Celebrating 30 years of WOMEX

Piranha Arts

Piranha Arts

Piranha Arts is a Berlin-based independent creative company up against all kinds of walls. From the beginning, Piranha has celebrated an open, diverse society and art, fiercely biting back against all forms of discrimination. Our journey began in early 1987 with the German live premiere of Memphis Soul Man Rufus Thomas and the release of our first vinyl LP, ‘Beat! Apartheid’. Today, we continue to embrace the spirit of carnival and babel, bringing together a rich diversity of cultures, arts, languages, and individuals in a bold, sometimes noisy, but always unique way.

We are a team of two dozen Piranhas, inspired by our totem animal— a communal, swarming creature that fights back when attacked and is memorable across all languages and regions. We operate both locally and globally, active as cultural innovators, tech developers, curators, educators, partners, and multipliers.

Through our pioneering festivals ‘Heimatklänge’—introducing the sounds of our home, planet Earth, the Ballroom nights of the Jüdische Kulturtage, Die Nächte des Ramadan, Fete de la Musique, Classical:NEXT and many others, we have played a part in reinventing Berlin as an international cultural capital since the fall of the Wall in 1989.

In Berlin, we are best known for the Karneval der Kulturen, the million-strong annual street parade and festival, which has grown since 1996 to become the largest celebration of cultural diversity in Germany.

Our internationally renowned music showcase, conference, and trade fair event WOMEX — the Worldwide Music Expo — has been on an neverending tour since 1994, helping us better understand the diversity of Europe and offering opportunities to come together as a community.

It all started with our own record and publishing activities under the Piranha flag. Since then, we’ve been dedicated to bringing new sounds and artists from around the world to a global audience, with a focus on African, Gypsy, and Jewish music.

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Piranha Records

Piranha Records

Label & Publishing

Piranha is an independent record & publishing label, based in Berlin-Kreuzberg. We have been swimming among the sharks of the music industry since 1987 and now have more than 150 album releases and 1,200 copyrights to our name. Physically and digitally, the Piranha label is distributed internationally as part of the !K7 network while SMV Schacht Musikverlage and its set-up of sub-publishing partners administer and protect the Piranha publishing rights worldwide.

Piranha started as part of the world music movement in the 1980s, with a focus on African, Gypsy and Jewish music - everything the Nazis hated. Since then, we have stayed in tune with our original vision, introducing fresh sounds and artists from the world to the world, mastering the ever changing challenges of the music industry following digitilisation, while remaining a significant player in the global underground music scene.

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"The most important international professional market of world music of every kind. This international fair brings together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music and also includes concerts, conferences and documentary films. It contributes to networking as an effective means of promoting music and culture of all kinds across frontiers."
- UNESCO Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity

Since 1994, WOMEX has been travelling all across Europe, growing on its way into the number one networking platform for diversity in the music sector worldwide, with the prestigious WOMEX Awards for artistic achievement and professional excellence as each edition's final highlight.
Recent stop-overs included Tampere (2019), Digital Edition (2020), Porto (2021), Lisbon (2022).

2023 WOMEX took place in A Coruña, returning for the third time to Galicia, Spain. This year's culturally and musically diverse event concluded with 2750 music professionals (incluing 220 performing artists) from 105 countries, hosted more than 60 artist showcases spread across seven stages, and 18 music-based documentaries. 96 speakers and mentors participated in the conference sessions, and delegates attended the trade fair with 703 exhibiting companies with more than 250 stands and a radio studio on-site.

WOMEX 24 celebrating 30 Years of WOMEX will be hosted in Manchester, UK from 23-27 October 2024.

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Karneval der Kulturen Logo

Karneval der Kulturen

Berlin Street Parade and Fest

Karneval der Kulturen is Berlin’s biggest annual public cultural event, drawing over a million visitors and around 4,500 volunteer participants taking to the city streets in a vibrant parade. The event spans a four-day street festival showcasing global culinary cultures, handicrafts and performances by Berlin-based artists from around the world. Throughout the year, participants engage in cultural projects across the city, leading to a creative sharing of their art, ideas, and concerns with an open-minded audience at the parade and street festival, celebrating the multiplicity of cultural identities that shape the city.

Born from an anti-racist initiative in the mid-90s, the carnival aimed to strengthen diversity, counter polarization, and foster a sense of belonging in the city by reclaiming the streets with pride and joy. It has since evolved into a post-migrant tradition and a cornerstone of Berlin's cultural landscape.

Piranha Arts has been the operator of Karneval der Kulturen since 2016.

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