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Thomas Brooman in the centre with Pete Gabriel right and Tim Smit left
World Shaker Award 2006
Thomas Brooman, WOMAD director and co-founder, is the first recipient of the new "World Shaker" Award.

The new category has been instituted to recognise the enormous contribution made to World Music by those who are rarely in the public eye - but whose work is invaluable nonetheless.

The Awards jury was unanimous that the first of the these awards should go to Thomas, whose continuing achievement at the WOMAD festival - yearly in Reading and in its many editions around the world - has done so much to create and sustain audiences for World Music and break new acts.

WOMAD is also a uniquely joyous festival, a world of diversity and harmony which has drawn out memorable performances from so many artists down the years. Its foundation in 1981 came after Thomas had already spent some years as a professional drummer and founded a unique record magazine, The Bristol Recorder, through which he met Peter Gabriel.

The first WOMAD, which took place in 1982, established the open-minded, music-first approach which as served the event so well, with acts ranging from The Drummers of Burundi to Echo and the Bunnymen and Peter Gabriel himself.

Since 1982, as Artistic Director of WOMAD, Thomas has programmed and collaborated in the production of more than 145 WOMAD Festivals and events in 24 countries and islands all over the world.

He also co-founded Real World Records in 1987, which operates as a creative partnership between Peter Gabriel and the WOMAD organisation. The father of three children, Thomas continues to live in his home-town of Bristol where - in the very little free time he has - and pursues his interests kit drumming, cinema, photography, books and travel.

"I picked up the original WOMAD record-magazine, at Tony's in Clifton, and loved it. That - and of course, the festivals that followed - have truly enriched my life."
Mark Ellingham, Rough Guides

"WOMAD has become as model of what a world music festival should be - which is why it has been taken up so enthusiastically elsewhere in the world."
Simon Broughton, Songlines

"The true sign of a festival getting it right is when tickets sell like hot cakes each year without people really knowing who is on - they just want to be there. That is down to the inspired direction of the modest man who has persevered through the tough years as well as the rewarding ones."
Ian Anderson, fRoots

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