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UK & Ireland Unite to Seek Broader World Horizons for their Music

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With WOMEX - the most international of all music networking events worldwide - moving to Cardiff, Wales, UK, in October this year, the WOMEX team is attending Celtic Connections / Showcase Scotland in Glasgow this week, to check out some UK talent and to meet old and new partners and delegates ahead of WOMEX 13 Cardiff.

Today, at Celtic Connections, a new partnership which unites the national music development organisations of the UK and Ireland was launched. Horizons is a new partnership that has been developed ahead of WOMEX 13, Cardiff to bring together England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to celebrate our wealth of music traditions and cultures within a world music market. Initially instigated by Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales, the hosts of WOMEX 13, Horizons will lend its name to a variety of development and promotional activities aimed at raising the excellence and profile of home artists, and linking them to opportunities to develop international markets for their work. While WOMEX 13 is certainly a focus, it is just the beginning of the journey.

Horizons members are Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Arts Council Ireland, Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales, Creative Scotland and Culture Ireland and the partnership is supported by British Council.

Lisa Matthews of Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales explains the rational behind this new partnership: “Horizons sees the UK and Ireland working towards a shared vision, working collectively to promote our individual music offers and sharing best practice and opportunities along the way. With WOMEX, the worlds’ leading world music marketplace coming to Wales this October, it’s an ideal opportunity for us and our neighboring nations to raise the profile of our music and our artists internationally. We can do this most effectively by working together.”

WOMEX has been the catalyst for developing this partnership, but it marks just the beginning of its work. Ian Smith from Creative Scotland explained why this new venture was so important to the industry: “The world of music is opening up. It really is an inter- national field now, with complex routes to market and increasingly sophisticated business networks. Music is a fast moving industry, and as small, individual nations, it is difficult for us to have a significant presence at trade fairs, markets and expos. The Horizons partnership offers us new collaborative ways of working and more effectively to promote the distinctive music and music cultures of UK and Ireland.”

Penny King from Arts Council England said: “We very much hope that the work we’re doing together at WOMEX will lead to further opportunities for collaboration in the future . By pooling our resources, knowledge and expertise we have potential to make a much greater impact on the international world music market.”

Christine Sisk from Culture Ireland said: “Ireland welcomes the opportunity to present Irish music under the Horizons brand. This unique platform will further the global reputation Irish music holds for its distinctiveness and integrity as well as enabling the Horizon partners to benefit from our shared expertise and resources.”

Last night, presenting the National Folk Awards at Celtic Connections, singer and broadcaster Cerys Matthews said: “It’s a really really exciting times and it is going better, because in October of this year, the world music expo WOMEX is coming to these shores, which will give our home grown talent a chance to play and share song and music with musicians from all over the world, who will be coming to Cardiff and performing at WOMEX.”

The Horizons partnership aims to prepare UK and Irelands’ musicians to make the most of this opportunity and continue to develop and build international careers and profile for years to come.

The Horizon’s brand name was inspired by poet, Gwyneth Lewis’ words on the front of Wales Millennium Centre ’In these stones horizons sing'. Wales Millennium Centre, along with Motorpoint Arena will host WOMEX 13, Cardiff, 23-27 October 2013. 'Horizons' expresses something about the partnerships ambition to develop and broaden their musicians' horizons.

WOMEX 13 Cardiff, Wales, UK, 23 - 27 October 2013
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