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Berlin/Lisbon: Bulgarian Clarinet virtuoso Ivo Papasov will receive the WOMEX 22 Artist Award, and the WOMEX 22 Professional Excellence Award will be received by Francis Gay, COSMO Head of Music – as revealed today by Piranha Arts, the producers of WOMEX – the Worldwide Music Expo. The 28th edition of WOMEX will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 19 to 23 October.

As with every year, the WOMEX Awards celebrate and honour exceptional achievements in global music on the international level; musical excellence, social importance, commercial success, political impact, lifetime achievement – any or all of these might make one a worthy recipient. Since 1999, the impressive list of Award recipients has continued to grow. For the 2022 edition, the WOMEX team is pleased to add two more extraordinary recipients for the Artist and the Professional Excellence Award.

The Artist award recognises the achievements of an individual artist or a musical group. It celebrates those who excel in the mastery of musical craft, embody artistic distinction, dynamism and creativity, use music as a medium of positive change, and offer a unique and committed vision. Earlier Artist Award winners include Calypso Rose (Trinidad & Tobago), Cheikh Lô (Senegal), Mariza (Portugal), The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Pakistan), Kronos Quartet (USA), Kayhan Kalhor (Iran/USA), and Aynur (Turkey), to name a few.

The Professional Excellence award honours exceptional achievements of an individual, group or organisation in music. Musical excellence, cultural significance, advocacy and activism, lifetime achievement and commercial success without compromise are all elements that may determine the Award Recipient. Global Music Match, l’Atelier des Artistes en Exil (France), Julie’s Bicycle (UK), Festival au Désert (Mali) are some of the recipients in the past.


Ivo Papasov will Receive the WOMEX 22 Artist Award

Hailing from the Turkish-speaking Roma population of Bulgaria’s Thrace region, Papasov’s style of wedding music has influence from Turkish, Greek, Balkan and Roma music, as well as jazz and off-kilter rock. His extreme virtuosity and expert command of his instrument quickly secured Papasov and his Trakija Band as the most-wanted wedding entertainers in 1970s Bulgaria.

For his resilience in remaining the epitome of his style through thick and thin; his dedication to the advancement of Thracian and Turkish-Roma music in Bulgaria; and his sheer, passion-filled mastery of the clarinet, Ivo Papasov is the recipient of the WOMEX 22 Artist Award.

As part of the Showcase Concerts, this internationally renowned musician, Ivo Papasov and His Wedding Band will perform a special and memorable set on the last day of the five-day event, Sunday, 23 October 2022, at 125 years old São Luiz Teatro Municipal in Lisbon, Portugal.

Find out more about Ivo Papasov here.


Francis Gay will Recieve the WOMEX 22 Professional Excellence Award

Francis Gay is probably best known for his work in radio, revolutionising Germany’s Cosmo Radio (formerly Funkhaus Europa) as its head of music while hosting his own internationally-renowned shows, Selektor and 5Planeten. He’s also a journalist and writer, a DJ, a promoter of concerts and clubs, a festival director and curator, a record producer, a finder of elusive musicians and an all-around expert on the musical here-and-now.

It is undeniable that without Francis, the presence of music’s great, global, diversity in Europe would look – and sound – very different. It is for his passionate and tireless commitment to the worldwide musical community; for introducing the world’s best music to many, many ears; and for keeping musicians at the core, that Francis Gay is the recipient of the WOMEX 22 Award for Professional Excellence.

Read more about Francis Gay here.


offWOMEX Showcase Programme Revealed

Amidst the limited number of slots available each year as part of WOMEX’s official showcases, offWOMEX provides an additional integrated platform for bands and artists to present themselves and their music to the WOMEX audience attending from around the world.

The 2022 offWOMEX line-up is:

  • Corina Sîrghi și Taraful Jean Americanu (Romania)
  • Kalàscima (Italy)
  • Le Diable à Cinq (Canada)
  • Marco Mezquida (Spain)
  • Oratnitza (Bulgaria)
  • Perija (North Macedonia)
  • Stefano Saletti & Banda Ikona (Italy)
  • Suonno D’Ajere (Italy)

After announcing the full Jury-selected Showcase line-up, Club Summit, Regional: Lusofónica Stage, and today’s offWOMEX announcement, a major part of the WOMEX 22 Showcase lineup is now confirmed. More than 60 artists will bring their distinctive sounds, characters, stories, backgrounds, culture and music to the various stages of WOMEX in Lisbon, Portugal, this October.

You can see the updated WOMEX 22 Showcase line-up here.