Come March 17, New Plymouth's Pukekura Park will be transformed into a verified melting pot of different cultures, cuisines and musical tastes. The World of Music Arts and Dance Festival, better known simply as Womad, will return to TSB Bowl of Brooklands for three days of live music and arts, a drawcard for dozens of eclectic acts from all over the world.
Ahead of this year's festival, we got acquainted with some of Womad's visiting musicians, as they dish on life on the road and the feel-good food that reminds them of home:
Bennie, The Hot 8 Brass Band:
"To keep it simple, we could start with the 'po boy' which is a New Orleans style sandwich. The po boy came about in the early 1900s, as the result of a four-month strike against the Street Car Company in New Orleans.
Restaurants would bring out sandwiches to the picketers (the poor boys in protest) which is where the name 'po boy' came from. The place that I think does the best po boy is called Verti Mart, and my favourite po boy is named 'All That Jazz'. This po boy is a combination of grilled shrimp, turkey, ham, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and wild sauce – which is a mix of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise. It also has three different cheeses on it... pepper jack, cheddar and mozzarella."
Julia Díaz, La Mambanegra:
"I have several shortcuts to go back home, the 'sopa de torrejas' (fritter soup) is one of my favourites. It cannot be any 'sopa de torrejas', it has to be the one that comes from the very hands and heart of Sarita, the nanny of my childhood, the nanny of my life.
Brushy, One String:
"For me, the hardest part of touring is missing the food of Jamaica. Some things you just can’t find nowhere else, like our national dish, Ackee and Saltfish. Ackee is a kind of fruit that you might be able to find (on tour), but it's usually a canned variety and it’s just not the same as what we get fresh at home.
"One thing I can cook almost anywhere, is what I’m going to show you how to make at WOMAD – I call it Chicken In The Pan. It’s fried chicken with enough hot pepper (chilli) to make a Jamaican happy. Like in my song, when the chicken in the corn, the corn can’t grow. But when the chicken is in the pan, the corn can grow again and I can grow a big smile."
"The dish that makes me feel nostalgic is the Rhubarb and Apple Stew my nana used to make for me when I was little. I'm not sure if this dish is from the island of Tonga or Samoa, where my nana's people come from, or if it is just a classic stew that was made for her when she was growing up in New Zealand. Either way, to this day it's one of my favourite dishes on the planet.
Although I rarely make it for myself these days, when I do, I like to add some coconut yoghurt and keep it healthy, vegan, strengthening and healing."
"Chicken porridge is one of our favourite dish. This dish is "power food" especially when we are sick. My mum just put the whole chicken in the pot with 1½ cup of jasmine rice and ½ cup of sticky rice. She would fill the pot up with water until it almost covered the chicken, then added ginger, dried onion and salt.
"When the chicken was cooked slowly, with rice and ginger, the juices and all the flavours came out nicely. The taste, fragrance and texture of the dish is just amazing. The meat was very tender and the rice was broken into soft, small pieces. It was very easy to digest but very fulfilling as well."
"A dish called Tatws Pum Munud is something I have never quite managed to make quite as delicious as my grandmother used to make it. It would taste the same, each and every time. It means ‘five minute potatoes’ in Welsh, but it takes hours to cook. It consists of potatoes sliced in an oven dish with sliced onions and stock poured over it. Then you cut the bacon with scissors and place it over the potatoes – then slow cook it in the oven.
"I’m vegetarian now and have tried to substitute the bacon with butter beans, and it’s good – but not quite the same. The potatoes simply melt in your mouth and the saltiness of the bacon just screams ‘home’ to me."
Womad Festival New Zealand, Friday, March 17 – Sunday, March 19, TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth. For festival and ticketing information, see their website here.
Womad - World of Music, Arts and Dance, brings together artists from all over the globe. The central aim of the Womad festival is to celebrate the world's many forms of music, arts and dance.