Essen, Germany – With the ceremonial granting of the WOMEX Award
2004 to Marc Hollander and Crammed Discs for 25 years of visionary grass roots
work on the blooming plant of world music, the world’s biggest expo for world
music and global sounds has come to an end at Zeche Zollverein / Essen, on
Sunday, October 31st, 2004.”Home game with many guests“ was the felicitous headline of the newspaper Neue
Ruhr Zeitung NRZ regarding the producer WOMEX (Berlin) and its international
visitors: Since Wednesday, 2000 international professionals, 450 musicians and
approximately 3000 regional music lovers had united for the leading
international networking salon of global music on the grounds of UNESCO World
Heritage Site Zeche Zollverein. Professionals as well as visitors were very
pleased with both the fair and concert venues alike. The opening gala with
Via Kabul. Music and Voices of Central Asia at Lichtburg Filmpalast in
downtown Essen, had just set the pace – WOMEX kept it through the entire event.
During daytime, the WOMEX professionals – among them more than 250 journalists –
met with 300 exhibitors on 200 trade fair stands. The decision makers of labels,
concert promoters, agents, cultural institutions, the media and other sectors
gathered from over 90 countries to spread the sound tracks of
anti/globalization. During the five days of the fair, they visited 52 concerts
on 6 stages, discussed 25 conference topics with 35 speakers, used the third IMZ
World Music Film Screenings to preview 11 videos and initiated their business
for the coming season on the way.
Apart from the registered professionals, hundreds of music friends from the
region took advantage of the public concerts on the three main trade fair days
from Thursday to Sunday – 42 showcase acts, the top tips and coming shooting
stars of the world music scene, 14 per night at the daily price of 14 Euros
(advance) / 16 Euros (doors). Stylistically, the WOMEX 2004 showcases reached
from Andean folklore in chamber music arrangements (Familia Pillco) to the
tribal singings of the Brazilian Northeast (Renata Rosa) and Brazil/funk
crossover projects like Think of One presents Chuva Em Pó (Belgium/Brazil) or
BNegão & Os Seletores de Frequência (Brazil) to the eccentric jazz vocal
acrobatics of Erika Stucky from Switzerland.
Following the renewed invitation of Projekt Ruhr and the Office of Cultural
Affairs of the city of Essen, WOMEX again broadened its capacities. In
comparison to WOMEX 2002 in Essen, the number of registered exhibitors and
delegates again increased by 10 %, including the income for the region: The
amount spent by producer WOMEX and the international professionals sums up to at
least 1.2 million Euros, tending upwards according to the growth rates.
WOMEX 2005 will take place from 26 – 30 October in the new spectacular music
centre The Sage Gateshead / Newcastle Gateshead, UK, built by star architect
Negotiations for a perpetual WOMEX comeback to Essen in the years to come have
WOMEX 2004 was a production of WOMEX – the world music expo in cooperation with
Projekt Ruhr GmbH, Stadt Essen, Kulturbüro Essen, Entwicklungsgesellschaft
Zollverein (EGZ), Stiftung Zollverein, Landesentwicklungsgesellschaft NRW (LEG),
Essen Marketing GmbH (EMG) and WDR Funkhaus Europa.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.