The Musical Roots and Branches of Strictly Mundial:
North America’s 1st World Music Conference Held in Montréal, Feb. 24-27, 2005
What: Strictly Mundial (a.k.a. Strictly Montréal)
When: February 24-27, 2005
Where: Palais des Congrés Montréal
Welcome to Strictly Mundial 2005 where two planets of music past and future merge in Montréal to create the first significant world music conference in North America. For seventeen years the Folk Alliance has presented the foremost conference for traditional, contemporary, and multicultural folk music, dance, and related performing arts in North America. February 24-27, 2005 sees the joining of forces of the annual Folk Alliance conference with the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals (EFWMF), a network of independent festivals that share the vision that the world is a patchwork of millions of local traditions and music, each different in content yet equal in value.
Strictly Mundial 2005 puts North American folk music in its global context and connects the amorphous category of world music with its roots. Both Folk and World Music are defined broadly in the selection of showcases and conference presentations, including North American roots music contributions to the field of world music. Showcases will feature music from the cultural variety of roots music and musically related groups in North America, including Latin America and the Caribbean. Concerts with music from the rest of the world will be added. Seminars will concentrate on topics of interest to music professionals, incorporating members of the Folk Alliance and the EFWMF together in discussion and education.
In so many ways the challenges that both the folk and world music businesses face are the same, both here and in Europe, says Folk Alliance director Phyllis Barney. “Audience development, promotion, media attention, alternative distribution streams: these are issues for all of us. We’re hoping people discover solutions and new ways of doing business from each other. There’s a great deal more in common between folk and world than there is different. And I expect a tremendous synergy when people from different parts of the artistic community get together.”
North America’s most European city is the site for the Strictly Mundial village for 2005. The marketplace [exhibit hall], the theater [showcases], and the city square [workshops and forums] will bring together artists, festivals and others from around the world. For four days, music professionals (such as artists, musicians, festival directors, distributors, record companies, agents, and managers) will meet to exchange ideas and points of view.
Traditional and contemporary roots music from North America will be presented in harmony and in contrast with music from all around the globe, giving a glimpse of common threads and diverse patterns. The conference will embrace a music without frontiers approach, touching on roots music from around the world, says artistic director Derek Andrews. The barriers and definitions between genre will also be relaxed as artists employing modern fusions and hybrids that defy definition will be included in the discoveries at SM.
Montréal, second only to Washington DC as the preferred site for international meetings in North America, promises us sights and sounds of uncommon cultures, fueled with passion and joy. Home base for Strictly Mundial 2005 will be Montréal’s Palais des Congrés, a new convention center emerging from recent urban renewal efforts in this cosmopolis. The Palais’ multi-colored glass surface sets the tone for Strictly Mundial where diverse cultures and ideas will converge and interplay like colors in a kaleidoscope.
Artists interested in applying for a showcase must do so by August 31, 2004 and can find more information and the application form at http://www.folkalliance.net/conference/index.php. As much as possible, showcases shall serve to introduce an artist, a group or a music culture to the international world music environment. The artist may be well known to some Strictly Mundial visitors but a new experience for others. Artistic quality is the first criterion, but another factor is the artists capacity for future professional work. Therefore successful applicants will likely need a functional infrastructure available in terms of recording and management contracts.