Concert launches Womex world music showcase

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Singer Cerys Matthews has staged a concert celebrating Wales' musical heritage to open the Womex world music showcase and trade fair in Cardiff.

Cerys Matthews worked with local children for the gala concert

Some 2,500 delegates are due to attend the event, which runs until Sunday.

Treorchy Male Choir, Ballet Cymru and children from Cardiff Bay were among those performing at the Wales Millennium Centre on Wednesday.

Matthews, artistic director of the opening concert, said she hoped it would offer "a bit of madness".

"The one thing that I love about music is that it's spontaneous," she told BBC Wales.

"It's from the heart and it's by people for people - no marketing men, no politics, great sounds and a lot of passion from all the performers and hopefully a lot of enthusiasm from the audience as well."

'Window to the world'

Womex will include performances from around 50 leading musical acts from around the world at the Wales Millennium Centre, along with business meetings, seminars, and a trade fair at the Motorpoint Arena in the city.

Cerys Matthews said she hoped the opening concert would offer "a bit of madness"

However a group of Syrian performers - Ensemble Al-Kindi - have had to pull out of a concert on Thursday after being refused entry to the UK.

First Minister Carwyn Jones, who officially opened the event, said: "We're delighted that the best from world music has come to Wales this week.

"However, Womex also offers a window to the world to hear the very best of Welsh music."

Cerdd Cymru Music Wales, which won the bid for Womex to come to Wales, estimated the economic impact of the conference to be around £3m.

The event has been held at various locations across Europe since 1994, and was last held in Thessaloniki in Greece in 2012.

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