WOMEX: Farewell to Budapest

By Morten Alfred Høirup |

The 21st edition of the great, international, world music expo, Womex, was this year held in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. It is all over now, and the more than 2.500 delegates from a total of 90 countries has returned home with bags, notebooks and computers filled with CDs, business cards and enough agreements to keep them busy for years to come.

Several Danish venues, festivals and last but not least, bands, participated at Womex, amongst them Phønix, Basco, The Sexicans, Vokalensemblet Glas, Himmerland, and the folk big band Habadekuk. But what does Danish bands gain from four intense days at a world music fair like Womex?

The vocal ensemble Glas are new on Womex. They have been working with Bulgarian folk songs at a high level for many years, yet recently they released their first album with traditional and contemporary songs from the Nordic countries. According to singer Tine Reftgaard, the Nordic material has meant a huge shift from being on an uphill struggle to a journey at full speed, and now they find it hard to stop punching the air.

Habadekuk, on the other hand, are Womex veterans and the fair is an obvious investment for them.

– I find that we have had the chance to greet a lot of old friends while reminding them that we are still here, tells Habadekuk’s violinist Kristian Bugge.

– We have also been talking with some new acquaintances whom we have been dying to get in contact with. Furthermore, we have been getting concrete enquiries from Sweden, Canada and England, so now we have something to work with. We have been at Womex nine times, and it seems as if people are starting to know who we are and have heard about us. We tell them that our 10th year anniversary is in 2016, and that we plan to record a new album in March, that is to be released in the summer of 2016. We are also planning to attend Womex next year, because our belief is that we gain so much from participating and besides we will have a new album to talk about next year.

This was the first time Womex was held in an Eastern European country, and next year the world music marketplace will return to Santiago de Compostela, where it was held in 2014. Right now the bids are open for anyone who wishes to host Womex in 2018 – 2020.

At Radiofolk.dk you can follow the Danish delegates for an hour of music and interviews from Womex at: radiofolk.dk/rapportage-radiofolk-dk-i-marken

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