15 Oct 2019

WOMAD 2020: second lineup announcement

From RNZ Music, 7:00 pm on 15 October 2019

The WOMAD world music festival has announced 20 more acts for its 2020 festival, which takes place in Taranaki in March.

Ziggy Marley, L.A.B. and Reb Fountian are among the acts set to perform at the 2020 WOMAD festival, which takes place in Taranaki in March.

The festival’s World of Words stage – where festival-goers can enjoy talks and debates by inspirational authors – includes appearances from Shayne Carter (Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer), Mike Chunn (Split Enz) and more.

WOMAD Festival | 13-15 March | Brooklands Park, New Plymouth

  • Albi & The Wolves (Aotearoa/NZ)
  • Blind Boys of Alabama (USA)
  • Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita (Wales/Senegal)
  • Destyn Maloya (Réunion)
  • Ezra Collective (UK)
  • Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)
  • Hot Potato Band (Australia)
  • Kim So Ra (South Korea)
  • King Ayisoba (Ghana)
  • L.A.B. (Aotearoa/NZ)
  • Liniker e os Caramelows (Brazil)
  • L Subramaniam (India)
  • Ziggy Marley (Jamaica)
  • Minyo Crusaders (Japan)
  • Muthoni Drummer Queen (Kenya/France)
  • Orquesta Akokán (Cuba)
  • Reb Fountain (Aotearoa/NZ)
  • RURA (Scotland)
  • Salif Keita (Mali)
  • Soaked Oats (Aotearoa/NZ)
  • Trio Da Kali (Mali)
  • Tuuletar (Finland)

WOMAD 2020 World of Words lineup (in alphabetical order):

  • Dave Fane (Aotearoa)
  • Joanne Drayton (Aotearoa)
  • Ken Arkind (USA)
  • Mike Chunn (Aotearoa)
  • Miriam Lancewood (Aotearoa)
  • Penny Ashton (Aotearoa)
  • Selina Tusitala Marsh (Aotearoa)
  • Shayne Carter (Aotearoa)
  • Te Radar (Aotearoa)

Click here to find out more about each artist.

There are also two new additions to the festival for 2020:


A brand new stage in the tranquil setting of the Brooklands Park pine grove, plays host to WOMAD New Zealand's first-ever STEAM Lab. Come and hear speakers from Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics fields talk about incredible breakthroughs and their journey of innovation.

Book club

The book chosen for the WOMAD New Zealand’s inaugural book club is We Can Make A Life by Chessie Henry. Book Club aims to bring people together to express their perspectives and explore the themes within the book while getting insights from Chessie herself.

2020 WOMAD artists:

Albi & The Wolves (Aotearoa)

Albi & The Wolves is a soulful, energetic, and uplifting trio. Winners of the Best Folk Artist at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards, they pride themselves on pushing the limits of what three musicians can do, using only an acoustic guitar, an electric violin, a double bass, and three voices.

Blind Boys Of Alabama (USA)

The Blind Boys of Alabama are living legends of gospel music. Their uplifting and soulful repertoire includes everything from collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, and WOMAD’s Peter Gabriel, to some of the world’s favourite traditional gospel tunes. During their remarkable 75-year career the Grammy Award-winning group has gone from being part of the soundtrack to the Civil Rights movement, to performing in the White House for three different Presidents.

Catrin Finch & Sekou Keita (Wales/Senegal)

This mesmerising duo has been hailed as the “most popular world music act of the decade.” Together Welsh harpist Catrin Finch (Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales from 2000 to 2004!) and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita create a musical marriage of culture that is breathtaking. Their multi award-winning-sound is a joyous, ethereal, and hypnotic homage to their countries’ diverse cultures. The result is something so extraordinary it can only be described as magic. Their collaborative album SOAR won 'Best Fusion' Album in the Songlines Music Awards 2019. 

Destyn Maloya (Réunion)

This dynamic band from the French island of Réunion performs Maloyan dance music, the songs of slavery that emerged during hundreds of years of French Colonial rule on the island. Maloya has strong links to Creole culture but also ska, samba and Afrobeat. Destyn Maloya, a popular band for over 20 years, use pounding percussion and passionate harmonies to celebrate and reconnect with their ancestors.

Ezra Collective (UK)

Drawing on Afrobeat, Latin, hip-hop, grime and more, Ezra Collective has broken out beyond the thriving UK jazz scene. The five-piece are a tour-de-force whose thrilling and unmistakably London sound has already seen them conquer moshpit-filled tours of the UK and USA, perform at Glastonbury and at Quincy Jones’ 85th birthday party.

Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)

Sampled by artists including Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, Grammy-nominated Hiatus Kaiyote is one of the most sampled bands in the world.  Jazz, soul, funk, fusion, hip hop and electronica are their predominant building blocks, but the music blurs the edges and the band is hard to pigeonhole.

Hot Potato Band (Australia)

This energetic brass band delivers a blend of catchy music, infectious dance moves, and the ability to give cheering crowds a damn good time. Hot Potato Band began as roving street performers and have since compiled an arsenal of songs inspired by pop, funk, ska and reggae.

Kim So Ra (South Korea)

A multi-award-winning percussionist and composer, Kim So Ra is one of the most skilled and prominent Janggu (double-headed drum) players in Korea. The virtuosic Kim and her accompanying trio are known for genre-bending live performances that combine rhythmic and delicate traditional pieces with experimental and charismatic modern interpretations.

King Ayisoba (Ghana)

A child prodigy on the kologo, a two-stringed instrument with a calabash gourd resonator, King Ayisoba became an unlikely star in Ghana with the very traditional hit 'I Want to See You, My Father'. Five albums later, he has won over audiences across the world with his trailblazing mix of drums, rapid-fire melodies, commanding looks and intense, urgent live shows.

L.A.B. (Aotearoa)

Founded by the legendary Kora brothers Brad and Stu, L.A.B. has quickly become one of the most popular acts on the New Zealand live circuit. Packed with smooth grooves and reggae beats, L.A.B were voted New Zealand’s Best Live Act in an unofficial RNZ music poll, and their first two albums have stayed on the NZ charts continually since they were release in November 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Liniker e os Caramelows (Brazil)

The sounds of black soul and samba run through Liniker’s blood. Casting a musical spell on you, they shake things up to high-gear, Brazilian funk, moving from lush balladsto a reggae bridge, eventually exploding into a majestic African-based Candomblé rhythmic finish. Formed in 2015 and led by charismatic transgender vocalist Liniker, the band’s latest album Goela Baixo has been nominated for a Latin Grammy.

L Subramaniam (India)

Dubbed ‘the Paganini of Indian Classical music’, maestro violinist L Subramaniam long ago transcended any boundaries between Eastern and Western music, creating an experience that is part meditation, part celebration. Since the 70s he has amassed more than 200 recordings, worked alongside artists as diverse as Yehudi Menuhin and Herbie Hancock, composed for orchestras, films and ballets, published books and won multiple awards.

Ziggy Marley (Jamaica)

The call to stand together in activism through love rings out loud and clear from this eight-time Grammy Award-winning musician and reggae icon. Singer, songwriter, producer, author, humanitarian and visionary, if anybody can encourage change through music, it’s ZiggyMarley. As much as he upholds a family legacy that began with his father, Bob Marley, he’s blazed a trail of his own. His seventh studio album, Rebellion Rises, is a positive and peaceful manifesto for hope and change.

Minyo Crusaders (Japan)

A new take on Japanese folk (Min'yō) that includes Latin American, African and Caribbean influences. The Minyo Crusaders’ tell historical tales of the working class, sung in the traditional way, but with a 10-piece orchestra playing reggae, cumbia and Afrobeat. The band is transforming what’s considered ‘high brow art’ into a catchy, danceable art form.

Muthoni Drummer Queen (Kenya / France)

A rapper and percussionist, Muthoni moves with jubilant ease from hip hop to dancehall, retro-soul to R&B, never forgetting her African roots. Queen of Nairobi’s urban scene, MDQ’s debut album She is a celebration of the beauty, strength, daring and resilience of African women.

Orquesta Akokán (Cuba)

Akokán means ‘from the heart’ in the West African language of Yorùbá. The group was formed by singer José ‘Pepito’ Gómez, producer Jacob Plasse and arranger Michael Eckroth. Orquesta Akokán is a 12-piece big band collective of Havana’s top musicians and some of most spirited talents of NYC’s Latin scene. The group reinvigorates the sound of the golden era of Cuban Mambo with a bold new energy.

Reb Fountain (Aotearoa)

Reb is easily Aotearoa’s best-kept songwriting secret. Born in Southers California, Reb migrated to Lyttleton as a child. The award-winning singer and lyricist has spent 20 years travelling, performing, studying, and working as a musician and songwriter. Fountian had performed and recorded with some of New Zealand’s best artists, including Neil Finn, Tami Neilson and Marlon Williams.

RURA (Scotland)

This popular, multi-award-winning ensemble are at the forefront of 21st Century Scottish folk music. Celebrating 10 years together in 2020, RURA’s entrancing instrumentals embrace fiddle, Highland pipes, flute, guitar, keyboards and bodhran. Inspired by themes of belonging, heritage and a sense of place, they bring a stirring, fiery, euphoric energy to every stage.

Salif Keita (Mali)

The undisputed Ambassador of African Music and ‘The Golden Voice of Africa’, returns as part of his farewell tour, celebrating 50 years of music and 70 years of life. From humble beginnings with the Rail Band of the Train Station Hotel in Bamako and a life of tribulations as an albino, Salif Keita’s latest album Autre Blanc (Another White) calls on the world to celebrate difference.

Soaked Oats (Aotearoa)

With their catchy and uplifting indie pop tunes, Soaked Oats bring joy to their fans. Hailing from Dunedin, this four-piece band have played festivals in the UK, toured Australasia and created a collection of sweet, summery songs. The group have become known for their joyous songwriting and endearing live performances.

Trio da Kali (Mali)

A young supergroup from the Mande culture, Trio Da Kali come from a long line of distinguished griots (hereditary musicians). Taking their name from an iconic praise song in the griot repertoire– ‘dakali’ means ‘to swear an oath’. The Trio’s 2017 album with Kronos Quartet brought them worldwide attention. Sumptuous vocals, bass ngoni grooves and percussive balafon combine for a truly exquisite experience.

Tuuletar (Finland)

With their fierce energy, fresh beatbox rhythms and other-worldly harmonies, Tuuletar have taken a novel approach to traditional Finnish folk music. Pioneering the genre of ‘vocal folk hop’, the singers won the prestigious Finnish EMMA award (the equivalent to a Grammy) for the best ethno album in 2017 and continue to enchant audiences with their ethereal, tribal energy.

2020 World of Words Artists:

Chessie Henry (Aotearoa)

Chessie Henry is the author of We Can Make A Life, a family memoir which was recently awarded the E.H. McCormick prize for General Non-Fiction at the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Along with published works on The Spinoff and The Wireless, Chessie has an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters.

We Can Make A Life is the book chosen for the inaugural WOMAD Book Club. Book Club aims to bring people together to express their perspectives and explore the themes within the book while getting insights from Chessie herself.  We urge you to get a copy and get reading.

Dave Fane (Aotearoa)

From bro’Town to his role as Mother Nature in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful anti-litter campaign, comedic actor Dave Fane has been making Kiwis laugh for ages. He’s the multi-award-winning talent behind many of our country’s much-loved characters, including as bro’Town’s Jeff da Māori, a founding member of comedy group The Naked Samoans, and Outrageous Fortune’s Falani.

Joanne Drayton (Aotearoa)

Biographer Joanne Drayton has chronicled the life of many of New Zealand’s most iconic personalities. Her globally recognised books have graced the New York Times bestseller lists, become the subjects of 60 Minutes segments and earned her a collection of coveted and prestigious awards. The Search for Anne Perry, Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love, and Ngaio Marsh: Her Life in Crime are just some of her award-winning works.

Ken Arkind (U.S.A)

Ken Arkind is an American poet, author, performer and educator who has bought his unique blend of talents to Aotearoa. His poetic prowess has seen him land a long list of impressive poetry slam titles, including the 2006 title for the American National Poetry Slam Champion. As well as performing his work throughout the world, Ken has also done a number of TedX talks.

Mike Chunn (Aotearoa)

Mike Chunn is a music legend. Along with Tim Finn and Phil Judd he was a founding member of Split Enz, playing the bass on their first three albums. Though he loved the stage, he left the band after suffering frequent panic attacks and debilitating anxiety. His book, A Sharp Left Turn, is a beautifully written look at his years in the band, and the powerful story of how he dealt with a crippling mental health issue and went on to become such an influential music identity.

Miriam Lancewood (Aotearoa)

In 2010 Miriam Lancewood left her job as a teacher, sold her worldly possessions and lived for seven years with her husband in the wilderness of New Zealand. Together they meandered around the Southern Alps like nomads, sleeping in a tent, cooking on a fire, and learning to hunt with a bow and arrow. Her book Woman in the Wilderness captures their nomadic lifestyle and is now an international best-seller.

Penny Ashton (Aotearoa)

Penny Ashton is a fiery-haired powerhouse and a self-confessed show off. Known as Ms Hot Pink, Penny is an award-winning poet, a comedienne, an actor, a TV presenter, and the perfect person to host our popular WOMAD Poetry Slam. Expect sass, hilarity and insightful musings from this talented performer.

Selina Tusitala Marsh (Aotearoa)

Selina Tusitala Marsh is a poet known globally for her vivid and stirring work. As the New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina spread her fiery passion far and wide, composing and performing poetry for the Queen, as well as Barack Obama. In 2019 this extraordinary Pasifika poet and scholar was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to poetry, literature and the Pacific community.

Shayne Carter (Aotearoa)

New Zealand musician Shayne Carter’s autobiography is frank, moving and often incredibly funny. In Dead People I Have Known this multi-award-winning musician talks candidly about his life, taking us behind the scenes and the songs of his riotous teenage bands Bored Games and the Doublehappys, as well as his best-known bands Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer

Te Radar (Aotearoa)

Te Radar maybe New Zealand’s worst television gardener, but he is one of our country’s most beloved comedians. This natural-born raconteur is blessed with a talent for talking, a passion for sustainability and history, and an ever-growing list of awards. With his easy-going personality and his outrageously quick wit, Te Radar’s critically acclaimed blend of comedy will leave WOMAD audiences in stitches.

  • Shayne Carter on his memoir Dead People I Have Known
  • Live session: L.A.B. perform songs from their new album
  • NZ Live: Reb Fountain