Friday, November 16, 2007


The WOMEX conference in Seville, Spain is an annual four day convention where world music artists and industry types meet, mix, and network. There are showcases and workshops and booths. For ages, I had heard about WOMEX, so this year I just went for it (see story below) and it was truly amazing.

First off, I met a handful of WOMEX attendees on the plane from London to Seville. Lots of jolly introductions and energy. Once there, we all disappeared into taxis to our respective hotels. I shared a room with Luisa Cottifogli, a brilliant Italian singer who was one of my best friends while studying opera in Italy 23 years ago, and we had a super merry reunion. Her sense of humor was identical to mine, so we literally laughed for four solid days. In between our hysterics, I made about 100 great new contacts, saw scores of brilliant concerts, wandered around Seville (so beautiful!) and wondered if the Spanish knew anything about vegetables? Their diet seems to consist mainly of ham, bread, mayonnaise, wine, potatoes, and meat.

Of the showcases, I loved Balkan Beat Box, the Finnish foursome playing harmonica, and Vieux Farka Toure (again), missed Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 (just too tired), loved the mix of flamenco and qwwaali singing, and Julie Fowlis was lovely. Sitting or standing in the audience, I could see myself up there at the big Pavilion with a huge band including Senegalese dancers and drummers or at the Teatro Lope de Vega with a more intimate show. Just have to figure out HOW!

Made some wonderful contacts and friends at the convention, on the bus TO the convention, at the parties AFTER the convention. Plus, I ended up meeting people from LA who I'd not yet had a chance to know! Very inspiring to see everyone so devoted to world music (a term many of them can't stand, but will use it for now!). Andy Palacio's last concert was excellent and the speeches that both he and his producer delivered were so inspiring, I got very misty eyed. Can't wait to return next year!!



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