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Billy Bragg to play at WOMADelaide


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English folk-rock singer and activist Billy Bragg, who weighed in on the Australian election last week with criticism of the “unappetising” choices facing voters, will make his debut appearance at WOMADelaide next year.

In the first 2014 festival announcement, WOMADelaide director Ian Scobie said Bragg would perform on the closing night of the event.

“In an increasingly superficial music market, we’re delighted to program one of the world’s most endearing champions of ‘songwriting with a message’ in Billy Bragg,” Scobie said.

Bragg’s message posted to his 145,000 Facebook followers last Friday – and picked up by a number of music websites – was that the Australian election on Saturday presented an unappetising prospect and he pitied the citizens “having to cast a vote by law, compelled to order something from the menu”. In his rundown of the “menu” options, which attracted more than 800 likes and 270 comments, he said: “Everyone knows that they’re good for you, but in the testosterone driven political climate of the Antipodes, will enough people order the Greens to make a difference to the outcome?”

Bragg is currently touring on the back of his latest album, Tooth & Nail – his first studio album released in five years – and is a guest at this week’s Bigsound music industry conference in Brisbane. He was also presented this month with the Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the Association of Independent Music Awards in London.

Scobie described him as “passionate and charismatic”, saying Bragg’s performances were as much about thoughtful songs as his “compelling and often hilarious” storytelling in between.

The next WOMADelaide program announcement will be on October 21.

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