WOMAD USA 1998 Day 1

WOMAD Main Stage

Starbucks Village Stage

The Mainstage occupied a large field just inside the main gate, with food and other vendor booths lining the perimeter. Three Zulu ladies called Shikisha performed on the Starbucks Village Stage, which was tucked away behind a stand of trees. They danced, sang, and played drums.

Seattle WA


The WOMAD festival was held annually from 1998 to 2001 at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington, not far from Seattle. After the events of 9/11 the WOMAD festival never returned to The United States.

The windmill at Marymoor Park in Redmond

Marymoor Park Windmill

Near the windmill there was an African puppet play taking place.

The Opening Ceremony were short; WOMAD artistic director Thomas Brooman gave King County Executive Ron Sims an African drum and complimented him on the beautiful festival location. Then Senegalese pop sensation Baaba Maal took the stage for an enthralling performance of Afropop, a genre that blends traditional rhythms, funk, and latin influences.

At the Big Top to see Lo’Jo, a French band garnered favorable reviews. Their sound is a fusion of Middle Eastern melodies, African rhythms, Caribbean beats, and Kurt Weill’s European dancehall style. After Lo’Jo, the Canadian rock band Tragically Hip started playing on the Mainstage.

Tabla Set

Indian culture has a rich history with the tabla. Hussain is well known for his inventions, but he feels that innovation and tradition need to coexist in harmony: “You have to be able to take some elements of the outside world and still be extremely loyal to your tradition.” Indian music needs to step outside of its comfort zone and stop relying solely on foreign inspirations.

Zakir Hussain

Zakir Hussain

Under the Big Top, Zakir Hussain started playing the tabla drums. Hussain started performing live at age seven and began travelling with his father at age twelve.


Situated near the main entrance, the Mainstage took up a sizable area surrounded by food vendors and other stalls.

 Baaba Maal

Baaba Maal

Afropop the blends traditional rhythms, funk, and Latin influences.



A fusion of Middle Eastern melodies, African rhythms, Caribbean beats

Tragically Hip

Tragically Hip

Canadian rock band formed in Kingston, Ontario

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