Yorrick Benoist (France) Born 1953 in Paris, Yorrick Benoist, as a «cultural militant» created a successful alternative cultural centre – Le Confort Moderne – in Poitiers / France in 1980. After he graduated in economics, he founded RUN Productions, a tour and management agency specialised in touring large scale ensembles from all corners of the world, in 1986, e. g. Burundi Drummers, Doudou N’Diaye Rose Percussion Orchestra, Culture Musical Club Zanzibar, Cesaria Evora, Pascals (Japan) etc. Today RUN Productions books and / or produces an average of 300 concerts a year in Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA.
Pietro Carfi (Italy) As record label Il Pontesonoro, magazine World Music and the World Music Festival among others show, Sicilian Pietro Carfi has done with music everything you can: written about, spoken of, started up, put on, produced, published. He is now passionately editing the record series «Tribú Italiche». But above all, he used to cross the Europen mountains riding his Ducati bike – now, as a father, he still crosses them… driving a camper van.
Alan James (UK) World music pioneer Alan Janes was working with The Burundi Drummers on the inaugural WOMAD Festival in 1982 and producing Fela Kuti’s debut London show. He hosted the first regional world music programme on Bristol’s GWR, co-programmed the groundbreaking Mersea Island WOMAD Festival, and as a DJ, set up Yu Fe Danse Sound System. He was Executive Producer on the State of Bengal / Ananda Shankar project and managed the Real World recording debut of vichitra veena player, Gopal Shankar Misra. As «AJ» he has introduced artists and played records at WOMAD and Big Chill Festivals and at clubs and venues all over Europe. Alan is currently Head of Contemporary Music at Arts Council England and continues his DJ’ing, writing and artist management activities.
Lara López (Spain) Born in Càdiz in 1967, Lara López since 1987 runs music and cultural shows on RTVE ( Spanish Public Radio and Television). She has been involved in different musical and cultural projects as journalist, DJ, world music specialist and musical adviser and at the moment is producing and presenting «El Suplemento» ( RNE Radio 1; REE) and «Músicas Posibles» ( Radio 3: Radio 5). She is panellist of WMCE World Music Charts Europe and has just published her first fiction novel.
Yusuf Mahmoud (UK / Zanzibar) DJ and music promoter Yusuf Mahmoud was born in the UK, where he started promoting African music to raise funds and awareness for the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the early 1980s. He went on to set up Beat the Border and VSO’s Routes in Rhythm, DJ-ing and promoting international music concerts, festivals, conferences and workshops around the UK and co-produced «Worlds behind the Music» and «African Music in Schools» resource packs for teachers. He relocated to Stone Town / Zanzibar in 1998, where until 2002 he worked as Music Director for ZIFF Festival of the Dhow Countries. In 2003 he moved on to set up Busara Promotions, a non-profit NGO working throughout East Africa to promote local and international music, build skills of regional artists and develop cross-regional promoters´ networks. He established the «Sauti za Busara» (Sounds of Wisdom) annual Swahili Music Festival and is co-founder of the Indian Ocean Festival Association (IOFA).
Rita Ray (Ghana / UK) A club and radio DJ who plays the global musical spectrum, Rita Ray in the 1990s revitalised the world music scene in London with the Mambo Inn. With Max Reinhardt she runs the Shrine club night at Cargo and tours with the Shrine Synchro System all over Europe and Africa. She creates soundscapes for the Nitro theatre company and others, programmes international music festivals in London, co-presented the first two BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music and compiles their annual CD. Recently, in September 2004 she co-presented an excellent documentary on Fela Kuti for BBC Radio 3 in and presented the Festival in the Desert from Mali as well as WOMAD for BBC4.
Ros Rigby (UK) Ros Rigby is performance programme director for The Sage Gateshead, the ground breaking new Norman Fosterdesigned music complex on the South Bank of the River Tyne, which will host WOMEX 2005. She also co-founded the organisation Folkworks in 1988 with Northumbrian musician Alistair Anderson developing a higher profile for the folk arts within music promotion and education in the UK.