songs that deal with love, work and ceremonies. They have been described as making “heavenly music that allows one to see the mountains and hear the breeze”.


Teeks (Aotearoa)

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Steeped in old-school soul and yet glimmering with golden moments that capture the strength of youth, 23-year-old Teeks is an artist with a big future. His velvety voice and boldly honest lyrics have already attracted a legion of devotees, as well as the title of New Zealand’s up and coming soul sensation.


The Black Seeds (Aotearoa)

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Described by Rolling Stone magazine as "The Best Reggae band in the world right now" The Black Seeds infuse their incredible live shows with raw energy and good vibes. While firmly based in the island grooves that inspired the birth of the band, The Black Seeds' sound casts a wide net, layering funk, soul, Afrobeat, and other eclectic elements over dub and reggae.


Meet Your 2019 World Of Words Artists


Dominic “Tourettes” Hoey (Aotearoa)

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Under the pseudonym Tourettes, Dominic Hoey has crafted five critically acclaimed studio albums, written two books, a novel, four short films, and a one-man show. As well as being an author and a musician, Dominic is a slam-poetry champion who has performed in Australia, Europe, England, Japan and America.


Elizabeth Smither (Aotearoa)

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Elizabeth Smither is a multi-award-winning New Zealand poet, novelist and short story writer. Her numerous collections of poetry have been published alongside several novels and short story collections. In 2002 she was named the Te Mata Poet Laureate, and in 2018 her collection Night Horse won the poetry category of the 50th Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.


Marama Mullen (Aotearoa)

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In 1993 Marama Mullen contracted HIV from Peter Mwai. She was part of the case against him and had a long road to recovery in the wake of the trial and her diagnosis. Since then she has co-founded a support organisation, spoken at the UN and the World Health Organisation, and has received the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to HIV.


Marcus Thomas and Neil Silverwood (Aotearoa)

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Marcus Thomas and Neil Silverwood are the team behind one of the most handsome books published in 2017, Caves: Exploring New Zealand’s Subterranean Wilderness. The book delivers a treat for cavers and non-cavers alike by showcasing the beauty of this country’s underground cavern, and the mettle of those who explore them. This book won Neil the New Zealand Geographic 2017 Photographer of the Year Award.


Michael Donaldson (Aotearoa)

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Michael Donaldson is the award-winning author of Beer Nation – the Art and Heart of Kiwi Beer, and The Big Book of Home Brewing – a Kiwi Guide. As is the editor of Pursuit of Hoppiness magazine, and a columnist for Your Weekend magazine, Michael and his taste buds are at the forefront of what’s hot in the beer world.


Michèle A'Court (Aotearoa)

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Stand-up comedian Michèle A’Court has been on TV screens since 1987 and still manages to turn up all over the place. She’s an MC, an entertainer, an actor, a voice artist, and a writer. Following on from her hit first book Stuff I forgot to Tell My Daughter, her second book How We Met is about how real people fall in love and how storytelling helps them stay in love.


Nick Bollinger (Aotearoa)

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Nick Bollinger worked as a postie and trained as a teacher before finding an outlet for his musical obsession as a journalist and critic. His latest book, Goneville, is a coming-of-age story and an intimate look at the evolving music scene in 1970s New Zealand. It shows how music intersected - sometimes violently - with the prevailing culture, in which real men played rugby, not rock.


Penny Ashton (Aotearoa)

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Poet, comedienne, actor, TV presenter, improviser, and all round show off Penny Ashton is back to host Poetry Slam at WOMAD. Known as Ms Hot Pink, Penny is often found gallivanting around the world with her trademark red hair, clutching a microphone and busting out sassy rhymes.


Pip Adam (Aotearoa)

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When she’s not busy writing award-winning novels or reviewing books on Radio New Zealand, Pip Adam can be found teaching writing at Arohata Women’s Prison. Her works include a collection of short stories, the novel I’m Working on a Building, and her second novel, The New Animals, which won the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.


Sonya Renee Taylor (Aotearoa)

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Sonya Renee Taylor is an author, poet, spoken word artist, speaker, social justice activist, educator, and founder of The Body is Not An Apology movement. She has won multiple international poetry slams, and is a transformational leader who enlightens and inspires audiences everywhere from boardrooms and universities, to prisons and homeless shelters.

Our goal is to sprinkle the landscape with experiences that exist beyond our own. Our hope is that everyone will discover something new, something that moves them and we can't wait to deliver and celebrate another diverse and exciting festival in Taranaki - Emere Wano (WOMAD Event Director and NZ Programme Manager)

WOMAD Festival tickets are on sale now here




Written By: Radio13

What people are saying

  • Graham Hooper - 22 months ago

    Wow a Great Line up. I Do Love My Baby. having Seen them Twice. In NZ Kings Arms and Whammy Bar. But The Blackseeds "Best Reggae Band in the World" ? according to Rolling Stone? Really i want to See that Article .and See Where they Played and Who reviewed them. I have been to many Raggamuffin Festivals and Seen Many Reggae bands From NZ and International Bands. But Would not have them as the Number one Reggae Band in the World. The Original Members ofUB40 are Great The Marley Family Brothers are Awesome. Katchafire are Still going Strong.