WOMEX attracts almost 2700 music professionals of various genres from 92 countries and hosts a conference on current trends in the music industry, a fair with stands from various countries, presents new projects, hosts meetings and a film programme. The competition to showcase music at the festival is fierce, and the selection process is run by the annually changing “Seven Samurais”, who take on only the most prospective and interesting acts.
Lithuania will be represented by singer Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė – part of the international group Merope – playing the traditional Lithuanian instrument kanklės. The group’s compositions present a unique take on Lithuanian folk music, incorporating motives from traditional Indian and Mediterranean music, jazz and even elements of electronic and improvisational music. This will be the first time a Lithuanian act has been presented at WOMEX. Interestingly, in all four concerts presented by the Baltic states, the vocal parts will be sung by women only.
Events such as WOMEX provide an invaluable opportunity for introductions between delegates, who exchange information about cultural happenings in their own countries, form new contacts and ideas for collaboration. This year’s Baltic pavilion will be situated together with that of the joint Northern countries’, this way providing an overview of the music of the Baltic sea region. Music agents organising tours view this as one region, so closely situating the Baltic and Northern countries’ stands also serves a practical purpose.
We hope that the Baltic pavilion will greaten the visibility of the Baltic countries in the context of world music, provide a platform for new collaborations and strengthen ties between the three countries. If all goes well, we hope the collaboration can become a tradition and be used in other industry events. The stand will be organised by Music Information Centre Lithuania, Music Estonia, and the Latvian Music Information Centre. We would like to express our gratitude to Music Finland and Piranha Arts for their collaboration and support, as well as thanks to our regular sponsors the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Lithuanian Ministry of Culture.