• 23-27 OCT 2024
  • Manchester, UK

The WOMEX family has grown exponentially over the years - from hosting around 300 professionals at the House of World Cultures in Berlin, Germany in its first year, to a gathering of over 2,700 professionals from ninety-two countries now. And now we see new delegates and new artists, born after that first edition: they come to WOMEX 19 with a lifetime of world music in their ears and minds and repertoires.

Over the last twenty-five years, the music and the music business has evolved - and so has WOMEX. However, one thing that has been constant since our inception is the core intent of celebrating creativity and diversity as a community — supporting ground-breaking new talents and honouring the established maestros; lauding tradition and the innovations to tradition; loving the richness of the rooted local, and the rightful celebration of our global voice. From conference presentation to trade-fair conversation, from fragile and intimate listening moments to the body-shaking of the tent-boomers: we are positive, we are ready.


Let us take you back in time on a musical, literary and photographic journey!
We explore the successes and the moments of the past years with interviews, videos, excerpts, music and images,
brought together from our archive and from contributions of our lovely community members. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday WOMEX!

WOMEX 2019 Showcase artists Santrofi celebrated with us the 25th Anniversary of WOMEX in Finland. As such, they left a special message for us while attending and performing in Tampere this last October. This is how you celebrate at WOMEX! Thank you for this heartwarming moment./p>

Thank You!

We want to thank each and every one of you for being part of this fantastic edition of WOMEX19. Each year we move towards a much more united front, exchanging and sharing knowledge and culture, making new friends and reconnecting with one another. We couldn't have celebrated our #WOMEX25Years anniversary in a better way possible. Relive the best moments of this edition with having a look at our gallery!

Listen: 1994-1998 Showcases

In 1994 the debut edition of WOMEX takes place in Berlin, hosting its first 300 professionals. The following years take us to Brussels, Marseille and Stockholm, with showcases Cesária Évora, DJ Alan James, Fanfare Ciocărlia and many more; as well as Oumou Sangaré from Mali and Cheikh Lô from Senegal, who both later won the WOMEX Artist Awards in 2015 and 2017.

WOMEX Flashback

Throughout the years, we have gathered some great memories in photographs. Here are a few of the priceless moments captured on film, some candid, some posed. More to come and enjoy soon.

10 Photos, 10 Memories

In celebration of the 25th WOMEX Anniversary, Jacob curated a selection of ten pictures with a memory, a thought or an observation of his experience while documenting his years at WOMEX.

Show Us What You Got: #WOMEX25YEARS

Just grab hold of your dusty old photo albums and dig out your favourite photos from previous WOMEX editions. Share with us on social media by tagging @WOMEX and using hashtag #WOMEX25YEARS. Don't forget to add a caption and if possible tag whoever is in the photo. We will feature your photo memory in our online gallery dedicated to WOMEX 25 years along with social media. If you’ve got a moment to share, then we’d love to hear from you.

Listen: 1999-2003 Showcases

In 1999 our first annual WOMEX Award was introduced. We were back in Berlin until 2000 and continued our journey travelling to Rotterdam, Essen and Sevilla. Nitin Sawhney, Andy Palacio & The Garifuna All Star Band and Tinariwen were just some of the incredible artists who joind us on stage in these five years. And let's not forget about Värttinä or Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who received our Artist Award in 2001 and 2012.

Interview with WOMEX Founding Director Ben Mandelson

In 2014 WOMEX founding director Ben Mandelson was interviewed by Bill Bragin, the founding executive artistic director of The Arts Centre at New York University Abu Dhabi in the UAE and co-creator of globalFEST. The audience was treated to an intimate opportunity to hear these veteran music organisers discuss many topics, including the creation of WOMEX, the growth of the industry, and how technological shifts affect the music business. If you missed it, watch it now!

Listen: 2004-2008 Showcases

We returned to Essen in 2004, on board: Seu Jorge from Brazil and many many others. One year later we are moving on to Newcastle and Sevilla, where WOMEX found a home for three years. Joining us on stage 2006 Artist Award Recipient Totó la Momposina from Colombia and 2005 Award Recipient Bi Kidude from Tanzania as well as performances by showcases such as Mariem Hassan, Tanya Tagaq and Dengue Fever.

Guide Throwback: World Music and Globalization

World music is that music we encounter, well, everywhere in the world. World music can be folk music, art music, or popular music; its practitioners may be amateur or professional. World music may be sacred, secular, or commercial; its performers may emphasize authenticity, while at the same time relying heavily on mediation to disseminate it to as many markets as possible.

You've got Fax!

It's 1994, way before Internet changed our world. WOMEX used fax to share news and updates.
Have a look at our newsletter from WOMEX 94!

Listen: 2009-2013 Showcases

It is 2009, after three years south we are heading up north to Copenhagen and Cardiff as well as Thessaloniki in 2012. On stage with us and showcasing to an ever-expanding WOMEX community are Analog Africa Soundsystem, Bomba Estéreo, Celso Piña and Mokoomba, to just name a few. Joining them: WOMEX Artist Award receipients Staff Benda Bilili, Danyèl Waro, Hugh Masekela and Los Van Van from Cuba.

Guide Throwback: We Created World Music

Thirty Two years ago today, a group of people gathered in a room above a pub in London and invented a new musical genre. Back in 2004, Robin Denselow interviewed these gentlemen to find out what they thought of it almost two decades later. Here is the interview that was published in the WOMEX 2004 Guide.

At a Glance: WOMEX in the Eyes of Eric Van Nieuwland

We spoke to WOMEX photographer Eric van Nieuwland to better understand his process, vision and gather his best memories of the past ten years attending WOMEX, all of which has directly contributed to his success.

Listen: 2014-2018 Showcases

The last five years brought us to Santiago de Compostela, Katowice and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. We now have around 2,700 professionals travelling Europe with us and after 25 years we welcomed up to 1,200 showcases on our stages. Some artists of the past five years were La Yegros, Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, A-Wa, Delgres, The Busy Twist and Betsayda Machado as well as WOMEX Artist Award receipients Mariza, Calypso Rose and Kronos Quartet.

Use the hashtag #WOMEX25YEARS on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to share your WOMEX memories and become part of our upcoming digital photo gallery online and on-site in Tampere. Don't forget to tag us and capture your photo.