Every year, WOMAD scours the planet to find the very best mix of the finest musicians to bring to us here in New Zealand.
In anticipation of the full reveal of the 2016 line up on the evening of Wednesday 21st October, WOMAD announces two fantastic artists gracing the festival stages in March, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and John Grant.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
The WOMAD festival is renowned for good vibes, relaxed atmosphere and a peaceful harmony between punters and performers. And there is no better act to personify peace than Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Designated by Nelson Mandela as "South Africa's Cultural Ambassadors to the World", Ladysmith Black Mambazo celebrate Mandela's message of peace at every concert they perform.
The South African a cappella group formed in the 1960s by Joseph Shabalala, now have more than 50 recordings, 15 Grammy Award nominations, and four Grammy Award wins under their belt.
Despite incredible achievements throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, a lot of Kiwis were only introduced to the group via Paul Simon's iconic GRACELAND album in 1986. This union saw Ladysmith Black Mambazo become global superstars. They have since recorded with a number of high-profile acts including Dolly Parton, Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder, Sarah McLachlan, Melissa Etheridge, Emmylou Harris and more.
They have provided film soundtracks to a number of films including The Lion King Part II, Invictus; while a documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo - On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps To Freedom, the Story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was nominated for an Academy Award. They have also appeared on Broadway and been nominated for a Tony Award.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo are celebrating more than 50 years of joyous and uplifting music. They carry a message of peace, love and harmony as they travel the world year after year and bring this message, in song and dance, to WOMAD NZ in 2016.
Making his first WOMAD NZ appearance is the deeply emotive American singer/songwriter John Grant.
Grant (who is now based in Iceland) embraces both sumptuous tempered ballads and taut, fizzing electronic pop songs. Equally at home with symphony orchestras or synthesisers, Grant takes grand melodies to a lofty plateau.
The former The Czars frontman's first two solo albums, 2010's QUEEN OF DENMARK and 2012's PALE GREEN GHOSTS achieved worldwide acclaim.
"Like a couple of similarly intense classics before it - Antony & The Johnsons' I AM A BIRD NOW and Bon Iver's FOR EMMA... QUEEN OF DENMARK sounds like a record its creator has been waiting his whole life to make," MOJO concluded.
After escaping a life of substance abuse, Grant has taken an extraordinary journey - including collaborating with Sinead O'Connor, Rumer and Hercules & Love Affair. In 2014 he was nominated in the Best International Male Solo Artist category at the BRITS alongside Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and Drake.
Another measure of achievement, and the journey, is Sinéad O'Connor covering the title track of Grant's ‘Queen Of Denmark' on her 2012 album HOW ABOUT I BE ME (AND YOU BE YOU)?. She also supplied goose-bumping backing vocals on PALE GREEN GHOSTS. This a far cry from Grant - two decades (and a lifetime) earlier discovering O'Connor's ‘Mandinka' for the first time in new wave clubs.
And now they share a WOMAD connection - O'Connor was a headline act at WOMAD NZ 2015 and Grant is a headline act for 2016.
Grant releases his new album GREY TICKLES, BLACK PRESSURE on October 9, giving festival-goers plenty of time to familiarise with this greatly-anticipated body of work before he graces our shores in March.
"We are thrilled to have such talented and diverse acts as Ladysmith Black Mambazo and John Grant appearing at WOMAD NZ," says WOMAD NZ festival Artistic Director Emere Wano.
"Both acts deliver music that celebrates what is so great about this festival - the diversity on offer that knows no age or boundaries.
"It is the enduring nature of the musical line-up WOMAD continually delivers that ensures this festival goes from strength-to-strength every year".
2016 takes WOMAD NZ into its 12th consecutive year at New Plymouth's picture-perfect TSB Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Park. The already-stunning setting is transformed further over the WOMAD weekend, with a global village built into the landscape to transport festival-goers to a vibrant all-ages and family-friendly world of music, arts, dance, crafts, and cuisine.
Featuring four stages delivering 30 hours of entertainment over three days, take a trip around the globe without leaving New Zealand!
Discounted early bird tickets are on sale from 9am Saturday October 10. With tickets on sale, accommodation throughout New Plymouth always sells out for the WOMAD weekend. It is highly recommended festival-goers book now to secure their beds.
Options include on site camping, Glamping, as well as a host of hotels and motels in the city centre - a five-minute walk from the WOMAD festival.
Limited amounts of early bird discount tickets go on sale from 9am Saturday 10th October via the WOMAD website tickets.womad.co.nz
3 day pass - Youth (13-17yrs) - EARLY BIRD $161 (Full price $215)
3 day pass - Adult - EARLY BIRD $213(Full price $255)
Camping and Glamping options available.
The full line-up for WOMAD 2016 will be announced on the evening of Wednesday 21st October.