Blogging WOMAD: Rango, Toubab All Stars, Doubet Gnahore and the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain

Its amazing how much can be packed into a short period of time in a festival like this – and what a variety too.

The first act of the day were Rango, a  group who fuse ancient music and boisterous presentation, with a throbbing drum backdrop, and a variety of call and response type songs, they were billed as an early form of trance, although the only trance I was in any danger of falling into was due to passive dope smoking, I can still see the idea though. There’s a deep bass and drum line which carries right through to the core, and helped along by venerable and engaging musicians, they certainly were entrancing.

The Toubab All Stars were the first act of the day from the Barbes area of Paris, the other being the Ochestra National de Barbes who appear later this afternoon. Again there was a faint sense of wrong billing – they had been described as a ‘French Specials’, and while the ska runs strong with them, they are much more of a party band than the Specials were. Their lively banter cheered on a slightly sluggish crowd into a dancing throng, and reminded me how much we all do love Ska.

A rescheduling meant that African songstress Dobet Gnahore ended up head to head with the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, and both delivered great sets, in their own unique ways. Dobet has a sultry and mellifluous voice which is driven along by a powerful band, many of her lyrics were politicised too, which was very welcome.

Still to come today then – Angelique Kidjo and Salif Keita to name but two, its shaping up to be another excellent day.

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