WOMADelaide have announced the first 18 groups for its 2018 festival, to be held from 9-12 March in Adelaide’s Botanic Park, and it includes the ‘queen of the sitar’, Anoushka Shankar, the Australian premiere of Havana Meets Kingston featuring legendary reggae duo Sly & Robbie; fiery guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela and saxophonist Kamasi Washington.

Also announced are the scorching desert blues guitarists from Mali, Tinariwen who last performed at the festival in 2008; Australia’s electronic music superstars, The Avalanches; veteran Ghanaian singer, Pat Thomas and UK dub producer Adrian Sherwood, all of whom have had an enormous influence over the past two decades on the ever-changing face of music from around the world.

Anoushka Shankar honed her craft from age nine under her father and guru, the late Ravi Shankar (with whom she performed at WOMADelaide 2010) and has become “one of the most gifted artists of her generation”, according to the LA Times. In recent years the six-time Grammy nominee has been exploring the space between Indian classical music and the progressive fields of jazz and electronica. Her spellbinding Land of Gold album and show, featuring and co-written by the remarkable percussionist Manu Delago, is a deeply expressive response to the humanitarian trauma of displaced peoples.

Havana Meets Kingston, conceived by Australian producer Mista Savona as a studio album and recorded over 10 days in Havana, boasts the heavyweight rhythm section of Sly and Robbie, alongside members of Buena Vista Social Club, Los Van Van, Chucho Valdes and Inna de Yard. The 14-piece band delivers a live show where Jamaican bass culture meets Afro-Cuban sounds, head on.

Originally from Mexico, acclaimed guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela had their humble beginnings as buskers on the streets of Dublin. Now one of the most prolific and recognisable duos on the planet, their electrifying rock-meets-flamenco style will have its Adelaide premiere at WOMADelaide.

The USA’s Kamasi Washington has become the darling of the international modern jazz scene since the release of his extraordinary 2015 album, The Epic, and his September 2017 EP, Harmony of Difference, has been greeted with equal praise. A tenor saxophonist, composer and bandleader, the gifted Washington has worked with a hugely diverse range of artists, from Herbie Hancock to Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar and has rapidly become regarded as an essential voice in modern jazz.

WOMADelaide Director Ian Scobie, AM, said “We are thrilled to be announcing this line-up of such amazingly talented and original artists for next year’s festival. These artists – and the many more yet to be announced – represent some of the world’s most dynamic musical traditions, all excitingly reinvented and celebrated”.

Also returning to grace the WOMADelaide site after three years are English site artists, Architects of Air, with a new, kaleidoscopic luminarium – a giant,interactive inflatable sculpture called Arboria.

The 18 artists announced today are:

  • Adrian Sherwood – UK
  • Anoushka Shankar – India/UK
  • Architects of Air “Arboria” – UK
  • The Avalanches – Australia
  • Bixiga 70 – Brazil
  • Chico Trujillo – Chile
  • Dan Sultan – Australia
  • Daymé Arocena – Cuba
  • Havana Meets Kingston – Cuba/Jamaica
  • Kamasi Washington – USA
  • Le Vent du Nord – Canada
  • Noura Mint Seymali – Mauritania
  • Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band – Ghana
  • Rahim Alhaj Trio – Iraq
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela – Mexico
  • Tinariwen – Mali
  • Violons Barbares – France/Mongolia/Bulgaria
  • Yirrmal & the Miliyawutj Band – Australia

The full WOMADelaide 2018 line-up, including around 45 more international and Australian groups, DJs and site artists, The Planet Talks program and much more will be released in November and December.

WOMADelaide, 9-12 March 2018, Botanic Park, Adelaide, South Australia.

For information and tickets visit www.womadelaide.com.au