On July 31, the musical duo Comorian took the stage at Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festival — for the past 40 years a showcase for “world music” stars as well as lesser known international musicians. (WOMAD stands for “World of Music, Arts and Dance.”)
This year headliners included Benin’s multi-Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo, octogenarian Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil and the wild card choice of Oklahoma City’s The Flaming Lips.
Comorian’s two members, M’madi Djibaba, 59, and Soubi Attoumane, 69, became the first musicians from Comoros to ever appear at WOMAD. An audience of hundreds listened to their original songs with ear-catching titles: “The Devil Doesn’t Eat Papaya, He Eats Fire” and “My Friends Went Abroad & Were Swallowed by the Waves.” After singing and playing an hour-long set of haunting acoustic music on handmade string instruments, the group earned two lengthy standing ovations and an encore.
But the duo almost didn’t make it to the stage. The reason: It was nearly impossible …