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Wales Secures WOMEX Opening Concert

Wales Secures WOMEX Opening Concert

Cerys Matthews announced as Artistic Director for spectacular celebration of Welsh culture and music.

When leading international world music industry delegates arrive in Cardiff this October, they’ll be welcomed to Wales by Cerys Matthews and a host of our leading musicians. The opening concert of WOMEX, the international world music expo, will this year be dedicated to the music of Wales and made in Wales. It will be a celebration of the Nations’ unique culture and music, presented at Wales Millennium Centre’s Donald Gordon Theatre. Each year, the honour of presenting the WOMEX opening concert is a hard fought contest, but Cerdd Cymru and Cerys Matthews’ proposals won through. With some 1,500 international world music agents, producers and festival organisers set to attend, this performance will put Wales’s music firmly on the world map. The good news is that some 400 tickets for the event go on public sale today.

Speaking about plans for the performance, Cerys Matthews who will both perform in the concert and be its Artistic Director said: "Today is the birthday of Lady Llanofer, who did more than anyone of her age to keep alive Welsh folk culture. It’s a fitting tribute to announce this concert, a performance that will take Wales’s culture and music further, putting it firmly on a world map.

It will be a journey through the ancestral DNA of our music, the deep traditions forged in myth and melody further back than we can possibly remember. Our music, like our language is an expression of the land and our relationship with it. It expresses who we are as people of this place. It is a chronicle of our beliefs and superstitions and central to our traditions and everyday life, even today.

World music isn’t a new concept here in Wales, it’s just we’ve never really called it that. We’ve been fusing music traditions since at least the Iron Age, when the Celts arrived on these shores. Since then, we’ve traded songs and instruments with Romans, Saxons, Normans, Romany and innumerable cultures who came here to work in our heavy industries during the Industrial revolution.

This is not just about looking back, it is also about looking forward but with a reverence to the roots of music from Wales. I’ve long celebrated these traditions through my own music, writing and broadcasting work, but when the opportunity arose to create a stage performance with the aim of placing Wales in its rightful place among the great traditions of the world, I jumped at the chance."

Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales spearheaded the successful campaign to attract WOMEX to Wales. It is also the organisation coordinating delivery of WOMEX 13, Cardiff. Eluned Haf, Director of Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales said: "The WOMEX opening concert will be a moment when the world will be listening to the music of Wales. In Wales we are known as the land of Song but internationally much of our music heritage is yet to be discovered. This is our moment to ensure a place for Wales' music tradition within the world music family."

Commenting on the announcement, Ben Mandleson, WOMEX Founding Director, said: "We see the Opening Concert at WOMEX as a great opportunity to grab in-depth insight into what may be uncharted musical territory for most of the world, even for our WOMEX delegates! It’s also a chance to dispel a few preconceptions. That’s why we are proud to welcome this WOMEX Opening Concert: it will re-imagine and present a spirited music scene in Wales deeply rooted in its traditions AND looking boldly into the future.’

WOMEX 13 is an opportunity for those interested in world music from across the globe to discover the treasures of Wales’s indigenous musical traditions and the ethnic diversity of the scene today, which has helped to blend the Welsh music tradition with contemporary and world forms. It is also an opportunity for music fans in Wales to explore a world of music. Announcements regarding the line up of artists for the performance on 23 October 2013 will be made in the coming months. 400 public tickets will go on sale via Wales Millennium Centre’s Box Office today (21 March 2013) at a price of £25.00 per ticket. To book, either log onto www.wmc.org.uk or call the box office direct on 029 20636464.

WOMEX 13 Cardiff is hosted by Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales - a partnership between Arts Council of Wales/ Wales Arts International and Welsh Music Foundation. WOMEX 13 Cardiff project directors are Cardiff & Co, Cardiff Council, Motorpoint Arena & Wales Millennium Centre. WOMEX 13 Cardiff is Supported by Welsh Government.


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