Wells Artist Announces Participation in WOMEX 2024

Cerys Hafana (Image: Heledd Wyn) and N’famady Kouyate

Two well-known Welsh artists representing Wales at this year’s highly anticipated WOMEX have been announced today.

Organizers of this year’s WOMEX (World Music Expo) in Manchester, Wales Arts International, Tŷ Cerdd and Manchester Music City have revealed that Wales has been selected to represent Wales on WOMEX Horizon later this year. ​ns The artists on stage will be Cerys Hafana and N’famous Kouyat.

Established in 2013 at WOMEX Cardiff, Wells Arts International was instrumental in the creation of HORIZONS – a celebratory partnership Diverse music from Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England helps artists gain international recognition on the world stage.

my family kuyat

In addition to artists from Wales, there are also artists representing Scotland, including Amy Laurenson and Gnoss; Balimaya Project and Gwenifer Raymond, representing England; Strange Boy, representing the Republic of Ireland, and Córas Trio Representing Northern Ireland, Rioghnach Connolly & Honeyfeet represented host city Manchester.

Wells History and Innovation

Cerys Hafana is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Machynlleth who is known for transforming traditional music by exploring the creative possibilities of the triple harp and combining found sounds, archival materials and electronic processing.

Her second album Edyf, released in 2022, was named one of the top ten folk albums by The Guardian and was featured on Cerys Matthews’ BBC 6 Music ‘Highlights 2022’ programme.

‘Edyf’ combines psalm tunes, hymns and fragments of philosophical reflections from the National Library of Wales’s online archives with original compositions including Welsh triple harp, bodhran, double bass, treble horn and electronic processing the sound of.

Her latest EP, The Bitter, was released in January this year to critical acclaim. TradFolk applauds, saying: “The genius of this EP is the thoughtful reinterpretation of timeless songs that have been played a thousand times.”

A busy year ahead, she will also be playing festivals throughout the summer, including WOMAD, Green Man and End Of The Road, before appearing at WOMEX Festival in October.

Cerys Hafana said: “For most of my music career I have been aware of the importance of WOMEX in the folk and world music scene, so performing there for the first time this year is very exciting.

“I can’t wait to bring the Welsh Triple Harp to this international stage, particularly in Manchester, a city very close to my heart, and am grateful for the support of Astor International Wales and Horizon Projects.”

Ceres Havana. Image source: Heledd Wyn

Joining Cerys, fresh from this year’s Glastonbury Festival will be Nfamadi Kouyat, A dynamic musician from Guinea (Conakry) who moved to Cardiff in 2019.

He has captivated audiences across the UK and Ireland with his contemporary interpretations of traditional West African Mandinga songs, while touring in support of Gruff Rhys.

N’famady’s performance, which primarily plays the balafon, fuses African mandinga rhythms with Western jazz, pop, indie and funk, involving a variety of instruments and musicians.

His first EP, released in July 2021, was recorded at Rockfield Studios, collaborating with famous artists and blending Guinean songs with Welsh lyrics. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, N’famady has maintained an active online presence and performed at various music festivals, culminating in a successful launch in the UK in late 2022 with the support of a Momentum grant from the PRS Foundation tour, cementing his growing fan base in the UK and West Africa.

In 2023 he won Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition and will perform there again this month. He performs in a variety of languages, including Welsh, Mandinka and Susu.

N’famady Kouyaté said: “I’m excited to be showcasing at WOMEX this year. I can’t wait to bring my band to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of this wonderful event that supports a vibrant and inclusive music community.

global relations

Ahead of the October event, Eluned Haf, International Head of Wells Arts, said: “I am delighted that Cerys and N’Famady will be representing Wells at this year’s WOMEX.

“The performances of Cerys Hafana with her Welsh Triple Harp and N’Famady Kuyote with Balafon on the Horizons stage are testament to the wealth of talent and culture that Wales has to offer the world.

“A lot has changed since we hosted WOMEX in Cardiff. Welsh musicians have developed global relationships and Wales has played an important role in promoting local music and culture.

Horizon Partnership is supported by Wells Arts International, Wells Arts Council, Culture Ireland, Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Creative Scotland National Lottery, British Council and Underground UK. As well as showcasing their music, artists can receive advice, funding and help at the event.

WOMEX Cardiff 2013

Eluned Haf added: “The Horizons partnership we created for WOMEX in Cardiff in 2013 is going from strength to strength.

“By working together, musicians and companies in our countries can learn from each other and create pathways and more opportunities to reach concert and festival promoters and organizers.”

Women EX 24

WOMEX 24 will be held in Manchester from 23 to 27 October and is expected to be attended by 2,600 world music industry professionals from 90 different countries.

The five-day event is hosted by Manchester Music City partner English Folk Expo. Manchester Central will host major daytime conferences and trade shows including live music, club nights and films at the Albert Hall, Aviva Studios, Manchester Centre, O2 Ritz and HOME.

The second wave of official performing artists has also been announced, with 33 incredible acts from 35 countries coming together to entertain audiences and showcase their incredible talent. The program is developed by an independent jury of music industry professionals from around the world.

The first public tickets for the WOMEX Showcase are now on sale via the WOMEX website.

Wales Arts International also works with Wales partners such as Tŷ Cerdd and Trac to deliver artist development programmes.

It will be announced soon which artists and music industry contacts have been awarded bursaries to represent at this year’s WOMEX in Manchester.

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