• NEXT EDITION
  • 27-31 OCT 2021
  • Porto, Portugal

Showcase Artists 2019

Browse through the list of the first part of the WOMEX 19 Showcase artists below and get a first glimpse of what you can expect at the Showcase concerts this year. More artists will be announced soon. A big thank you to our 7 Samurai, the independent, international jury that selected this programme.

The WOMEX 19 Showcase concerts are comprised of the Official Showcase Selection, the Club Summit, the Opening Artists, Northern Connections and the offWOMEX programme.

Watch our Showcase Sampler Video

Official Showcase Selection

 

photo by Cyrille Choupas

3MA: Ballaké Sissoko, Driss El Maloumi, Rajery (Mali/Morocco/Madagascar)

A musical meeting of three very different musical cultures across Africa. Using the combined 52 strings across the Moroccan oud, Malian kora and Malagasy valiha, the musicians of 3MA find common ground without compromising their mastery in their individual traditions.

 

photo by Olle Melkerhed

Ahlberg, Ek & Rosewall (Sweden)

This trio of virtuosic string players – on five-string fiddle, nyckelharpa and harp guitar – perform a range of Swedish traditional dance tunes with influences from early and baroque music to cutting edge brightfolk.

 

photo by Park Dong Jun

Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7) (South Korea)

The musicians of the Seoul-based Jeong Ga Ak Hoe ensemble look to their north for their latest project as they perform repertoire from the sacred, shamanic and secular kut and minyo traditions of the Hwanghae-do region, nowadays a western province of North Korea.

 

photo by Pierrick Guidou

Arat Kilo w/ Mamani Keita & Mike Ladd (Mali/USA/France)

The French Ethiojazz band are joined by Malian songbird Mamani Keita and rapper and spoken word artist Mike Ladd as unexpected collaborations open the doors to uninhibited creativity, with each musician bending into the cultures of the others.

 

photo by Khalil Mounji

Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou (Morocco)

Bnat Timbouktou are a rare all-female troupe of Gnawa musicians in a tradition usually the preserve of men, performing the ecstatic music of the Sufi saints that reflects the Gnawa’s origins in West Africa. The group is led by Asmâa Hamzaoui, an acclaimed player of the music's bass lute backbone, the guimbri.

 

Bani Hill Band (Georgia)

The Tbilisi-based band mix the famous polyphonic singing tradition of Georgia with lesser known instrumental folk styles from around the Caucasus, with a healthy dose of pop sensibility thrown in for good measure.

 

photo by Justice Mukheli

Bongeziwe Mabandla (South Africa)

A self-styled Afro-folk troubadour, Mabandla’s Xhosa lyrics tackle the deep subjects of life and death over a soulful groove of R’n’B, pop, Afro-funk and traditional South African styles with a poetic and masterful cool.

 

photo by Giuliano Ferreira Ruiz

Carmelo Torres y su Cumbia Sabanera (Colombia)

Torres is the loved and long-serving loud voice heralding the revival of the sabanero style of Colombian accordion music through the unique genre of cumbia sabanera, giving Colombia’s country music a whole new generation of enthusiasts. It's your turn now: this direct roots style is guaranteed to get you on your feet.

 

DJ Duke & MCZo (Tanzania)

Two Tanzanian top names from the forefront of singeli, the ultra-fast, ultra-hardcore and ultra-intense electronic dance music and hip-hop from the streets of Dar-es-Salaam, ready to explode onto the international scene.

 

photo by Walda Marques

Dona Onete (Brazil)

Truly the grande dame of Afro-Amazonian music, Dona Onete brings in indigenous and Afro-Brazilian rhythms and sounds to earn her regal title as Brazil’s ‘Queen of Carimbó’. She released her first album at the age of 73; six years later and she’s still proving she can party with the best of them, and with us.

 

photo by Sami Perttilä

Duo Emilia Lajunen & Suvi Oskala (Finland)

This duelling duo of five-stringed fiddles are saving folk tunes from the obscurity of the archive. Performing Finnish folk repertoire as well as their own compositions and specially-commissioned pieces, Lajunen and Oskala’s melodies weave in, around and in between each other, casting magical musical spells.

 

photo by Hernan Blanco

El Cachivache Quinteto (Argentina)

You don’t have to be a ballroom dancer to move to this quintet’s beat: their performances of what they call ‘tango punk’ are dramatic, energetic and filled with a mean humour.

 

photo by N'Krumah Lawson Daku

Elida Almeida (Cabo Verde)

Singer Almeida’s use of coladera, batuque, funaná and tabanka – four of Cabo Verde’s iconic musical styles – touched with a Latin flavour and an ear to pop has bolstered her reputation as the rising young star of the African Atlantic archipelago.

 

photo by Vincent Arbelet

Faraj Suleiman (Palestine)

Palestinian pianist Suleiman has worked with all sorts of ensembles from quartets to orchestras, but at WOMEX he presents an intense and intimate solo show, reworking Arabic classical music for his instrument using the idioms of jazz, maqam, and contemporary Western art music.

 

photo by Carly Zavala

Flor de Toloache (USA)

The Grammy-winning progressive mariachi youngbloods from New York City approach their beloved Mexican style with soul and commitment, and introduce sounds from other Latin and American roots in their personal vibrant vision of new mariachi tradition.

 

photo by Alex Bonney

Fofoulah (Gambia/Senegal/UK)

Founded by jazz drummer Dave Smith after a lengthy period studying the rhythms of the Senegambian sabar drums, London-based Fofoulah take West African music through the worlds of jazz, electronica and dub with contributions from Gambian drummer Kaw Secka and Senegalese singer Batch Gueye at the core of their sound.

 

photo by Jaka Vinsek

Itamar Borochov (Israel/USA)

Dynamite stylist trumpeter Itamar Borochov’s star ensemble of trumpet, piano, double bass and drums looks like a classic jazz quartet offer, but his music is anything but standard. His quarter-tone trumpet gives him access to completely different soundworlds, adding Sephardic and Middle Eastern feeling and the vocabulary of the modal world of maqam.

 

photo by Amir Rasamehr

Khonyagaran (Iran)

Performing music and songs based on the poetry of Hafiz, Saadi and Rumi, this 13-piece orchestra is comprised of some of the most promising young female musicians from Iran, using Persian folk and art instruments to evoke a rich traditional ensemble with a dynamic contemporary presence.

 

photo by Ankur Malhotra

Lakha Khan (India)

Playing the traditional music of famous Manganiyar musician community from Rajasthan, Lakha Khan is one of the last Manganiyar masters of the Sindhi sarangi fiddle, which is nowadays more closely associated with the Langa community. At WOMEX, he will be accompanied by his son Dane Khan on the dholak drum.

 

photo by Laetitia Gessler

Lalala Napoli (France/Italy)

Helmed by François Castiello, the accordionist of legendary French music band Bratsch, this group present a gritty power-trance view of the southern Italian city of Naples through its distinctive style of tarantella music.

 

photo by Maya Ben

Lemma (Algeria)

This percussion-heavy all-female nine-piece blend music of several cultures from the deserts in south of Algeria, including the Berber, Bedouin and Diwan peoples. The result presents a blurring of the boundaries of the sacred and profane and expected gender roles, all within a deep, trance-inducing style.

 

photo by Flavien Prioreau

Los Wembler's De Iquitos (Peru)

Founded by the five Sanchez brothers in the 1960s, Los Wembler’s were one of the pioneering bands of chicha music, a uniquely Peruvian style amplifying Colombian cumbia with electricity and the music of the indigenous Andean peoples, even writing the most famous chicha piece, ‘Sonido Amazonico’.

 

photo by Penelopi Gerasimou

Marina Satti (Greece/Sudan)

Cretan by birth, Greek-Sudanese by heritage and with a musical background in jazz, Satti takes polyphonic Greek singing traditions into surprising territories with electro-pop and international influences.

 

photo by Cdemaison

Maya Kamaty (La Réunion)

Kamaty updates the music of La Réunion - the maloya - with a cool combination of artful electronica, smooth R’n’B and dark rock vibes while staying true to the maloya’s history of resistance in her uncompromising lyrics.

 

photo by Kevin Peterson

Mission Songs Project (Australia)

Three leading vocalists bring an important heritage statement in song. This project recovers the secular songs written and sung by indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islanders in Christian missions and state-run settlements and camps. These songs of history, uplift and life - in indigenous languages as well as English- give a glimpse into an important and often forgotten period of cultural repression.

 

Monsieur Doumani (Cyprus)

Representing the under-heard sounds of Cyprus, Monsieur Doumani join the dynamic dots between the island’s cultures and those of Greece, Turkey and the Balkans (as well as touches of blues), and all while making much more noise than an acoustic trio has any right to do.

 

photo by Lee Wongeol

NST & The Soul Sauce meets Kim Yulhee (South Korea)

This is what happens when intercontinental roots touch. Korea’s premier dub reggae band team up with an award-winning pansori singer: Kim Yulhee’s epic Korean sung storytelling tradition sitting easily alongside NST’s Afrobeat, funk and soul elements.

 

photo by Ana Filipa Flores

Omiri (Portugal)

The solo project of Vasco Ribeiro Casais is more akin to a multimedia artwork, exploring Portuguese folk traditions with live looped instruments, sampled electronic beats, remixed field recordings and chopped-up video projections, accompanied by live folk dancers.

 

photo by Carlos Topo Maseda

Roosevelt Collier (USA)

Having reached international ears with Caribbean jazz collective Bokanté and as part of Snarky Puppy’s GroundUP musical family, Roosevelt Collier is making waves as possibly the funkiest pedal and lap steel guitarist on the planet, filling his 21st century rhythm and blues with wailing sacred-steel solos and a heavy gospel edge.

 

photo by Maurice Guerard

Ryan Young & Jenn Butterworth (UK)

The young duo of Ryan Young (fiddle) and Jenn Butterworth (guitar) breathe new life into forgotten tunes from the deep Scottish fiddle repertoire with an interplay that is a masterclass of subtlety and poignancy.

 

Santrofi (Ghana)

Led by bassist Emmanuel Ofori, this youthful ensemble brings back the old-school sounds of Ghanaian highlife, enjoying influences from the greats such as E.T. Mensah to Pat Thomas and Ebo Taylor. This is bright, uplifting music, old-school raised but hitting now– and don’t miss out on the super-tight choreography.

 

photo by Sarah Segal

Surel, Segal & Gubistch (France/Argentina)

Chamber music of the cool: this trio of guitar, violin and cello start from a Western classical frame of reference and take a virtuoso journey into tango, jazz, and far beyond with dazzling and intuitive empathy.

 

photo by Noam Chojnowsky

Yossi Fine & Ben Aylon (Israel)

Grammy nominated producer and instrumentalist, Yossi Fine and border-breaking drummer and percussionist Ben Aylon, feat. Sharon Mansur on keys together create hypnotic Middle Eastern trance, influenced by the cultural diversity of their region.

 

Club Summit

 

Cairo Concepts: Alaa 50, Belya Karnak, 3Phaz & Phil Battiekh (Egypt/Switzerland)

Mahraganat music enters a new phase: the Egyptian bass music embraces the sounds of the city streets and the international club scene. Cairo Concepts is a unique collaboration between four of the frontrunners in this burgeoning musical scene, including singers, producers and visual artists.

 

photo by Marcia BG

Dat Garcia (Argentina)

Starting her musical life as a folk musician, Dat Garcia dived deep into electronic music over the past five years to become a leading light in Argentina’s folktronica scene. Providing live vocals and charango alongside her digital wizardry, she makes sure that the voices of women are heard in a male-dominated genre.

 

photo by Tommaso Cassinis

Lorenzo BITW (Italy)

Lorenzo BITW’s music is the perfect soundtrack to early-hours club dancefloors. Calling his music ‘genre ambivalent’ and ‘rhythmically adventurous,’ this Rome-based producer brings in a huge bundle of electronic music styles into a mix overflowing with tropical coolth.

 

Otim Alpha (Uganda)

The collaboration between Acholi musician Otim Alpha and producer Leo P-layeng sees traditional Ugandan adungu harps combined with Ableton and APC40. The music is fast and tumbling but unrelentingly fun – if you’re not in a good mood at the end of this set, you may want to see a doctor.

 

photo by Jackson D.

ZJ Sparks (Jamaica)

ZJ Sparks is not only one of Jamaica’s top DJ's, she’s also one of the hardest working people out there: as well as her mixes of any and all of Jamaica’s hottest musical styles, she works as a producer, runs a record label, provides voice acting, hosts radio shows and creates designer apparel.

 

Opening Artists

 

photo by Pekka Sinikoski

Pauanne (Finland)

Pagan spirits still slumber in the depths of the Finnish forests, and Pauanne have set out to awaken them. The trio's archive researches have unearthed a wealth of songs from the long-lost, non-Christian tradition of Finnish folk music; stories of spells and curses, the dreams of a shepherd, 17th century witch hunts, and magical iron fences that repel invaders. Violinist Kukka Lehto and Tero Pennanenn on Hammond organ and other keyboards, collect, arrange and further compose the repertoire while percussionist Janne Haavisto provides the rhythmic enhancement. Pauanne are fascinated by the “outrageous beliefs” of the past and its endemic prejudices, paranoia, fear of foreigners and persecution of women. In their songs and videos they show that these traits are still very much alive, just dressed in modern clothes.

 

photo by Studio 1851

Pekko Käppi (Finland)

The dark, richly harmonic, sublimely guttural sounds of the jouhikko – the Finnish bowed lyre – have been fuelling dance, story-telling, and trance-like states across the Baltic region expanses for centuries. Ethnomusicologist, runo-song researcher, member of the groundbreaking revivalists Jouhiorkesteri and album-award-winning solo artist, Pekko Käppi now sets out to channel the spiritual energy of that legacy to connect modern urban displacement to the misplaced world of sentient nature. Pekko soars through extemporisations on the limitless minimalist possibilities of the electrified jouhikko, growling and crying through imposing swamp-blues grooves, hard-rock riffs, anthemic chants, polyryhthmic psychedelic incantations and shamanastic interventions. Bones and drones of the past reanimated in a shiny shroud of futuristic folklorica.

 

photo by Inka Hannula

Suistamon Sähkö (Finland)

Scratchy archive tapes, a toy accordion and a hydroelectric power station: just some of the aural and thematic ingredients of Suistamon Sähkö’s potent and energy laden 'folktronica'. A call to arms and a call to the dancefloor, their politically activated mix of rap poetry and Karelian roots is informed by the extensive research of accordionist, composer and lyricist, Anne-Mari Kivimäki, into the culture and turbulent history of the Russian, once Finnish, region of eastern Karelia. Migrants' stories are carried along on trance-inducing rhythms squeezed out of her button accordion as multi-tasking Sväng harmonicat and ubiquitous collaborator, Eero Grundström, tweaks the beats and the dance-inducing electronics. Volatile vocals and incessant animation are provided by Reeta-Kaisa Iles and Tuomas Juntunen. A committed quartet whose intriguing stories of the past resonate with contemporary relevance, both lyrically and musically.

 

photo by Joanna Suomalainen and Jimmy Traskelin

Vildá (Finland)

Arctic fells, frosty winds, wide waters and deep forests; the elemental inspirations behind the music of Vildá, the duo founded on the intuitive communication between accordionist Viivi Maria Saarenkylä and vocalist Hildá Länsman. It's an original collaboration, blending Sámi yoiks with rhythmic accordian dexterity. Hildá Länsman grew up in Utsjoki in Finland's far north. Her father was a reindeer herder and her mother is renowned singer and Sámi culture activist, Ulla Pirttijärvi. Viivi Maria Saarenkylä was born in eastern Finland and draws influences from jazz, tango and Finnish folk music. In 2014 she took first prize at the annual accordion festival in Castelfidardo, Italy, and was declared Finland's Accordionist of the Year in 2018. Together as Vildá, they released their debut album this year and have already performed in Spain, Sweden, Bulgaria, France, Chile and Canada.

 

Regional Stage: Northern Connections

 

Cätlin Mägi (Estonia)

Cätlin Mägi gets as close to being an orchestra as any one person could hope. Playing 50 (yes, fifty!) Jew’s harps and singing, Mägi uses live looping and a whole menagerie of electronic manipulation to imagine what Estonian folk music might have sounded like had it developed on another planet.

 

photo by Marie Louise Somby

Elle Marja (Norway)

From the high Arctic of Norway, Marja uses her music to explore her roots as a reindeer herder in an uncompromising 21st century way. Using yoik singing, percussion and electronics, her spacious work evokes ice and rock, woods and skies, re-evaluating traditional Sámi life in a modern era.

 

photo by Olof Grind

Emilia Amper (Sweden)

When a musician has won as many awards and recognitions all across the world as Emilia Amper, you know they’re at the very top of their field. Amper’s nyckelharpa playing is second-to-none; her innovative compositions for string and percussion ensemble radiate high art and bright sensibility true to the folk ésprit.

 

photo by Jaana Miolanen

Ma Rouf (Iran/Finland)

Taking Marouf Majidi’s Kurdish tar and tambour lutes and vocals as a starting point, this quartet sets off on an extended journey of international jazz with saxophone, fretless bass and percussion, while remaining true to the maqams of the Middle East.

 

photo by Tobias Wilner

Mames Babegenush (Denmark)

Sometimes raucous and sometimes contemplative, always of one mind, the six-piece Mames Babegenush make klezmer and Balkan brass with a distinctive Scandinavian stamp and just a hint of manouche jazz to top things off.

 

photo by Ruudu Rahumaru

Mari Kalkun (Estonia)

Mari Kalkun is a key revitalizer of the unique folk lyrics and culture of the densely forested Võrumaa region of south-east Estonia. Playing the 12- and 26-string versions of the kannel zither, she writes and and sings in the endangered language of Võro; her musicality is both intimate and intense.

 

photo by Visvaldas Morkevicius

Merope (Lithuania/Belgium)

Kanklės (zither) player and singer Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė leads her pan-European trio through tunes and tales of Lithuanian folklore, twisting and turning through fields of ethereal electronic jazz and Hindustani bansuri flute.

 

photo by Katariina Salmi

Tuuletar (Finland)

Four women, four microphones, no instruments and a world of sound. Tuuletar are as influenced by hip-hop as they are Finnish folk: their music builds rich, complex soundscapes and extended harmonies together with beats and rapid vocals all from the mouths and bodies of these virtuoso singers.

 

photo by Matti berg

Wimme & Rinne (Finland)

Legendary Sámi yoik singer Wimme Saari from Sápmi joins forces with his old friend and reedsman Tapani Rinne from western Finland. Together – and with some electronic help – they create experimental textures that describe the vast landscapes of their home regions.

 

offwomex

 

Digging Roots (Canada)

Led by WOMEX 2018 Award recipient ShoShona Kish and husband Raven Kanatakta, Digging Roots are at the front-line of First Nation empowerment in Canada, bringing indigenous issues into the pop music arena.

 

photo by Larisa Lopez

Eme Alfonso (Cuba)

Furthering the ground-breaking musical ethos of her parents' influential band, Sintesis, Eme Alfonso fuses Afro-Cuban Santeria roots with a range of global sounds in her own highly distinctive and original style.

 

photo by Dave Brosha

Leela Gilday (Canada)

Juno award-winning singer-songwriter Leela Gilday weaves her experiences as a member of the Dene nation and life in the Northwest Territories into her inspired mix of traditional rhythms and soulful blues-rock.

 

photo by Christine Berthiaume

Les Grands Hurleurs (Canada)

Quebecois power-trio Les Grands Hurleurs celebrate ten years of solidly roots-based expansionism, taking traditional music off the well-beaten track and expertly connecting it with multiple influences from jazz to electronica.

 

Oyme (Russia)

Mordovian vocal group championing the wealth of Finno-Ugric and Dagestani polyphonic singing styles through interactive workshops, field-trip expeditions and a dynamic stage-show reconstructing ancient rituals with electronics and compelling grooves.

 

Romano Drom (Hungary)

Celebrating 20 years of renewing the Hungarian Vlachs traditions through continuous exploration, mixing Catalan rumba, flamenco, Balkan sounds and Arabic modes with the roots of the Central European Gypsy trails.

 

photo by Janis Romanovskis

Saucējas (Latvia)

Ancient polyphonic singing traditions brought vividly to life by the female singing group of the Latvian Academy of Culture in a wide repertoire gleaned from archival recordings and surviving custodians of the art.

 

TOPA-K: Korrontzi & DJ Makala (Spain)

TOPA-K is the meeting of Basque folk group Korrontzi and DJ/producer/musician, DJ Makala, engendering a deep-rooted contemporary sound from the perspective of traditional instruments such as the txalaparta and alboka.

 

photo by Pepe Añón

Zagala (Spain)

Zagala explore the varied rhythms, songs and dances of the Iberian Peninsula in their own distinctive style, with inspired singing driven by an arsenal of traditional percussion instruments, mandola, guitar and violin.