The 16th edition of WOMEX closed today, Sunday, 31 October, after five full days of intense networking and global music. Held in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the second year, WOMEX has proven, once again, to be the leading conference for world music professionals from all over the globe. A total of 2440 delegates from 94 countries attended the event, that began with 200 delegates in Berlin in 1994.
This year’s Trade Fair figures confirm the high importance that WOMEX delegates invariably attach to the exhibition part of WOMEX: 650 companies and organizations from 57 countries presented themselves at 260 stands in the new daytime venue Forum Copenhagen placing WOMEX right in the heart of Denmark’s capital.
WOMEX 2010 presented more acts than ever before – 59 – from 38 countries performed at the WOMEX Showcase Festival featuring five nighttime stages at the spectacular DR Koncerthuset and one Daycase Stage at Forum Copenhagen. In honour of WOMEX’s current home region, one stage was entirely dedicated to artists from the Nordic countries. Each of the three nights at the offWOMEX Stage highlighted a particular country/region: Spain, Québec and Wales.
A special, exclusive event was organized for the WOMEX 10 Opening: Three of the finest bands on the contemporary Korean music scene presented “The Chaosmos of Korean Music: Heaven, Earth and Human” revealing innovative renditions of traditional Korean music. The project was supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Korea; Korea Arts Management Service; and the Embassy of South Korea in Denmark.
Corresponding to the broad range of music industry branches represented at WOMEX, the Conference covered four major topics focusing on the value of the “experience”: More than 60 speakers from 21 countries shared their professional know-how with WOMEX delegates in 20 Conference Sessions centering the The Live, The Recorded, and The Digital Experience, as well as the “Vision Beyond”. Along with a special session on sub-publishing, the new curated Matchmaking service for (sub-)publishers, supported by the UK and German music publisher associations MPA and DMV, enjoyed considerable popularity among the music rights’ dealers at WOMEX.
The second newly introduced – and also fully booked – format at this year’s Conference was Country Speed-Dating offering the opportunity to meet festival promoters, agents, managers, labels etc. from Brazil and Canada. Delegates looking for individual advice were served by the Mentoring Sessions: private 15-minute consultations with any of seven industry experts from various fields and occupations.
WOMEX also featured an international platform for world music in audio-visual media: 14 Film Screenings, mainly music documentaries, and a dedicated Conference Session were programmed by WOMEX’s long-term partner IMZ International Music + Media Centre, Austria.
Numerous world music networks from all around the globe held meetings at WOMEX: European Broadcasting Union’s World Music Workshop; ACP Music Festivals; European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals; Global Music Education; Nordic World and Roots Music; North American; Asia Pacific; and African Music Export Office network members all gathered in Copenhagen to discuss current issues.
Four Awards were presented at the Award Ceremony on Sunday marking the end of a successful WOMEX edition.
The WOMEX 10 Award for Artists went to Danyèl Waro, the uncompromising maloya hero from Réunion Island. Philippe Conrath, whose Cobalt label has released Danyèl Waro’s music for the past years, states: “It is […] with emotion that Danyèl Waro receives this award as a form of reward for a course without compromise, the path of an artist tirelessly committed to the celebration of a superb language, the Creole that sings the words so well.”
fRoots Chief Editor Ian Anderson, UK, received the WOMEX 10 Award for Professional Excellence on behalf of the independent press. WOMEX Founding Director Ben Mandelson notes: “Since 1999 we have given the WOMEX Award to extraordinary artists and professionals from its community deserving of special praise but we have never ever awarded the media. And yet the independent media play such a crucial role for our kind of music business, part of us, supporting us and providing a vital forum for topics that otherwise would fall through the grid or answer only to big-media-corp interests.
With the Internet bringing change to all traditional business models, offering the media world its own urgent challenges, now, more than ever is the time to show our support for an independent media.”
The winner of the WOMEX 10 Top Label Award, a joint project of World Music Charts Europe and WOMEX, is world village / harmonia mundi with branches in France, USA, UK and Spain. The selection was made using the charts of 50 radio broadcasters from 24 countries collected over 12 months.
For the second year, WOMEX hosted the presentation of the Roskilde Festival World Music Award honouring the Dhow Countries Music Academy, Tanzania. The project receives the Award for its work on maintaining and developing the musical traditions in an area where cultural development is relegated to the background in many cases because of more basic challenges. “It’s often with good intentions that cultural projects are launched in third world countries. But it’s harder running the projects over a longer period so that they can make that difference that was the aim to begin with.
The Dhow Countries Music Academy draws attention not only because of its purpose and level of ambition. It’s also a professionally working organization that has proven its worth and managed to make a difference in its area,” says Peter Hvalkof, booker of world music at Roskilde Festival, about the background for the choice of the Award winner. The prize included 30,000 euro.
WOMEX has a three-year partnership with World Music Fair Copenhagen, an organization created by several key cultural players from Denmark to host WOMEX in Copenhagen from 2009-2011: First and foremost Roskilde Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival and Wonderful Copenhagen. The other principal members comprise the Danish Center for Culture and Development (CKU/DCCD), Global Copenhagen and World Music Denmark in cooperation with Welcome Meeting Management. WOMEX 10 was supported by the City of Copenhagen, the Capital Region of Denmark, Oticon, the Danish Arts Council and Wonderful Copenhagen.
The next edition of WOMEX will be held in Copenhagen from Wednesday, 26 to Sunday, 30 October 2011.