WOMEX 2014 PICKS
3 days, 5 stages and some drained feet later, we’re back in L.A.! Presently, in no specific order, here are our five standouts from WOMEX.
Shoulder shaking was in full effect with Ethiocolor. Like their name says, they’re a traditional Ethiopian band with dance experts, outfit changes and enough energy to power the city of Santiago.
We adore a bumping dance beat just as much as the next guy, yet Portugal’s Lula Pena’s smokey voice was the ideal pallet cleanser.
The Angolan/Portuguese group, Batida blended electronic rhythms with fantastic Congolese beats for a major dance party with cool visuals to back them up. For their last tune they distributed whistles to the crowd. If that doesn’t say party, we don’t know what does.
GUAYO CEDENO & COCO BAR
If you require a soundtrack to a Latin spaghetti psychedelic western, it’d be Hondorus’ Guayo Cedeno. His trio was tight, yet it improved when Garifuna (Afro-Caribbean roots, with West African rhythms, a Latin lilt and kinds of reggae and calypso) musician, Aurelio Martinez joined.
Fado (Portugese singing, renowed for its expressive and significantly melancholic character) artist, Mariza gave a vocally staggering performance after getting the WOMEX 14 Artist Award.
And no surprise, we also saw some of our Grand Performances alums Baloji, Troker (we ran into them in the conferene hall), the El Gusto Orchestra and Nortec Colletive’s Bostich + Fussible turn in killer sets.