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Malmesbury youngsters wow WOMAD crowds
Beatboxing pupils from the Malmesbury area raised the curtain on this year’s WOMAD in front of hundreds of festival goers on Thursday night.
They were accompanied on stage by professional vocal artists Shlomo and Jester who have been teaching the children the art of beatboxing through a series of workshops.
Despite stormy clouds and heavy rain the performers drew hundreds of people to the Open Air stage.
Dressed in a grey hoody and baggy jeans Shlomo led the 21 members of the Malmesbury Beatbox Allstars through a three song set.
The finale saw each of them repeating four bars of vocal improvisation with Shlomo conducting the ‘orchestra’ selecting individuals or small groups to perform on their own before the rest of the group joined back in.
Next up was traditional Colombian band Colores de mi Tierra backed by the Malmesbury Youth Choir.
The brightly coloured Colombian dresses worn by band members seemed to bring out the sun as the rain stopped and spectators began to dry off.
The stage was packed with students drumming, playing the guitar and singing in Spanish along with the Colombian musicians who had been working with them at Malmesbury Primary School over the past five weeks.
Malmesbury Mayor Catherine Doody who was in the crowd to watch the pupils said: “It was absolutely fantastic.
“To be able to perform on stage in front of so many people is such a good opportunity.
“It is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Malmesbury sixth former Loz Hood, 17, who performed with the Malmebsury Beatbox Allstars said learning from Jester was a lot of fun.
He said: “Jez is a freaky legend.
“He taught us all the basics to beatboxing and was a lot of fun to work with.”
Fellow Allstar Michael Moore, 17, added: “The great thing about beatboxing is you can’t really mess up.
“They pretty much gave us the licence to improvise and do what we liked as long as it sounded good.”
Gabrielle Barnet, 11, from Minety was part of the choir accompanying Colores de mi Tierra.
She said: “It was fun being on stage and at the end seeing all the people clap for us.”
Proud Mum Anna added: “I really enjoyed seeing her up there.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for the children to get involved, and not just the Malmesbury schools but also the smaller Primaries from the area.”