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Feature: World Music Expo opens with Gypsy HeartBeats concert

BUDAPEST, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The World Music Expo (WOMEX 2015) opened in Budapest on Wednesday evening with a concert called Gypsy HeartBeats, focusing on the musical impact of the Roma in the Carpathian Basin where Hungary is located.

Addressing the grand opening, Hungarian State Secretary at the Human Resources Ministry Bence Retvari described WOMEX, which expects 2,900 guests from over 90 countries between Wednesday and Sunday, as an affirmation of one another and one another's music.

The expo, he said, can help make the world a better place.

"We are proud that Hungary is the host of this year's WOMEX," Retvari said, "for it has helped make Hungarian folk music recognized the world over."

He went on to underline the opportunity the program offered for all of Central and Eastern Europe's performers to make an international appearance.

WOMEX Director Alex Walter voiced his concern for the refugees of the world when addressing the gathering, and said he hoped that political debates would result in offering real help to the people who needed it.

Wednesday's performers included Belgian Sinti violinist Tcha Limberger, who has been declared an honorary Hungarian and who played Hungarian Gypsy music as part of a string trio with Hungarian companions.

Also performing was Attila Olah, an ethnic Hungarian Roma artist from Slovakia, who demonstrated the interaction between vocal and dance, Romengo and Monika Lakatos, representing the archaic Roma traditions of northeastern Hungary, and folk singer Bea Palya.

The programs will continue through Sunday. The official program includes 64 productions from 50 countries. The trade fair attracts 660 exhibiting companies from 47 countries.