Current Issue #488

WOMADelaide reveals first taste of 2020 lineup

Aldous Harding, Mavis Staples, Spinifex Gum and Bill Callahan

US gospel and soul icon Mavis Staples leads a potent preview of the 2020 WOMADelaide program that includes cult US folk crooner Bill Callahan, Kiwi songwriter Aldous Harding and WOMAD mainstays The Cat Empire.

Chicago-born Staples has led a storied musical career spanning seven decades, from soundtracking the 1960s civil rights movement with her family outfit The Staples Singers through to more recent collaborations with rock figures like Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, who produced Staples’ 2017 album If All I Was Was Black. Mavis returns to WOMADelaide in 2020 having previously performed at the 2008 festival.

Crowd-pleasing roots ensemble The Cat Empire will also be returning next year for their fifth WOMADelaide appearance. Also on the lineup is Spinifex Gum, an intercultural collaboration that has seen Cat Empire frontman Felix Riebl work with communities in the Pilbara region to develop a series of hip hop influenced choral pop songs in sung English and Yindjibarndi by the young women of Cairns-based choir Marliya. A highlight of last year’s Adelaide Festival, the project’s second album is due to land in November.

Few contemporary artists capture the beauty and malaise of America better than Bill Callahan, who resurfaced in June with his first album in six years, Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest. The artist formerly known as Smog has visited Adelaide a few times in the past, including an intimate show at the former Jade Monkey around a decade ago. Callahan will perform at WOMADelaide as part of a wider national tour announced earlier this week.

Kiwi songwriter Aldous Harding has emerged as one New Zealand’s most celebrated contemporary artists in recent years, with her acclaimed third album Designer earning Harding her country’s top music prize the Silver Scroll earlier this month. Harding previously visited Adelaide as part of the 2018 St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.

Led by songwriter Nai Palm, Grammy-nominated Melbourne outfit Hiatus Kayote have rapidly developed an international fanbase on the back of their ‘future soul’ sound that has seen them sampled by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Chance The Rapper. WOMADelaide will be the band’s first Adelaide performance since reconvening after Palm’s 2018 solo debut Needle Paw.

Festival organisers have also revealed next year’s performance art centrepiece in As The World Tipped, a nightly “aerial spectacular” from UK company Wired Aerial Theatre that will explore the climate emergency through a combination of dance, acrobatics and projections suspended 13 metres above the audience in Frome Park.

This first announcement also includes a raft of acts from around the world including Salif Keita, Cuba’s Orquesta Akokán and Kikagaku Moyo from Japan. A second lineup announcement is due to land later this year.

March 6 – 9

WOMADelaide 2020

WOMADelaide 2020 first lineup announcement

Bill Callahan (USA)
The Cat Empire (Australia)
Ezra Collective (UK)
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita. (Wales/Senegal)
Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi (USA/Italy)
Aldous Harding (New Zealand)
Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)
Trio da Kali (Mali)
Salif Keita (Mali)
Kikagaku Moyo (Japan)
Liniker e os Caramelows (Brazil)
Mavis Staples (USA)
Muthoni Drummer Queen (Kenya/France)
Odette (Australia)
Orquesta Akokán (Cuba)
L. Subramaniam (India)
Sleaford Mods (UK)
Spinifex Gum (Australia)
Tuuletar (Finland)

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