This is the calm before the storm known as WOMEX.Every October, thousands of music professionals — artists, managers, presenters, label executives, press folks and the like — descend on some European city for five days of nonstop showcases, panel discussions, meetings, film screenings and schmoozing. Officially, it’s the World Music Expo, but I’ve never heard anybody call it that in all the years I’ve been coming, off and on. (This is my seventh time at this particular rodeo.)A friend of mine calls this the “WOMEX vortex,” and he’s not wrong. This is SXSW for the international set, and where a huge chunk of music business transactions take place, with more than 2000 delegates coming from about 100 countries. Want to know what hot acts from Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond are going to be hitting the North American touring circuit in the next one to two years? This is the place to find most of them first.WOMEX moves to a different European city every year. This year’s WOMEX is taking place in Santiago de Compostela, a small city in the northwest of Spain, in the region of Galicia. Santiago is best known as a pilgrimage site for devoted Catholics, who walk hundreds of miles across ancient paths to reach the Santiago Cathedral and what, as legend has it, is the tomb of the apostle James.But as of tomorrow, the tourist mix is going to include a couple of thousand folks who might be more interested in Saint Cecilia — the patron saint of music. (Remember the old Simon and Garfunkel song?) Me, I’m taking one last deep breath today before diving in.
NPR Music’s Anastasia Tsioulcas is taking over our NPR on the Road Tumblr this week to blog about her trip to the WOMEX Festival, the “SXSW for the international set.” This year it’s taking place in Santiago de Compostela, a small city in the northwest of Spain. Questions for Anastasia? Send them to our inbox or the NPR on the Road inbox.