OPENING NIGHT OF WOMEX 2008
Once again, for the third and last year, the Andalusian capital, Seville, plays host to the biggest World Music trade fair around – WOMEX.
As the two main halls of the city’s Palacio de Congresos FIBES filled up with more company stands than ever before, and delegates from all four corners of the world sorted out their passes and found old friends and partners in this global family, there was definitely a pending question, a concern, an urgency inextricably linked to the current worldwide economic situation and the challenges facing the music industry within the wider context.
As WOMEX’s General Director Gerald Seligman writes in his introduction and welcome: “People get ready, there’s a train a’coming…” and this year’s conferences will principally be focused on the notion of strategies, positive and pro-active.
But WOMEX is not just about business deals and contacts, it is primarily about wonderful music. And this year’s edition’s opening ceremony and concerts were splendid examples of just how wonderful music can be.
Seville’s sumptuous Teatro Lope de Vega (named after the Spanish Baroque playwright and poet), this year decked out in multicoloured lights, set the stage for the welcoming speeches followed by the first concerts. Andalusia oblige, delegates were in for a flamenco treat, first with Ultra Flamenco, a musical project created by five renowned flamenco artists high on rhythm and energy.
The evening’s highlight was indubitably Miguel Poveda and his group. The young cantaor, such a familiar face and voice to World Music professionals and aficiondos alike, was on superb form. The theatre filled with an intense emotion as his powerful voice took the audience’s breath away. The wonderful complicity between him and his musicians, the fiery passion of the accompanying dancer and the unexpected duo between Miguel, singing without a microphone, and the baile roused the enthralled delegates to their feet in a standing ovation. Que arte !
Next Los Rumbers, a duo of DJs from Spain, took to the decks in the theatre’s bar laying down fat grooves and World fusion impossible to resist. Also accompanied by a colourful dancer, this was the perfect way to end the first night in Seville.