Founded in 1994 the Worldwide Music Expo (WOMEX) is an international world music support and development project based primarily in Berlin, though the event itself is held annually in different countries throughout Europe. Since its founding, WOMEX has been an essential part of the music industry, allowing musicians and industry professionals alike an opportunity to network and grow their list of contacts. Every year over 2,5000 industry professionals from over 90 countries, including over 260 performing artists come together at the expo. 

While initially slated to have taken place from October 21st-25th in Budapest, Hungary, WOMEX has since moved online due to health and safety concerns regarding covid-19, though some of the live events and performances will still be taking place in Budapest, and to be streamed online.

Among the plethora of musicians and live acts, Middle Eastern highlights of the conference’s schedule for this year included Guedra Guedra (Morocco), Love & Revenge (Lebanon/France), Golnar & Mahan Trio (Iran/Canada/Australia), Fanfara Station (Tunisia/USA/Italy), El Khat (Yemen), ‘Djazia Satour (Algeria/France), and Coskun Karademir Quartet (Turkey).

For the digital edition of WOMEX 20, the entire selection of films will be available online via streaming on the virtualWOMEX platform from the 15 - 25 October 2020 accessible to all WOMEX 20 digital participants worldwide. You can see the full schedule here.

Amongst the film screenings this year seems to be largely focused on stories and narratives from the Middle East and its artists. SceneNoise has partnered with WOMEX to bring you an exclusive look at this year’s programming:

Khamsin, directed by Grégoire Couvert and Grégoir Orio traces back through Lebanon’s history in the wake of the civil war; set to a backdrop of government corruption and instability, musicians from different backgrounds gather in Lebanon and connect with a message that resonates globally.

Sama’ Abdulhadi (short film), Directed By Jan Beddegenoodts, presents an intimate “portrait” of Sama Abdulhadi (a.k.a Sama), Palestine’s first techno DJ, who is an essential part of Palestine’s underground electronic scene, and now globetrotting performer. The film also includes footage from Sama's Cairo debut set with SceneNoise from 2019.

Finally, Sounds of Tehran (short film), directed by Aleksandra Bilic, Victoria Fiore, and presented by WeTransfer, takes a deep dive into the “sounds and stories” of Tehran’s electronic music scene through the eyes and ears of Nesa Azadikhah, 34-year-old DJ, producer and founder of Deep House Tehran, an essential part of Tehran’s underground musical life. The film challenges the outside world’s perceptions of Iran and it’s art scene. The film is also accompanied by an extensive article that provides an in-depth look at how Sounds of Tehran came to be. 

For more information about WOMEX 2020 and the schedule for all the incredible music and film screenings set to debut this year, head over to the WOMEX 2020 main site.