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by World Music Network October 31, 2014


WOMEX 2014: Another Vibrant Year

WOMEX celebrated its 20th edition in Santiago de Compostela, Spain last week. The festival continues to be a beacon of the global music scene, consisting of live music showcases, conferences, workshops and a bustling trade fair, where partnerships are formed and emerging talent and projects are nurtured.

WOMEX director Alex Walter said of the event this year:

‘After 20 years, it is heart-warming to see that the community continues to grow and work together in even more innovative ways.’

25 Acts performed at the inaugural WOMEX in Berlin in 1994 whereas the expo in Santiago de Compostela this year featured 60 acts, including 320 artists, with Söndörg? the headine act on Saturday night. The group played their energetic blend of Tamburiza melodies and raucous instrumentation, following the recent release of their album ‘Tamburocket Hungarian Fireworks’ on Riverboat Records, which is currently No.1 in the European World Music charts.

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Highlights of the week included the opening concert, ‘Compostela- The Roots, The Way’ which had a packed out auditorium. The concert showcased the diversity of influences on Galician music, performed by artists from the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary islands.

The DJ Summit, appearing for the third time, was another popular feature and has now cemented its place in the WOMEX programme, with the presence of the Global Club Music Network. It featured a two night festival at Sala Capitol, with Den Sorte Skole of Denmark and Greg De Villanova of France among the 5 DJ line-up bringing their brand of music to the expo.

Click here to see all the artists who featured in the WOMEX 14 showcases.

Artist Award

Mariza at WOMEX 14 (Eric Van Nieuwland)

Mariza was this year’s recipient of the artist award. Previous winners include South African trumpet legend Hugh Masekela in 2011 and influential Cuban dance orchestra Los Van Van in 2013. Mariza, rising from a local favourite of the new-fado movement in Portugal to a celebrated artist of the Global Music scene over the past 13 years, performed athe prestigious awards ceremony on Sunday. 

She was profoundly influenced by Amália Rodrigues, which is most prominently apparent on her most recent album ‘Fado Tradicional’ released in 2010. The album displays a return to the roots of fado, while maintaining her own style. 

Mariza received the award for...

‘…having brought the style to new levels of international recognition and for reaching new artistic heights within the genre.’

Mariza features on both 'The Rough Guide to Fado,' and the 'The Rough Guide to Fado Legends.'

Professional Excellence Award

The Professional Excellence award was presented to Mário Lúcio Sousa. A man of many talents and skills, Mário Lúcio has been Minister for Culture in Cabo Verde since 2011, and received the award for…

‘…his invaluable contributions to the arts and culture of Cabo Verde and the increasing visibility of Cabo Verdean music on the world stage’

Mário Lúcio is also the founder of the Atlantic Music Expo (AME), which shares many of the values of WOMEX. Next year’s 3rd AME is to be held in Cabo Verde’s capital, Praia, from 6th-9th April 2015 and presents itself as a platform for music professionals to meet for transatlantic cultural exchange.

Mário Lúcio released his most recent album ‘Kreol’ in 2010.

Label Award

Glitterbeat Receives the Label Award at WOMEX 14 (Jacob Crawfurd)

Glitterbeat of Germany took the top label award for their releases which were…

‘…culturally committed and resolutely contemporary.’

These releases include Aziza Brahim’s ‘Soutak’, which topped the World Music Charts in Europe for three months from March until May 2014,  and ‘Chatma’ by Tamikrest, who are currently on tour (see World Music Network’s Live Event Listings for details).

WOMEX 2015 will be held in Budapest, Hungary from 21st-15th October.

Enjoyed the photos? You can check out more pictures of WOMEX 2014 taken by Jacob Crawford and Eric Van Nieuwland here

You can also watch a short video about WOMEX below.  

All photos courtesy of Jacob Crawford and Eric Van Nieuwland.