WOMEX Final Press Release, Saturday, 26 October 2013 | Cardiff, Wales, UK

Horizons Sing at WOMEX 13 in Cardiff, Wales

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WOMEX 13 in Cardiff, Wales, UK, will come to a close on Sunday, 27 October after five days and nights packed with busy global networking, inspiring encounters and the best of local sounds ranging from strictly traditional to purely electronic. Acknowledged as the most international hub of all professional music meetings worldwide in general, and as the most important annual meeting point for the world music community in particular, WOMEX brought 2,250 delegates and more than 300 artists from 100 countries altogether to the Welsh capital. Having attracted 550 music professionals from the UK, this year's host country formed the strongest delegation at the event.

Phil Sheeran, Chairman of the Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales Project Board for WOMEX 13 summed up the event on behalf of the Wales team:

"WOMEX 13 is the largest cultural event ever hosted by Wales, and on behalf of the Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales board and organising team, I would like to thank WOMEX for bringing this extraordinary festival and expo of world music to Wales and pay tribute to our partner organisations: Arts Council of Wales, Wales Arts International, Welsh Music Foundation, Cardiff Council, British Council and of course the Welsh Government for their support and vision. This event has been three years in the planning and it has taken sustained and focused effort by each and every member of our team and volunteer team to deliver it. I thank them all for making WOMEX 13 an outstanding success for Wales, creatively and in terms of economic impact and the raising of Wales's profile as a cultural nation internationally. The effects of WOMEX in terms of cultural legacy for our music industry and the profile of Cardiff as a world cultural capital will be with us for years to come, and it has set a precedent and raised the bar high in terms of quality and ambition for attracting international cultural events to Wales."

With the Opening and Award Concert, Official Selection, DJ Summit, Horizons and offWOMEX, the 2013 Showcase Festival featured more than 60 acts from over 40 countries on seven stages at the experienced events venue Motorpoint Arena, in and outside the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre and at The Glee Club in Cardiff Bay.

Highlighting the realities of the world music touring business, Ensemble Al-Kindi from Syria had to cancel their official WOMEX showcase because they were denied a UK visa - although currently touring in Europe's Schengen zone - despite the artists, their management, Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales, the Welsh Government and WOMEX working with all official channels to appeal the decision.

Over 850 high quality showcase proposals from around the globe were received for the WOMEX 13 Showcase Festival, giving the WOMEX Jury the tricky task of selecting the cream of the crop to participate in this year's Official Selection. Showcase Jury member Fruzsina Szép, Programme Director of Sziget Festival, said: "The 2013 WOMEX programme is like the real homemade super-delicious Hungarian Goulash Soup(Gulyás leves). Each 'ingredient' is essential to have THE perfect taste, with the feeling that you want to eat much more..."

After a successful debut last year, the WOMEX DJ Summit placed the sounds of the night firmly front and centre with a tailored festival and networking programme dedicated to global club music. WOMEX Jury member Miriam Brenner curated two special club nights with an international line-up of DJs and producers on Friday and Saturday in the fully packed and wall-shaking Glee Club.

An entire nighttime stage was dedicated to 'Horizons', a partnership of the leading music organisations of WOMEX's host nation Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland launched in 2013. Each country has a different history, told in their own languages, lending distinctiveness to their music traditions and forms. Together they presented the soundscape of the United Kingdom and Ireland foregrounding the very best (roots) musicians from these lands − and proving that indeed, as the building where they played proclaims: 'In these stones, horizons sing'.

offWOMEX grows in popularity every year, renowned for offering specialised musical evenings that are structured within a regional, national or organisational framework. Bretagne Land of Music kicked things off with a bang on Thursday night presented by Conseil Régional de Bretagne, Bretagne(s) World Sounds and Spectacle Vivant en Bretagne. It was followed by a foretaste from WOMEX's next host region in 2014, Budiño from Galicia in Spain, sponsored by Nalgures; plus two 'Belgian Brew' acts presented by Flanders Music Centre, Wallonia-Brussels Music, Sabam for Culture and MuziekMozaiek. Artists from South Africa, supported by Independent Music Exporters South Africa (IMEXSA); and Spotlight Québec, presented by Folquébec, SODEC, Musicaction and Canada Council for the Arts, completed the offWOMEX line-up on the third and last WOMEX night.

WOMEX's host organisation in 2013, Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales, presented a stellar Opening Concert, Land of Song, curated by singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author and broadcaster Cerys Matthews who also performed alongside Wales' leading musicians. The enraptured audience was taken on a journey through Wales' indigenous musical heritage, now blended with contemporary and world forms. Welsh music has been fusing musical traditions since the Iron Age, when the Celts arrived on Welsh shores. Its songs and instruments have been influenced by the Romans, Saxons, Normans, Romany, and the innumerable cultures who arrived during the Industrial Revolution. A fabulous, proud and loving introduction to the intrinsically linked poetry and music of this Celtic nation.

Interest from public broadcasters was particularly high this year with BBC Cymru Wales television and radio plus S4C covering the full Opening Concert and broadcasting highlights from the Showcase Festival. BBC Radio 3 together with BBC Radio Wales recorded substantial parts of the Showcase Festival, which were made available to the European Broadcasting Union for the distribution and transmission of full WOMEX Showcase concerts among their member and affiliate stations in and outside Europe.

Mini artist performances and interviews surfed the global airwaves via the WOMEX Radio Studio, which was made possible by the cooperation of engineers from the BBC (UK), NRK (Norway), rbb (Germany, Berlin) and WDR (Germany, Cologne).

Busy as ever, the WOMEX Trade Fair at Motorpoint Arena was the nerve centre of the daytime activities. With 590 companies from 50 countries at 250 stands, the exhibition hall looked like a giant pattern of ant trails. Newcomers on the floor included: Japan, Mexico, Czech Republic, Serbia and Albania.

Corresponding to the broad range of music industry branches present at WOMEX, more than 80 speakers and mentors from 25 countries and all backgrounds imparted their insights into the live, the digital and the recording business and all matters related to music history, education, politics and beyond.

With two Mentoring formats on offer - One-to-One and Round-Table - delegates looking for specific advice could choose between an individual consultation or group discussion with five expert mentors from a variety of fields and occupations, all free of charge.

Those looking for new partners and avenues for business in South Africa were served very well by the highly popular Speed-Dating, organised in cooperation with the Independent Music Exporters South Africa, and presenting the country's key players in one sitting.

An ever increasing number of music networks from all over the world - a few of them founded at previous editions of WOMEX - held meetings in Cardiff: the Forum of African Music; the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals; European Broadcasting Union's Euroradio World Music Workshop; International Music Managers' Forum; Jazz & World, organised by Europe Jazz Network, plus the freshly launched Jazz Promotion Network for the British Isles; the Global Club Music Network; the World Trad Forum; Women of the World; North American; and a new Education Network at WOMEX.

Programmed by IMZ - the International Music + Media Centre, the Film Screenings featured the latest concert recordings and music documentaries highlighting an impressive diversity of musical styles and biographies. Offering a platform at the intersection of music and audio-visual media, this WOMEX element has enjoyed growing popularity in the past few years.

The prestigious Award Ceremony on the last WOMEX day, Sunday - with its three Award presentations and showcase of the Artist Award - will round off another successful edition of the event.

The WOMEX 13 Artist Award honours Los Van Van from Cuba: legendary orchestra lead by Cuban music visionary Juan Formell, which has remained Cuba's most important and popular dance band for over four decades.

The WOMEX 13 Professional Excellence Award will be given to Festival au Désert: one of Africa's most remarkable music festivals, born 12 years ago in the deserts of northern Mali as a practical response to war and isolation.

The WOMEX 13 Label Award goes to Riverboat Records/World Music Network with its chart-topping album Beyond the Ragasphere by Debashish Bhattacharya & Friends. The selection is made using the WMCE charts of 48 radio broadcasters from 25 countries.

The partners of WOMEX 13 in Cardiff, Wales, UK, were Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales, Welsh Music Foundation, Wales Arts International, Arts Council of Wales, Cardiff Council; the three venues, Motorpoint Arena, Wales Millennium Centre and The Glee Club. The event was supported by the Welsh Government and British Council.

The WOMEX crew gives heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped to make WOMEX 13 a vibrant and productive international music gathering: partners, supporters, production staff and volunteers; artists, delegates and media; enthusiasts and fans.

WOMEX 13 was a production of WOMEX - the World Music Expo, in cooperation with Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales.

Since its first edition in 1994 WOMEX has been travelling all across Europe from Berlin (1994), via Brussels (1995), Marseille (1997), Stockholm (1998), Berlin (1999 + 2000), Rotterdam (2001), Essen (2002 + 2004), Newcastle (2005), Sevilla (2003 + 2006-2008), Copenhagen (2009-2011), Thessalonki (2012) to Cardiff (2013).

The next edition of WOMEX will take place in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain, from Wednesday, 22 to Sunday, 26 October 2014.

WOMEX 13 at a Glance
  • 2,250 delegates and 1260 companies from 90 countries.
  • 800 concert and festival bookers, tour promoters and venues.
  • 560 labels, publishers and distributors.
  • 680 booking agents, 560 managers and 270 producers.
  • 300 national and international journalists, including 130 radio broadcasters.
  • A bustling Trade Fair with 590 exhibiting companies from 50 countries at 250 stands.
  • More than 60 Showcase acts with more than 300 artists from over 40 countries on 7 stages.
  • The second WOMEX DJ Summit with a specific Showcase & Conference programme dedicated to global club music.
  • 80 speakers and mentors from 25 countries in over 20 Conference Sessions; numerous Networking Meetings, Presentations, Receptions and South Africa Speed-Dating.
  • Film Screenings in cooperation with IMZ - International Music + Media Centre, Austria.
  • The festive Welsh Opening Concert: Land of Song, curated by Cerys Matthews.
  • Three WOMEX Awards honouring Los Van Van from Cuba; Festival au Désert, Mali; and label of the year, Riverboat Records/World Music Network, based in UK.
  • The WOMEX Webcast, in cooperation with Mondomix, France.
  • The WOMEX Radio Studio organised by BBC (UK), NRK (Norway), rbb (Germany, Berlin), and WDR (Germany, Cologne); and recordings of the Showcase Festival for distribution within the EBU, produced by BBC (UK).
  • virtualWOMEX − your online gateway to the global music community.

Kind regards from your WOMEX team

WOMEX 13 Cardiff, Wales, UK | 23 - 27 October 2013
WOMEX 14 Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain | 22 - 26 October 2014


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