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Thousands of votes were cast and a nail-biting dive for the finish line yesterday saw two bands vying for the chance to get the last coveted spot on the 2013 line-up at the Womad festival in 2013 in Taranaki.
Auckland based group Beyondsemble pitted against Tauranga vocal group, Kougar Sistas fought til the last second drawing on their networks from around the globe. With votes in excess of 3’500 each the competition was fierce to the final second. Overnight all votes have gone through a thorough verification process.
Beyondsemble are Craig Denham, Chris Koole, Jon Sanders and John Ellis. Based in Auckland and Europe the band describes themselves as a molten mix of Folk, Jazz, Gypsy, Tango, Bluegrass, Celtic, Latin and Rocksteady. The band has been working for votes as they travelled the country for six weeks playing 29 shows from Kaiwaka to Riverton. Beyondsemble also reached out to their fans in Ireland, Scotland, France and Czech Republic in their bid to secure their spot in the line-up.
Pipped at the post by a mere 140 votes the Kougar Sistas ran a valiant race and had been leading from the beginning of the competition. With a dedicated clan of supporters Carlee Williams (Vocals/Keyboards), Kathy Phillips (Vocals/Drums), Delayne Ututaonga (Vocals/Guitar), Porina McLeod (Vocals/Bass) and Dianne Burt (Vocals/Percussion) pulled out all the stops. They describe themselves as “a crazy sexy fun-loving vibrant & energetic all girl band” with a breath of experience spanning 20 years and who now “collectively blend together with instruments to create an exciting visual feast and a smooth unique distinctive sound.”
This is the first year WOMAD has run a band competition and TAFT marketing and communications manager Lisa McMullan says: "The response from the bands and voters was passionate. More than 50 bands entered, more than 15,000 people voted and in the end it was a very close race."
"The diversity and calibre of entries was a reflection of the incredible pool of talent that's out there. Unfortunately there could only be one winner but congratulations to all who participated with such fervour and spirit.".
Decided by the general public, Beyondsemble will play at the festival Sunday 17 March on the line up with some of the world’s best musical talent including Jimmy Cliff, Hugh Masekela, Salif Keita, Vieux Farke Toure, Abigail Washburn & Kai Welch, Goran Bregovic, Jordi Savall.