Iolo Whelan from Jamie Smith's Mabon previews their Womad show.

1 Tell us who you are and where you're from.

Greetings from Wales! We are Jamie Smith's Mabon: Jamie the accordionist and singer; Oli on fiddle; and Paul, Matt and Iolo in the backline playing acoustic guitar, bass and drums.

2 Describe your sound in one sentence.


We play original, InterCeltic music - so it's based on the traditional music of the Celtic nations (Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Brittany and Cornwall), but given a contemporary treatment.

3 What do you think is the key thing Womad festival artists have in common?

All the Womad artists want to share their music with the world - but we're also all open to each other's music, and look forward to meeting musicians from other cultures.

4 Which of your songs is your favourite to perform live and why?

Too tricky! :smile: Maybe if we had to narrow it down, those big dance sets towards the end of a concert, when the place is jumping!

5 What can the Womad audience expect from your performance at the festival?

Bring your dancing shoes, and we'll have a lot of fun! Songs in English and in Welsh, but, also a lot of instrumental music: jigs, reels, polkas - music you can have a good time to!

6 Which other acts on the festival bill do you most want to see?


We have a huge soft spot for Sharon Shannon's music, as she was an early influence on all of us - but the most thrilling thing about Womad is being blown away by surprise, when you hear some amazing music from an artist you've never heard of before.

That rush of discovery and excitement is what characterises the festival - so who knows what the Womad surprise will be for each of us this year?!

7 What does success as a musician mean to you?

Making a positive differences in the lives of the people we meet; the chance to travel; and the great privilege of being able to earn our living doing a thing that we love so much.

Jamie Smith's Mabon. Photo / Paul Michael Hughes Photography
Jamie Smith's Mabon. Photo / Paul Michael Hughes Photography

8 What would you tell a young person wanting to be a successful musician?

Listen to as much music as you can, open your mind - and take every opportunity to play!


9 Who or what excites you most about music right now?

Eek, that's tough - probably it would vary between all of the members of the band, we all love lots of different music.

As a band though, we're very excited about celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2019, our new live album TWENTY - and the chance to play in New Zealand of course!

10 You can only fit one album by another artist on your device - what is it?

Aaaaaargh, that's impossible - but if we HAD to choose just one album as a band - probably Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds! :smile:

•Womad takes place March 15-17 at New Plymouth's TSB Bowl of Brooklands, Pukekura Park. See here for more details.