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23 novembre 2008

Womad 08

Written by Reporter Thursday, 06 November 2008

Tony Allen

If you wanted to attend the UK WOMAD Festival (held in July) it would have set you back 125 of your English pounds for a weekend ticket. WOMAD Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (6th-9th November), however, is an altogether cheaper affair as entrance is entirely free; good news in these credit-crunch times, I’m sure you’ll agree.

WOMAD stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance. First held in 1982, it’s a festival pioneered by Peter Gabriel and other lovers of global beats and grooves. The venue for the Gran Canarian version, as for the past nine years, will be the Parque de Santa Cantalina. As well as performances from artists from all over the world, you’ll be able to enjoy DJ sessions and creative workshops for both adults and children. The childrens’ procession on Sunday is a highlight, with kids displaying what they have made over the weekend (last year’s parade included kites, flags, and a veritable orchestra of musical instruments) to a wider audience.

Although stage times have yet to be confirmed, major draws include Femi (son of Fela) Kuti & The Positive Force. The finest living exponent of Afrobeat, Kuti never fails to work a crowd up into a frenzy. That genre’s co-creator, Tony Allen, the funky drummer himself, likewise makes an appearance. Originally Fela’s sticksman, Allen has also collaborated with the likes of Damon Albarn and Art Blakey. For the benefit of the many ex-pats who enjoy WOMAD Las Palmas de Gran Canaria each year, the UK music scene does not go under-represented. Delivering a big shout from the Bristol Massive are DJ Mr Benn and MC Souls Liberation. Marrying the beats of hip-hop to the booming bass of reggae, this is music to shake your booty to.

Another master turntablist making his way from British shores comes in the shape of DJ Yoda. Billed as one of the ‘top 10 DJs you must see before you die’ by Q Magazine, Yoda is the king of the cut and the paste. There are few other DJs, one would imagine, who could get away with splicing the Indiana Jones theme tune with dubstep. And Canarian artists feature prominently too. From the traditional El Guincho, to the new, The FEOS (The Funky Experience Orgasmic Sound), there’s something for everyone. Although special mention must be reserved for Tenerife’s The Good Company, a gutsier version of Coldplay, who sing their emotional rock songs entirely in English.

Although you may not quite feel like the WOMAD goer who wrote “Someone, please take me back to last Friday and put the weekend on loop!” after returning from this year’s UK festival, you’re bound to have heartily enjoyed yourself by the time Sunday evening comes around. Good times are here again; for all.

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