Monday didn’t really have 1 or 2 standouts for me like previous days, but there was plenty of stuff I liked throughout the day. When I got up on Monday morning I was feeling a bit exhausted from 3 days of Womad and wasn’t really sure I needed more but once I got there I found it to be really enjoyable, and like last year, had no regrets at all about going for the extra day.
The act that really got the day going for me was DakhaBrakha from Ukraine. I was on my way to see Asa again but heard these guys as I was passing and stopped to check it out, and ended up staying for the rest of their set. They were obviously popular since their cds sold out fairly early on. They are a trio with accordian, drums and cello, and all doing vocals. The droning cello work was probably what drew me in the most (would love to hear them play Venus in Furs!).
From then on the standard was high for the rest of the day, starting with Horace Andy on the adjacent stage right after they finished. Somehow in the leadup to the festival I’d sort of forgotten that he was playing with all the excitement of Omar Souleyman and Joanna Newsom being on the bill, and I missed his first set because of a clash. The first song didn’t really work for me, but from there on it was brilliant. Great singer, great songs, great band. Skylarking was a particular highlight. I’m a huge fan of the old Studio One stuff and loved the chance to see one of the stars of that era (reminded me of seeing Ernest Ranglin at my very first Womad).
The All Star Gala was run by Nitin Sawhney and was enjoyable with some genuine collaboration between various artists (including welcome reappearances by Horace Andy and Asa).
Then I was waiting around for The Necks, didn’t expect Juan De Marcos Afro-Cuban All Stars to be my sort of thing but was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it.
The Necks were once again brilliant, very nice laying back under the stars listening to them.
After they finished it felt a bit like everything was over, stalls were closing, people were leaving and I was getting sleepy, but resisted the urge to leave and stayed for Faiz Ali Faiz which turned out to be a great decision, as they brought the festival to a close with a brilliant display of qawwali.