WOMEX (World Music Expo) is celebrating its 20th anniversary with its 2014 event which takes place from 22nd to 26th October in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. Acknowledged as the most international hub of all music meetings worldwide, the trade fair brings together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music and there is a full programme of concerts, conferences and films. This year’s WOMEX will include a stand introducing music from Okinawa and there will be a live performance by the duo Sakishima Meeting (Yukito Ara and Isamu Shimoji).
There will also be a new compilation of music from Okinawa which is being distributed on a CD produced especially for the event. Earlier this summer I was asked to act as one of the judges to decide which artists and tracks should be included on this Music from Okinawa 2014 CD. In order to showcase a very wide range of music being produced on these islands, the organisers asked for submissions of new music for possible inclusion and more than 40 groups and artists responded.
I have therefore spent much of the past few weeks listening to lots of music in an attempt to make some near impossible choices and have been reminded of the enormous variety of sounds which are being produced around the Ryukyu Islands. The submissions ranged from classical Ryukyu court music to jazz, hardcore, electronica, salsa, island reggae and hip-hop as well as the familiar Okinawan minyo and shimauta.
The CD jacket features a bingata design by Makoto Otoguro
The final decision has now been made and the 16 tracks chosen for inclusion on the CD are by the following artists:
Oomari, Sakishima Meeting, Kazutoshi Matsuda, Hirara, Ryukyu Koten Jyoshi Gakudan Uminai, Kachimba 4, Tatsumi Chibana, Maltese Rock, Nee-Nee, Noboro Sakurazaka, Piratsu Quartet, EPO, Ryukyu Chimdon Gakudan, Jun, Yusuke Maehana, Chihiro Kamiya.
Sakishima Meeting will also be in concert next week at the Sakurazaka Theatre in Naha. The concert is on Tuesday (23rd) which is a public holiday and it begins at 16:00.