WOMAD festival announces first acts for 40th Anniversary!

WOMAD organisers are excited to share the first lineup announcement for WOMAD 2022 with you all! This year’s 40th anniversary celebration features an array of amazing artists from around the world featuring ANGELIQUE KIDJO, FATOUMATA DIAWARA, KAE TEMPEST, THE FLAMING LIPS, SUGARHILL GANG & THE FURIOUS FIVE, FANTASTIC NEGRITO, NITIN SAWHNEY, GREENTEA PENG and so many more.

The WOMAD weekend at Charlton Park from 28 – 31 July will embrace the joys of community, friendship, diversity, and tolerance at a time when the world needs it more than ever.

Making a triumphant return to Charlton Park the esteemed Malian singer FATOUMATA DIAWARA’S (Mali) distinctive, energetic, and powerful performance will be kicking off this anniversary event on Thursday night.

The legendary ANGELIQUE KIDJO (Benin) will perform her electrifying re-imagination of Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, taking the classic original version and enhancing it with her euphoric voice and striking fusion of West African traditions with R&B, funk, and jazz, whilst award-winning wordsmith KAE TEMPEST (UK) makes their WOMAD debut with their creative diagnosis of the 21st century urban condition, which has earned them respect and plaudits galore.

Others performing at WOMAD for the first time; FANTASTIC NEGRITO’S backstory reads like something out of a film; leaving home at 12, hustling his way to a record deal in LA before a horrific car crash broke all his limbs and left him in a coma – now he is a one-man performing whirlwind who mixes soul, blues and R&B together to tell his story through his music. Iconic avant-garde rock band, THE FLAMING LIPS (US) will bring their frenetic labyrinth of psychedelic anthems and one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time THE SUGARHILL GANG (US), famous for the 1979 track Rappers Delight and who have themselves just celebrated their 40th anniversary, will bring their old school hip hop sound to Charlton Park.

Also performing for the first time the only all-female mariachi band in Europe, MARIACHI LAS ADELITAS (Mexico/Cuba/Colombia/Italy/UK), a multi-national mariachi band born out of a desire to shatter stereotypes within this traditionally male-dominated genre will bring their unique repertoire to WOMAD 2022.

Returning to WOMAD from West Africa is the magical kora player and singer SONA JOBARTEH (Gambia) who is renown as the first female professional kora player from any of the griot family dynasties, and the thrilling all-female supergroup LES AMAZONES D’AFRIQUE, a creative force whose vibrant harmonies are a call to arms to the women of the world to unite.

Musical polymath NITIN SAWHNEY (UK) will be returning to WOMAD to perform tracks from his latest album Immigrants, the sequel to the 1999 Mercury-nominated Beyond Skin alone with music from his prolific back catalogue. Another long-overdue return is that of post-punk/funk Mancunians A CERTAIN RATIO (UK) whose last appearance on a WOMAD stage was in Mersea Island in Essex 35 years ago, while THE DHOL FOUNDATION (UK/India) will bring bhangra and Bollywood to the festival led by the irrepressible Johnny Kalsi. Other home-grown acts include psychedelic R’n’B artist GREENTEA PENG (UK), a neo-soul artist compared to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill but with added psychedelic.

The best possible way to celebrate 40 years of WOMAD, shining a spotlight on the cultures of the world, is our long-awaited return to Charlton Park after two difficult years, and what a return it will be with this spectacular line-up. At WOMAD we have received so much love and support from everyone who makes WOMAD possible we guarantee to repay that support with an unforgettable weekend that launches the next 40 years of the World’s Festival

Chris Smith, Festival Director

Earth Mother vibes and Mercury-nominated ten-piece SEED. (UK) combine jazz with inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influenced grooves. Two-tone ska band and legends of the genre THE SELECTER (UK) are back and led by the effervescent Pauline Black –and are ready to deliver hit after hit on Thursday night, the uplifting and infectious rhythms of ONIPA (Ghana/UK) who mingle traditional African percussion and electronic music will raise the dance floor heat with their high energy Afro-futurism and NUBIYAN TWIST (UK) offer a monumental fusion of Afro-jazz, Soul and Afrobeat.

Womad UK 2022 first poster