Fresh energy from WOMEX

I’m just back from WOMEX, still in Sevilla this year. It’s very hard work, trade fair by day and showcases by night: and got there straight from a different conference, eChallenges in The Hague, so I was missing sleep before I even started. But it was good fun, I could feel a lot of energy. I’ve met a lot of friends: Drew, Steve, Ian, obviously, but also many others, from Gudrun Holck to Shooglenifty, from Yatrika (from Skirball in Los Angeles) to Andrés and José Luìs from Ollinkan in Mexico City, from Roddy Campbell of Canadian magazine Penguin Eggs to the Grand Old Man Christoph Borkowsky from Piranha. To my great surprise, Globalquerque patron Tom Frouge put a contract in front of me: he is working in connection with the New Mexico Film Commission to sync various movies, and he wants FF on his roster because we are “very unique” (which, when I think about it, is probably true :)). And many Italian friends, Paolo Sgevano (who’ll read this post the next time he googles himself, ciao Paolo!), Giovanni Callea, the Tuscans from Suoni e Armonie, “spiderman” Alessandro from Nidi d’Arac wih spiderwife and spiderbaby (cute!), Valerio Corzani and even Paolone Ferrari, who I had not seen in ages!

But the best was the music. Because of the damn The Hague conference I missed Balkan Beat Box – this year’s true sensation – and Tanya Tagaq (must be destiny: we did a festival together in Canada, and our performances were always overlapping). But I made up for it: Seun Kuti (Fela’s youngest son, thoroughbred Nigerian afrobeat), Mayra Andrade (we met her in Mexico, but her voice got thicker and more mature since. She’s always beautiful!), Alamaailman Vasarat (reminescent of Leningrad Cowboys, and just like them Finns), the fun (if a touch kitsch) electro-gypsies Caravan Palace, 3Canal (nice clothes, but I’ve heard ska-reggae before, thank you very much. This is the one band I did not like), and male singers from Marseille Lo Cor de la Plana. So nice! I had not realized how much I missed hearing beautiful nice music, music unlike the usual stuff that you hear on the radio or TV, sang in Occitan, Nigerian pidgin, Portugues, with a wide array of instruments and vocal styles. Two-guitars-bass-drums-sang-in-English-because-it’s-the-language-of-rock is great, but let’s face it, I’m like – next! Come and hear, then you tell me whether or not 99% of your indie rock-post rock bands are going to sound cold and formulaic in comparison.

Ending up with a light note, with Fiamma Fumana girls not being there the Miss WOMEX throne was vacant. My vote goes to an Italian, Greta Meda of Promo Music: they have the best-looking booth, because her colleague Marcello Corvino, too, usually gets noticed by the ladies.

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