Blogging WOMAD: The Sounds of West Africa & Planeta Lem

Well this will be my final post from the festival itself, as I’ll be heading home shortly. But the music continues, and I may manage to catch a couple of acts on my way out, so this may not be my last update.

The first band I saw this morning were the aptly named The Sounds Of West Africa, who played with great skill and enthusiasm, really conjuring up the musical spirit of their West African homelands. I realised as I watched them that I had been camping next to some of them for the last few nights, I can confirm that they are not much less noisy off stage than they are on it.

Extraordinary skill on a variety of instruments, and frighteningly high kicking dancing – amazing stuff.

But then on to what I think I will class as my discovery of the weekend, Barcelona based band Planeta Lem. There’s more than a hint of Manu Chao about these guys, with a hefty dose of reggae and a backdrop of Latin rock, they pelt out numbers in their native Spanish, as well as French and English – or Spanglish. They’re a good deal younger that Chao of course, and nowhere near as iconic. But in terms of delivering a musical sensation which bears some comparison, they are the only ones who come close.Of course, coming from Barcelona they already have strong musical links with Manu, but just to cement them the bassist Chimbass used to play with Radio Bemba.  Frontman Aleko Capi was with the late great Go Lem System, as was guitarist Joni Botas.

I would reccomend these guys as a band to watch out for, they are only likely to get better. They play Nottingham’s Riverside festival on August 7th.

So that’s it from me for now… signing off.


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