Marc van der Aa/Courtesy of the artists
Each fall, musicians, artist managers, live performance presenters and document labels from everywhere in the world collect someplace in Europe for a convention and pageant referred to as WOMEX. This yr’s occasion came about in Lisbon, Portugal — and listed below are some prime picks for up-and-coming artists who carried out showcases at WOMEX 2022.
The very first thing to find out about WOMEX (a.ok.a. the Worldwide Music Expo) is that though the organizers do promote some tickets to the general public, it is primarily aimed toward music business professionals as a spot to search out new expertise — and it is basically a launching floor for international artists. It is also an particularly vital useful resource for the individuals who e-book music festivals and efficiency venues throughout the USA. For instance, the Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha went from WOMEX to reserving a Tiny Desk live performance and frequent excursions throughout the U.S.
Son Rompe Pera
One of many bands to make a stir at WOMEX 2022 was Son Rompe Pera, a band from Mexico Metropolis. They’re already slated to play New York’s globalFEST at Lincoln Middle in January and to seem at SXSW in March.
Son Rompe Pera was based by a set of three brothers, the Gamas, who wished to maintain their household custom of marimba alive. As children, they performed alongside their dad at native occasions. However in addition they performed in punk bands as youngsters. On the group’s dwell reveals, you see and listen to each of these sides: their
sound is basically polished cumbia, however their look and power could be very punk-metal — numerous tattoos and hipster haircuts and leaping round on stage. The WOMEX crowd went wild for them.
Rina Das Baul
That is an instance of a band bringing trendy power to outdated music. However there’s at all times one thing for everybody at WOMEX. Attendees got here from 116 nations, with greater than 60 musical showcases on faucet. Which means there’s at all times one thing for everybody — from very up to date performers to musicians who’re devoted to creating certain that custom is noticed. One of many latter is an excellent singer from India named Rina Das Baul.
Rina Das Baul is a conventional vocalist who comes from a small village within the Indian state of West Bengal. She is a part of a religious group, the Bauls, whose adherents are wandering mystics who sing praises to God. She sings accompanying herself on a one-stringed instrument and a drum connected to her hip — and her voice is pure and stuffed with sunshine.
Al Bilali Soudan
One other standout was a band from Mali referred to as Al Bilali Soudan. Plenty of individuals have gotten to know and love Tuareg music of the Sahara — the so-called “desert blues” — due to artists just like the band Tinariwen and the guitarist and singer Bombino, amongst others. You may hear an analogous model from Al Bilali Soudan, which shares its moniker with an historic identify for the town of Timbuktu.
What’s putting and completely different in Al Bilali Soudan’s music is its percussion, which simply hits like a ton of bricks. It is a rhythm referred to as takamba, pounded out on calabashes like a heartbeat.
The primary time I heard takamba was in Mali in 2003, which coincidentally additionally marked the primary time I heard Tinariwen dwell — however not one of the different Tuareg teams which have made it massive internationally make takamba so central to their sound as Al Bilali Soudan has. Merely put, it is a model that I am at all times actually completely happy to listen to. Within the weeks simply earlier than WOMEX, Al Bilali Soudan had its first tour of the U.S., however undoubtedly the band’s look in Portugal will widen its worldwide attain.