Ben Watt, Lord King and Toumani Diabaté

Ben MervynToumani

Ahead of the official announcement of the Hay Festival programme later this month we have the names of three individuals appearing who epitomise the breadth of ground that the festival covers.

The former Bank of England Governor, Mervyn Allister King, Baron King of Lothbury, will be making his first appearance at Hay after stepping down as Governor last year.  Ben Watt, DJ, author and one half of ‘Everything But the Girl, will be reading from Romany and Tom a memoir about his parents; Tommy Watt a working-class Glaswegian jazz musician and Romany Bain a RADA-trained Shakespearian actress.   It’s a book described in The Guardian by Alex Petridis as “funny, incredibly moving, beautifully written and really thought-provoking.”  Ben will appear at the Festival on Saturday 24 May.

The following day you can catch Toumani Diabaté performing live with his son Sidiki on the kora a 21-string bridge-harp used widely to performing the traditional music of Mali, home to the Tounami and Sidiki.  They will feature music from their collaboration ‘Toumani & Sidiki’ the first real offering from the Malian since his 2010 Grammy Award winning collaboration with the late Ali Farka Touré which had been recorded several years before. Toumani Diabaté gave a memorable performance at Hay in 2010. It’s great to see him back.