Since 2002, my family and I, along with a crew of friends, including our kids, have been regulars visitors at the WOMAD festival (World of Music Art and Dance), originally in Reading but, since 2007, at Charlton Park in north Wiltshire, where my wife runs children’s workshops, and we get backstage passes to mingle with the great and good of the world music scene.
The festival is a world music lover’s dream, and this year I’m looking forward to seeing my hero, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (now, astonishingly, 77 years old!), appearing with Max Romeo, with whom, of course, Perry produced the extraordinary “War Ina Babylon” album, in 1976, featuring “War Ina Babylon,” a perennial favourite (and the song that Bob Marley begged to have for himself), which I’m posting below. That album also featured other timeless classics, including “Chase the Devil“:
Also appearing is Seun Kuti, one of the sons of the inimitable Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician and political activist who waged musical war on the corrupt Nigerian establishment throughout his life. Seun has appeared at WOMAD before, in and I’m looking forward to seeing him again, as he and his band definitely capture the spirit of Fela. See below for his version of Fela’s song “Zombie,” satirizing the corrupt police, filmed at a concert in Brooklyn in 2011:
Have a great weekend, wherever you are. I need a break to recharge my batteries, as I seem to have been working non-stop on Guantánamo since early March, when I first wrote about the prison-wide hunger strike, which has now been ongoing for nearly six months. If you want to do something over the next few days, you can always write to the prisoners, as described in my article, “For Ramadan, Please Write to the Hunger Striking Prisoners at Guantánamo.”
See you on Monday!
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).
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On Facebook, Waris Ali wrote:
A well deserved and very fun sounding break my friend. Hope you have an oh so wonderful time with your wife and your crew!
Ruth Gilburt wrote:
Have a great time Andy and Dot xxx
Nicola Mattiagne wrote:
Have a fantastic time .
Forgot to mention that our “workshop crew” do children’s workshops, and WOMAD is so lovely and child-friendly that, on the last day, everything stops for the children’s procession, which goes through the entire site. If you have kids, this is the festival to go to!
This is the Birdman that we made for the procession last year: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andyworthington/7698140866/
Thanks, Waris, Ruth and Nicola for the kind wishes. I have felt my brain getting slower the last week or so – not just because of the sweltering weather, but also the need for a break. Like I said, I hope you all have a great weekend!
Neil Wilson wrote:
Have a great time Andy.
Laura Sandow wrote:
Sounds like a wonderful way to recharge!
Abzter Buffness wrote:
IF ANYONE DESERVES A BREAK ITS U! ENJOY UR TYM OFF ANDY HOPE U HAVE A GREAT ONE
Thanks, Laura and Abzter. Good to hear from you.
Kristin Higgins wrote:
I never knew you were a reggae fan, you must come to Jamaica, i’ll put you up x
Do you have a time machine as well, Kristin? I know times were very tough indeed in the mid-70s, but it’s the music from that period that I really love – roots reggae and dub, with Lee Perry, the Congos, Max Romeo, Junior Murvin, King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Dr. Alimantado, the Mighty Diamonds, the Gladiators, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer … The list goes on …
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