Batuki Music Society presents the second annual Habari Africa Festival at the Harbourfront Centre from Friday August 14 – 16, 2015. This year’s curatorial theme is a focus on ‘New Voices: A view of African music from a Canadian perspective’. The artistic works will explore the changing styles of music, dance, and other art forms as practiced by African artists living in Canada as well as their non-African counterparts.
The artists featured will represent an array of music genres and dance styles from; Congolese rumba and ‘bazombo’, afro-roots reggae, ethio-jazz, afrobeat, morna, batuque, traditional and contemporary West African sounds, North African shaabi and Andalusian fusion, African gospel, to the new afro-house music from South Africa. The festival will also have activities for children of all ages, workshops, films, visual arts, vendors with African crafts, as well as delicious cuisine from the World Café. This multi-disciplinary festival is co-presented with Harbourfront Centre.
A sample of some of the music acts this year include the following artists:
Ethio Zema Band – A new group formed by Fantahun Shewankochew, an accomplished composer, arranger, vocalist, and acoustic krar player. This is ethio-jazz at its best.
Awa Sangho – This Malian belle who is described to have a radiant voice represents a variety of sounds that emanate from West Africa, built on a delicate balance between the sounds of the kora, ngoni, flute, and the electronic sounds of modern instruments.
Rocky Dawuni – International music star and humanitarian Rocky Dawuni straddles the musical boundaries between Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S. to create an appealing “Afro-Roots” sound that unites generations and cultures.
Moto de Kapia – The music of the region of Kasai in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is varied, and one of the forms practiced by this band is ‘bazombo’, a type that is hypnotizing and popularized by recordings from groups like ‘Kasai All Stars’ and ‘Konono No. 1’. The band blends acrobatic moves with their dances usually accompanied by the beats of the ‘ngoma’, an upright drum from the Kasai region and modern guitars and bass.
Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble – Foly Kolade who hails from Ogidi, a small village in Nigeria, had migrated to New York where he had established himself as a performer of afrobeat for almost 9 years. Kolade has performed alongside afrobeat stars such as; Seun Kuti, Antibalas, as well as other artists like Zap Mama, Madagascar Slim, etc. Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble now calls Toronto home and the band continues to wow crowds with their music.
Mi Casa – Mi Casa’s sound incorporates soulful vocals, guitar picks, keyboards, and sweet trumpet sounds blended together by a talented trio of Dr, Duda, J’Something, and Mo-T. This is South Africa’s hottest Afro-house group. This is a late night performance at the Brigantine Room and is a co-presentation with Moonraiser Entertainment as a ticketed show.
We are also very excited to be featuring the work of world-renowned visual artist, David Kibuuka, at the Marilyn Brewer Community Space. Kibuuka’s art is influenced by the work of European art masters, traditional African artistry, and of course his older brother and mentor. Kibuuka is also credited with creating the technique of fragmentation, a unique method of painting vivid images through a mosaic of colour and form.
Three films would be screened at the festival namely: Bi Kidude: As Old As My Tongue, Omo Child: The River And The Bush, and Timbuktu. Bi Kidude is a biographical film about the life of Zanzibar’s Queen of ‘taarab’ and ‘unyago’. This enigmatic woman entertained sultans and sailors with her music for a very long time. She even continued performances at festivals well into her nineties.
Omo Child is a documentary of a young Ethiopian man’s journey of ending the ages old practice of ‘mingi’ in the Omo Valley by the Kara tribe. ‘Mingi’ means curse, and children born out of wedlock are considered a curse and are usually thrown in the raging Omo River or abandoned to die in the bush.
Timbuktu is the 2015 Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. This film depicts the arrival of the Jihadists (Islamic Fundamentalists) in the quiet town of Kidane in Northern Mali. The Islamists terrorized the citizens by imposing harsh Islamic laws (Sha’ariah), banning music, alcohol, cigarette smoking, etc. Floggings and summary executions became the norm, shattering a once beautiful and peaceful community.
Habari Africa Festival
Venue: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, M5J 2G8
Dates/Times: Friday August 14: 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday, August 15: 12:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday August 15: 10:30pm – 3:00 am Ticketed late night concert with Mi Casa $25-30
Sunday, August 16: 12:00pm – 6:00pm
All performances and activities are free to the public except the late night ticketed show with Mi Casa.
For additional information and complete event listings please visit:
Batuki Music Society gratefully acknowledges funding from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Heritage. We are very grateful for the tremendous contributions from Harbourfront Centre, its staff and dedicated volunteers for making this happen.
“Nurturing and strengthening cultural diversity through music and the arts”