WOMADelaide 2016 First Round Artists Announced


Angélique Kidjo and David Suzuki lead first announcement for WOMADelaide 2016

Set to transform Adelaide’s Botanic Park from 11–14 March 2016, WOMADelaide today announced over 20 artists and speakers for its 20th festival, including Benin’s Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo, and Canadian academic, science broadcaster, educator and environmentalist David Suzuki.

Angélique Kidjo has been a global superstar for 25 years but her WOMADelaide 2016 appearance will be her first. For this Australian exclusive, she will be accompanied by a 60-strong Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) to present the Australian premiere of her unique orchestral repertoire.

The show will include the beautiful, three-part movement Ifé, the result of collaboration between Angélique Kidjo and Philip Glass; George Gershwin’s Summertime and several original pieces written by Kidjo and Jean Hebrail. This one-off performance will be a highlight of the festival’s opening night and will see Kidjo perform with the ASO, guest conductor Gast Waltzing and guitarist David Laborier, both from Luxembourg.

Joining Kidjo in today’s WOMADelaide announcement is internationally celebrated environmentalist, science broadcaster and academic David Suzuki, as part of the acclaimed Planet Talks program presented by The University of South Australia.

Dr Suzuki is a living legend in the science and environment world, the recipient of dozens of prestigious international awards, prizes and honorary degrees and author of over 55 books, 19 of which were written for children. He has become internationally celebrated for his ability to discuss and present the complexities of environmental science in a practical, engaging and easily understood manner. Furthering his commitment to the environment movement he co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation with the aim of working alongside communities and government agencies to holistically discover and implement science-based research, education and policy work that better preserves the environment.

WOMADelaide Director, Ian Scobie, said that the festival feels privileged to present two such diverse, internationally-acclaimed cultural identities in the one event.

“Hosting Angélique Kidjo and David Suzuki at WOMADelaide in the space of a few days, perfectly encapsulates the breadth of the program in connecting audiences with such wonderfully engaging cultural and social innovators in their fields,” he said.

The Cat Empire - considered to have grown up as part of the ‘WOMAD family’ after shows in Adelaide (in 2004, 2009 and 2013), the UK and NZ – will also perform on the festival’s opening night.

Also announced today is revered South African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo, in their first ever WOMADelaide performance; the world premiere of Australian Dance Theatre’s “The Beginning of Nature”; one off Adelaide shows by cult heroes Violent Femmes, American singer-songwriter John Grant and the Australian debut performances by Palestinian hip hop act 47SOUL and Mali’s up and coming stars, Songhoy Blues, to name a few.  

Joining David Suzuki for The Planet Talks is the Walkley Award-winning cartoonist and national treasure First Dog on the Moon and the University of South Australia’s award winning physicist, Tanya Monro.

The full program for the festival will be released in the coming months.

 Artists announced today are:

  • 47SOUL (Palestine/Syria/Jordan)
  • Angelique Kidjo (Benin) & the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (Aust)
  • Australian Dance Theatre (Aust)
  • The Cat Empire (Aust)
  • DakhaBrakha (Ukraine)
  • Diego el Cigala (Spain)
  • Edmar Castañeda Trio (Colombia/USA)
  • The Jerry Cans (Canada)
  • John Grant (USA)
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa)
  • Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat (Iran)
  • Marlon Williams (NZ/Aust)
  • Orange Blossom (France/Egypt)
  • Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico (Greece)
  • Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (Nigeria)
  • Songhoy Blues (Mali)
  • Violent Femmes (USA) 

The Planet Talks program presented by The University of South Australia: 

  • David Suzuki (Canada)
  • Tanya Monro (Aust)
  • First Dog on The Moon (Aust)
  • Simon Hackett (Aust)