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24 juillet 2006

Asian Network makes big plans for Womad

BBC Asian Network is planning to make a big splash at this year's Womad festival for the first time, taking with them a crew of presenters and its own battle bus.

The annual Reading based festival will feature a sizeable contingent of Asian performers and DJ talent for the first time, including the maestro's daughter Anoushka Shankar. Other music artists include Nina Virdee and Trilok Gurtu & Misra Brothers.

After a successful appearance at Glastonbury last year, when it sponsored the Brasian music stage, Asian Network has clearly developed a liking for making an appearance at music festivals.

Mark Strippel, head of music and live events at the national digital radio station told AIM: "It's essential for the BBC Asian Network to have a presence at the biggest festivals in Britain and help build the profile and reputation of Asian music.

"Womad is the first of many such events, and our specialist DJ's will be showcasing British-Asian beats to future global music throughout the weekend."

It will welcome festival goers at their own Musical Rickshaw tent, offering live DJ sets from Bobby Friction (pictured with Nihal), Nerm and Pathaan. A specially designed battle bus, from a converted ambulance, will also blare music sets.

Its broadcasts from Womad will include live performances by the Asian artists on Nikki Bedi's arts, entertainment and culture show, and Pathaan's late night global music show.

Since Glastonbury is not being held this year Womad will assume the position of bringing the most diverse sounds to its audience.

It will feature performances from the Mahotella Queens of South Africa, Värttinä of Finland, England’s Bellowhead, Niger’s desert blues group Etran Finatawa, Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal, Colombian salsa from Roberto Pla, Thomas Mapfumo of Zimbabwe, flamenco singer Enrique Morente and many more.

A stage will also diverse acts from UK-based musicians including Birmingham's Kurdish musicians the Se Tin Trio, Indian classical singer Nina Virdee from Berkshire and London’s Congolese band Kasai Masai.

BBC Radio 3 will also have its own dedicated broadcast stage for the first time, as lead media partner for the event.

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