More than 40 sensational new acts from over 25 countries were added to WOMADelaide’s already strong 2019 festival line-up today, and the countdown is now on with the festival to be staged from Friday 8 – Monday 11 March in Adelaide’s Botanic Park.

Leading the charge – The Original Gypsies (France), featuring key founding members of the legendary 80s group, The Gipsy Kings. Reunited after more than 20 years, their fiery rumbas and furious flamenco will ignite hearts and feet, as they perform their much-loved songs. The intense heat of their music hasn’t dropped a single notch; it’s still fuelled by glorious sandpaper vocals and furiously strummed guitars.

Joining them will be one of the biggest names in modern African music; actress and social activist Fatoumata Diawara (Mali), whose 2011 debut “Fatou” was described by The Guardian as “spellbinding”. In 2018 she has taken her artistry to thrilling heights on her album “Fenfo”, featuring on Disclosure’s new song “Ultimatum” and making the cover of Songlines magazine.

Liz Phair (USA) celebrates the 25th anniversary of her 1993 debut studio album “Exile in Guyville”, ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Released during the peak of the grunge movement, Phair’s influence in alternative rock – and particularly on female voices in the genre – can still be felt today. In complete contrast, after 30 years of touring the globe, the pioneer of Balkan clubbing, the incendiary Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar (Romania/Germany) will perform in Australia for the first time.

WOMADelaide 2019 showcases a plethora of amazing musicians, many of who are masters of stringed instruments; from Amjad Ali Khan (India) & the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (announced last month) to violinist and loop artist Maarja Nut & Ruum (Estonia), to The Original Gypsies. The lineup also includes the internationally renowned jazz harpist, Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet (Poland/UK) and the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a West African Griot family, Sona Jobarteh (The Gambia). On the flipside, electronic rockers DuOud (Tunisia/Algeria) combine their love of the oud with the latest in technology, and one of Australia’s most lateral thinking and inventive ensembles, Adelaide’s own Zephyr Quartet, will take the stage.

“Only in Adelaide and only at WOMADelaide can audiences experience the sights, sounds and delights of cultures from over 40 countries presented by over 600 artists across 69 groups in one amazing weekend, which also demonstrates why Adelaide is Australia’s only UNESCO City of Music,” said WOMADelaide Director, Ian Scobie.

Other international artists announced today include the first ever Moroccan artist to play WOMADelaide, the Gnawa music and Guembri (lute) master, Hamid El Kasri. The DJ lineup includes stalwarts Leftfield and DJ Harvey from the UK, Danny Krivit (USA) and DJ SAMA’, a young woman known as Palestine’s first DJ and electronic music producer.

Marrugeku’s latest dance production, “Le Dernier Appel (The Last Cry)”, featuring a cast from Australia and New Caledonia, explores the challenges of colonisation; what to embrace and what to let fall, to a throbbing soundtrack by artists including Australia’s Ngaiire.

The Australian talent in the program is as rich as ever. Mojo Juju returns to WOMADelaide after three years, with her new album “Native Tongue” seeing her nominated for three ARIA Awards and three The Age Music Victoria Awards. Zimbabwean-born, Melbourne-based soul singer, Thando has also had a stunning year, kicking it off with a powerhouse collaboration with REMI. Bringing her brand of sophisticated folk music is Thelma Plum and enchanting audiences with her honeyed vocals, fierce rhymes and bold style, comes 20-year-old Kaiit.

Off stage, the site performance & installation artists will include Olivier Grossetête (France) who creates ‘collaborative monumental constructions with Ephemeral City. A colossal cardboard archway, towering at over 20 metres, will take shape across the festival weekend with the help of students from the new Adelaide Botanic High School and WOMADelaide audiences.

Compagnie BiLBoBaSSo’s “Amor” (France) combines theatre, dance and pyrotechnics, transforming one couple’s turbulent pathways in love into a stunning, fiery finale. And Le Phun (France) bring The Leafies (Les Pheuillus) – ephemeral human figures made of autumn leaves – to Botanic Park to reflect the spirit of nature as they mysteriously populate the park. Find out more here.