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WOMAD NZ 2024: 5 Must-See Artists

WOMAD NZ is back this weekend with an impressive lineup featuring a diverse range of artists




WOMAD NZ is back this weekend with an impressive lineup featuring a diverse range of artists.

Headlining the event is reggae icon Ziggy Marley, known for his socially conscious music and eight Grammy Awards. Other exciting acts include Grammy winner Arooj Aftab, contemporary Irish folk group Lankum, Ukrainian quartet DakhaBrakha, and blues rock star Moonlight Benjamin. Representing Aotearoa on the lineup are Strawpeople and Rei.

Ahead of the 2024 edition, here are five artists we highly recommend checking out at the festival.

WOMAD NZ will be held in New Plymouth between March 15th-17th. Tickets are on sale now via the official website.

Arooj Aftab

Brooklyn-based Pakistani artist Arooj Aftab, a Grammy winner, brings a spellbinding music style that transcends genres, ranging from jazz to minimalism to Pakistani semi-classical. Performing songs from her acclaimed album, Vulture Prince, Aftab’s hauntingly beautiful vocals, combined with her exquisite arrangements, are sure to be a highlight of the festival.  


Angolan vocalist Pongo is a high-energy set you need to see. She made her mark in the Lisbon-based electronic dance group Buraka Som Sistema, known for their bold take on kuduro, a fast-paced electronic dance music from Angola. Now, in her solo career, Pongo blends the Angolan kuduro sound with catchy pop melodies and feverish flows. 


Zambian psych-rock legends WITCH (We Intend to Cause Havoc) are touring Aotearoa for the first time ever, including a much-anticipated spot at WOMAD. Once dubbed “The Beatles of Zambia,” WITCH pioneered the Zamrock genre in the 1970s, mixing everything from The Rolling Stones to James Brown with traditional African rhythms. Known for their wild seven-hour shows and frontman Jagari’s eccentric antics, WITCH had a tumultuous journey through Zambia’s economic challenges and social upheavals.N ow, sole surviving member Jagari, along with former bandmate Patrick Mwondela and a talented lineup of musicians, they’re rolling out to back their latest album, Zango. A big deal for psych-funk enthusiasts, and fans of Africa’s rare musical history.


Check out South Korean alt-pop group Leenalchi for something buzzy and fun. This talented seven-piece alt-pop band puts a modern twist on traditional Korean tales, incorporating choir, rap, and dance into their performances. With a heavy emphasis on bass, beats, and drums, they draw inspiration from ’80s new wave, resulting in whimsical melodies and catchy pop-leaning tunes.

Gilberto Gil

How’s this for rock ‘n’ roll? Brazilian music legend Gilberto Gil led the charge in the 1960s with the Tropicália movement, mixing traditional sounds with psych-rock and stirring up trouble with Brazil’s military government. His rebellious spirit even landed him in prison for four months before he exiled to London. With a staggering 60 albums under his belt, spanning folk, samba, bossa nova, reggae, disco, and funk, Gil’s music still captivates audiences today. Catch him at WOMAD with his family band for an unforgettable performance.