MEDIMEX (Mediterranean Music Expo) took place November 29 through December 2 of 2012 in Bari, Italy. It is fundamentally the only Italian music trade show dedicated to independent pop-rock and folk music. It includes concerts, conferences, showcases and a trade fair. MEDIMEX becomes a point of encounter for record labels, festivals, booking agencies, cultural institutions, and even musical instrument manufacturers.
The event is organized by the region of Puglia in Italy, a country that is going through a great cultural and artistic period, thanks in great part to the cultural sensibility demonstrated by its elected leaders in recent years.
This territory located in the south of the great Italian peninsula is also known as the “heel of Italy’s boot.” Bari is the region’s historic capital, with 320.000 inhabitants.
The “Fiera de Levante”, a space located in the port area of the city, was the venue hosting the majority of the events. On Thursday evening, November 29th, the event had its opening ceremony at the grand Teatro Petruzzelli. It was none other than a tribute concert for the late singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno, a popular artist from the 1950s and 60s, a native of this region of Puglia, who died of a heart attack in 1994, at age 66.
With a full theater, and under the title “Meraviglioso Modugno”, the leading artists from the Italian music scene got on stage to perform Modugno’s most significant songs. The artists included Ginevra di Marco, the band Raiz & Radicanto, vocalist Dente, the group Negramaro, and singer Mama Marjas.
Of all the 23 concerts scheduled, I’ll list the highlights. To begin with, I was impressed with quality of the female “a capella” act called Faraualla that features four excellent vocalists from the Puglia region.
Another high point was Stefano Saletti & Piccola Banda Ikona, from the Lazio region, who performed outstanding songs from their popular album “Folkpolitik”.
Of all the international artists invited, Slovenian vocalist Magnifico stood out with his spectacular and provocative stage show. And also Moroccan Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa, with his hypnotic beats.
Lastly, in the pop-rock are, I was pleasantly surprised by the theatrical pop-rock of Roman band Management del Dolore Post – Operatorio, with the electrifying personality of its singer Luca Romagnoli.
I can’t leave out other memorable concerts. First, the effective Neapolitan saxophonist Enzo Avitabile & Bottari; the local urban music project Insintesi, who delighted us with their “ethno-dub salentino” together with three popular singers of which Anna Cinzia Villani stood out. Also the folk rock band Kalàscima, from Lecce; and the orchestral ensemble from the Bari area, Municipale Balcanica.
MEDIMEX is one of those congresses that leaves an imprint for various reasons. Possibly, it is an encounter that transmits the enthusiasm, pride and dynamism of all the people involved in planning the event the organization, starting with the President of the Region of Puglia, Mr. Nichi Vendola, a great example of management and passion for the cultural policy of his region and Italy in general. Now we can understand the thrust of this vibrant southern music that is present in specialized European radio and the most important world music festivals in the planet.
To summarize, if the creation of this music market in southern Italy has the purpose of activating the new Italian independent pop-rock and folk music, it is definitely achieving it.
More about MEDIMEX at pugliasounds.it/medimex/en/
Author: Albert Reguant
Albert Reguant is a Catalan journalist, born in Barcelona. He is a member of the workshops of folk music and world music of the European Broadcasting Union (UER/EBU) as well as well as a member of the “World Music Charts Europe”. He has a radio show called Les Rutes del So at Ona Sants Montjuïc de Barcelona.