World Music Classics and New Sounds at Sfinks

Boechout, Belgium – Sfinks will be held July 29th till August 1st, 2004 in Boechout (Antwerp, Belgium). It is one of the largest world music festivals in Western Europe. The festival will have several stages: central stage is the Concert Stage, in a large tent. The former open air stage
is a thing of the past. The Concert stage features well-known names or future stars who are used to big audiences. For party dance music and emotionally touching concerts, this is the place to be.

The Groove Lounge is for young energy only. Today’s music for today’s people. Subtle mixes of tradition and electronics, hard confrontations between the past and the present. A place to chill, to groove. In this new tent, the world music fan is in the middle of the Global Village of the 21st century.The Circle is an open air stage where listeners can nearly touch the musicians. Like
in any of the world’s market places, the artists are in the center with the audience surrounding them.

The Club Tent is an old stand-by. The connoisseurs’ stage. Intimate, often traditional music, rewarding concentration with moments of emotion. A round circus tent with seats offering you the necessary comfort to appreciate this kind of music.

The Musicians’ Club is where the audience can meet the musicians before or after their concerts. Here they will tell festival attendants about their music, their culture, their lives and will show their special instruments, thus giving a closer look into what inspires them.

The Kidz Stage is the place to be in the Kidz Village. Grown-ups are allowed as well. Short, surprising concerts of mostly young bands, offering a different view on music.

And then there are those musicians who don’t necessarily fit on a stage, the Travellers. They want to walk, to move, to find their own place. They play in the mornings during breakfast and at the end of the day at the campfires.

Festival Program:

Festa do Brasil!

Olodum (Brazil), the most famous Brazilian percussion band from Salvador de Bahia celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Young heroes

Lhasa (Mexico – USA)

After her impressive debut, La Llorona, little has been heard from Lhasa de Sela. For some time she has been touring with a small circus, but her new album exceeds all expectations.

Elbicho (Spain)

The newest flamenco hype from Spain. Pure flamenco, solid rock, rough rap from the streets of Madrid and Alicante. No tourist stuff, but straightforward dynamic and addictive beats.

Ariana Savall (Spain)

As a daughter of the legendary Jordi Savall, Ariana had a lot to prove. Her debut is a fantastic poetic trip along the Mediterranean. Old and new music caught in the softest of sounds.

Kevin Johansen (Argentina)

Globetrotter Kevin Johansen traveled from Alaska to Argentina, to Uruguay and Peru to finally embrace his Argentine roots again. A happy mix of Latin-American and Argentine rhythms.

Living Legends

Mory Kanté (Guinea)

Acoustic-Traditional Show

Mory Kante will probably always be the ‘Yeke-yeke’-man, but with his new show he returns to his very roots. A son of one of the most powerful jelis (griots) in his country, Mory Kante was born in 1950. Acoustic, traditional, full of West-African poetry and with a new band bringing together the best traditional musicians.

Sivan Perwer (Kurdistan)

Sivan Perwer, almost 25 years in exile, is still Kurdistan’s greatest artist ever. More than twenty million cassettes were sold and his concerts are always an occasion for ecstatic scenes.

Culture Musical Club (Zanzibar)

Since 1958 Mila na Utamaduni (Culture Musical Club) has been the most important Taraab orchestra of the island. The ultimate mix of Arabian, African and Asian sounds, a spicy mix from a heavenly island.


Like last year, during the week before the Sfinks festival, individuals can can take courses in didjeridu and capoeira with world-wide reputed teachers.

In 1975, Sfinks started as a small folk festival around the kiosk in the local school park. In 1982 Sfinks history was rewritten: from now on the festival featured a more exotic program. At ‘Sfinks Roots’, bands such as Youssou N’Dour, Sun Ra Orkestra, Gilberto Gil, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,
Khaled, Femi Kuti, Rubén Blades, etc played. In 1992 the festival saw its final edition on the original site that literally overflowed with over 20.000 visitors.

Due to the increasing success of the original formula, in 1994 the festival moved to the ‘Molenveld’ in Boechout. In 1992 the festival turned into a three-day event, and in 1994 a fourth day was added. This led to more stages and a more diverse program. The opening day is mostly an affair for locals and
volunteers, although outside visitors are welcome as well. Artists such as I Muvrini, Manu Dibango, Alpha Blondy, and Goran
have performed at Sfinks.

Because of its idiosyncratic options and wide range of world music discoveries, Sfinks is considered one of the foremost festivals in Belgium. Every year about 40,000 visitors make their way to the festival site. About 1,500 volunteers help organizing it.

Sfinks also coordinates the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals (EFWMF), a unique network of 46 festivals in 18 European countries. These festivals all
exchange ideas and discoveries, and make it possible for bands to come to Europe.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and 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.