Marymoor Park, Redmond, Friday-Sunday, July 28-30
LAST WEEK, Seattle Weekly zoomed in on a few of the 40 artists playing this year's international music gathering at Marymoor Park. Included in our preview were Papua New Guinea's Telek, Tuvan sand garglers Huun-Huur-Tu, and habitual Los Angeles faves Los Lobos. In the following crop, we introduce artists from Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. Also at WOMAD 2000 will be visitors from Israel (Yair Dalal and the Tarab Ensemble), Vietnam (Khac Chi Ensemble), and South Africa (Miriam Makeba). One question lingers in the air above this good-vibes weekend festival. Why the hell weren't any Canadians invited?!--Richard A. Martin
Ali Farka Toure
The blues left West Africa on slave ships and returned on John Lee Hooker records. Ali Farka Toure keeps the wheel turning, bringing his slinky and affecting guitar melodies to America. His tastefully rhythmic phrases billow out like his colorful robes.
Upshot: Come for the music, stay for the fashion ideas.—Joe Schloss
Isaac is the latest example of African musicians' ongoing relationship with their Jamaican-sired rhythmic offspring: He smoothly sings motherland-specific lyrics (in both English and Afrikaans) over updated roots-reggae rhythms and sparkling guitars and synths. As you might expect, universal-brotherhood bromides predominate his lyrics.
Upshot: For those who just can't skank enough.—Michaelangelo Matos
With a strong, luscious soprano voice, Karan Casey weaves stories of protest, longing, and adventure. Carefully combining traditional Celtic elements with a decidedly fresh and contemporary spin, her songs fully expose the history and emotion of her homeland. Having gained popularity as the lead singer in the American-based band Solas, Casey's status as an international vocalist is now firmly rooted in two countries.
Upshot: Folk tales and song stories for smiling Irish eyes.—Laura Learmonth
Upbeat and danceable Central African melodies from the father of Congolese Rumba, Antoine "Papa" Wendo Kolosoy. Complemented by melancholy vocals and churning laid-back rhythms, Kolosoy's music gets you on your feet without making you all tense.
Upshot: Will make you dance. Will not harsh your mellow.—J.S.
Te Vaka is an 11-piece Polynesian music and dance troupe that mixes traditional log drums with rock 'n' roll instrumentation to create a brew that can reasonably be described as "rollicking."
Upshot: They may oversell the whole "island paradise" thing, but what's wrong with that, really?—J.S.
Nigerian Afrobeat music is so funky that it's actually funkier than Funk. Femi Kuti has taken Afrobeat and added hip-hop to it. You can draw your own conclusions about how funky that is.
Upshot: Bring a water bottle, because you will sweat.—J.S.
A true power trio, Tama soars with the vocals of Toumani Diakite and is grounded by the lines of his deep, basslike harp (known as a donzo n'goni). With English ethno-pop guitarist Sam Mills and percussionist Djanuno Dabo, they play a more emphatic, and less synthetic, style than the usual Afro-pop.
Upshot: Strong spirit-feel, with B+ danceability.—Mark D. Fefer
This eight-member percussion and dance ensemble have been performing abroad since 1982. The group incorporates the vocal traditions of their neighbors on Africa's west coast to create full-bodied performances teeming with call-and-response chants and hypnotic xylophone melodies. Their performances are grounded by group leader Yaya's djemb鼯I>, an hourglass-shaped solo drum with goat skin, and highlighted by the flute and sokou, a traditional one-string violin.
Upshot: Straight-up cultural richness from the Gold Coast.—Jeff Malamy
A folk cantadora with total ear-commanding authority, Tot� Momposina combines the urbane heartache of Edith Piaf with the raucous strength of Celia Cruz, for a melodic delivery so intense that she doesn't need more than percussion behind her.
Upshot: Redmond instantly transformed into an idyllic pueblo.—M.D.F.
Lama Gyurme & Jean-Phillippe Rykiel
Stirring Buddhist chants from a cross-legged lama are filled out with electronic effects from French keyboardist Rykiel. Gyurme used to perform his mantras at the tail end of French raves; can he overcome the narcotic effect of 100 outdoor food booths?
Upshot: Serenity, well-packaged.—M.D.F.
Vera bila & Kale
Throughout Eastern Europe and into the Middle East, Gypsy culture exists in a vacuum, practically separate from society. But it's there, and it occasionally yields exceptional art. Gypsy music offers some of the most emotional, earthy melodies and songs, as groups like Vera B??? & Kale prove. Translated from the Czech, the group's name is Vera White and the Blacks, and befitting the loose instrumentation of the Gypsy sound, singer Vera is backed by fiddle, guitars, saxophone, and drums.
Upshot: Down a few pilsners in the beer garden and get ready to twirl.—R.A.M.
For schedules and for information about tickets to WOMAD and camping permits at Marymoor Park, call 281-8111 or go to www.womadusa.org.