Womad Eden Session

With the 2004 Eden Sessions happening on the 27th August (details at the bottom of the page), we revisit this review from last year… All around Womad style prayer flags breeze softly in the wind, whilst strange sculptures surprise you at every turn. It’s the perfect venue for Womad, and in terms of location it beats Reading hands down.

Built deep in the bowl of an old quarry site near St. Austell, the Eden Project is a remarkable sight. The two space-age domes dominate the scenery as you look down from the entrance hall. If Doctor Who had a bigger budget this is where the Cybermen would have lived. What was once a grey ode to man’s destructive nature is now a heavily landscaped area showcasing the infinite wonder of bio-diversity.

The main arena is a perfect amphitheatre, with enough room for the 4000 punters to skip around like deranged monkeys

All around Womad style prayer flags breeze softly in the wind, whilst strange sculptures surprise you at every turn. It’s the perfect venue for Womad, and in terms of location it beats Reading hands down.
In a similar way to the Big Chill, Womad make the very best use of their surroundings. Activities take place all over the place, from the opening thunder of the Dhol Foundation in the educational sector, to the cafe space where DJ Pathaan and One Giant Leap’s Duncan Bridgeman spin cool world chillout flavours. The main arena is a perfect amphitheatre, with enough room for the 4000 punters to lounge on banks or skip around like deranged monkeys to the sounds of Mexican Madness collective Los De Abajo. Some bands even perform in the Domes themselves, but in the case of the Dhol Foundation they only last fifteen minutes in the stifling humidity of the Tropical Dome.
Just outside the main café a small stage has been set up. The only band I catch here is a local Cornish rock band fronted by an attractive girl in fetching green velvet. Unfortunately this is the only redeeming feature of their set. On the main stage Brazilian singer/songwriter Chico Cesar is due to play his particular brand of rather uninspiring tropical pop, which had the crowd shoe gazing at Womad’s Rivermead festival in late July. Suffice to say that vegetable paella calls to me at this point.
The headline act of the night is the Afro-Celts. One suspects that a majority of the crowd are here to see them, and as the bands UK appearances are all too rare these days, it’s a special treat for many fans. The band is without singer Iarla O Lionaird who was taken ill after a particularly vigorous American tour, but the rest of the band are in attendance, along with a new drummer, bass player, and fiddler. The Afro’s do not disappoint with a thoroughly polished performance of old favourites and brand new nuggets from their recent album ‘Seed’ and forthcoming remix project. Highlights include a storming reinterpretation of ‘Whirl-y-reel’, and high velocity crowd pleaser ‘Colossus’. When the compare introduces the band she suggests that the band have completely redesigned their image. Luckily this is not the case in terms of energy and their trademark Celtic-African breakbeat sound, but there is certainly an assured maturity about their performance tonight.
One hopes that the Eden Project Sessions will continue for Womad, because this mini festival is a wonderful treat for all the senses.

4 thoughts on “Womad Eden Session

  1. I have just comeback from the main Womad event in Reading and it was sensational. Despite the lack of really big names, there was an amazing array of talent on offer. We’ll be writing it up in more detail of course but we need some sleep first!


    The Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall
    “A SUMMER’S NIGHT OF MUSIC” featuring:
    SUSANA BACA (Peru)
    THE CAT EMPIRE (Australia)
    ASERE (Cuba)
    LAYE SOW (Senegal)
    Plus DJ Sets from:
    Following sell-out events in both 2002 and 2003, WOMAD and The Eden Project are
    delighted to present another very special evening of music and dance on Friday
    27 August in the magical setting of The Eden Project, Cornwall’s famous ‘global
    WOMAD have just added DREADZONE SOUND SYSTEM (UK); LAYE SOW (Senegal) and
    CHARLIE GILLETT (UK) to what will be one of the summer’s most imaginative music
    events, literally, a world-embracing evening of music from five countries and
    four continents.
    WOMAD – The Eden Session will feature live performances from the inventive and
    soulful Cuban 7-piece ASERE; a specially commissioned “soundscape” from David
    Lowe of DREAMCATCHER; traditional and soulful Senegalese vocals from LAYE SOW;
    award-winning acoustic-roots from SHOW OF HANDS; the beautiful, emotive voice
    of Peru’s SUSANA BACA and a fusion of hip-hop, Latin, jazz, ska and reggae from
    one of Australia’s funkiest bands THE CAT EMPIRE.
    There will be DJ sets from BBC London 94.9FM and World Service DJ CHARLIE
    GILLETT who will be playing some of his favourite tunes from around the world
    on the Moroccan Terrace, and the DREADZONE SOUND SYSTEM will be spinning their
    21st century dub in the Link Building.
    Acclaimed as an architectural masterpiece, the impressive landscape of the Eden
    Project will be further enhanced to host this event. Features include
    signature WOMAD site deco, an outdoor lakeside stage in the main arena and the
    intimate Citrus Grove stage within the Warm Temperate biome. The huge and
    spectacularly lit Humid Tropics biome will also be accessible during the
    event, and will feature the premiere performance of the specially-commissioned
    Dreamcatcher soundscape.
    “Our friends at WOMAD really bring this site to life. By showcasing
    performances drawn from different cultures, we hope our visitors will feel the
    global connection with different peoples and traditions and their relationship
    with the natural world.” Peter Hampel (Creative Director – The Eden Project)
    The WOMAD organisation, created in 1981 by a group of individuals including
    Peter Gabriel and Thomas Brooman, has produced over 145 music events in 23
    countries and aims to offer audiences an insight into cultures other than their
    own through the enjoyment of music.
    “We are delighted to team up with the Eden Project. Both organisations share
    many aims and ambitions, particularly as agents of discovery and as gateways to
    the rich diversity of the world around us”. Thomas Brooman (Artistic Director
    – WOMAD)
    Adult ticket: £27.50 (inc. booking fee) – includes free entry (worth £10) to
    The Eden Project, valid on either the day of the performance or the following
    day only.
    Child ticket: £15 (aged 5-15). Children aged 4 and under can come FREE.
    Performances start at 7pm and finish at midnight.
    To book tickets please contact:
    http://www.womad.org/eden (no booking fee)
    Eden Project Tel: 01726 811 972
    http://www.edenproject.com (£2 booking fee per order)
    Wayahead Tel: 0871 2200 260
    http://www.gigsandtours.com (£2 booking fee per ticket)
    For further information about the Eden Session and WOMAD’s other events around
    the world:
    Website: http://www.womad.org
    Email: info@womad.org
    24 hour information line: 01225 744494
    For information on The Eden Project:


  3. Hi, my name is CAL, I am a singer / songwriter from central Scotland. I was the support act for three of Midge Ure’s concerts(Feb 2006). After the last concert Midge said that I should get in touch with Thomas Brooman for possible future events. I have had a look at the web and can’t find exactly where I should get in contact with him. Is this the place, or can you help me in any way.
    Thank you


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