Photo exhibition: Zanzibar - traditions at the gateway to Africa
Would you like to make a trip to the Indian Ocean? Then the 27th Africa Festival is the right place for you. We invite you to come and visit the fairy-tale island of Zanzibar with us. Zanzibar, the place where the cultures of the orient, Asia and Africa come together. It sounds like wonderlust and secrecy, 1001 night, magical dream beaches and the flavour of exotic spices. Zanzibar, indeed is the century old history of the trade between India and Arabia on one side and Africa on the other side. They did not only trade with goods, but tragically also with people, as Zanzibar was one of the main transfer sites for African slaves.
But this mixture of cultures also led to beautiful results like the creation of Taarab, a type of music which still exists today in Zanzibar. It includes Indian, oriental and African elements. We are delighted to introduce Matona and the Zanzibar Taarab Ensemble – one of the best groups of the genre - which, so far, is still widely unknown. We also take you to this dream island with two photo exhibitions. There will be a special guest of honour, as well: president Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein will come to Würzburg for the opening of the festival. We are particularly thankful for this honour.
This year, when it comes to music, we take a look at North Africa; especially Morocco. We invited the great singer Oum, who will bring us a special opening night with Klaus Doldinger’s “Passport to Morocco“. Besides jazz legend Klaus Doldinger, this year the focus will also be on other musicians from Germany. Oud player Roman Bunka, whose music career started in Würzburg, will return to his hometown with his newly formed up Shamandura Project. He also plays guitar for the German world music pioneers “Dissidenten“, which will be accompanied by the Egyptian superstar Mohammed Mounir. At home Mounir’s performances are celebrated enthusiastically by more than hundreds of thousands of fans. But of course you can also look forward to a few new discoveries, which will add a breath of fresh air to the African music. We would like to warmly recommend you to listen to the singers Namyula from Sambia, Shishani from Namibia and Marema from Senegal.
You will get much information about Africa and the organisations which work there at various booths. And of course Zanzibar will be introduced there. Television channel ARTE is a partner of the Africa Festival. ARTE Concert will show the most important concerts at: concert.arte.tv.
So, look forward to a journey through Africa on which you can experience music from Zanzibar, Mali, Sambia, South Africa, the Cape Verde Islands, Egypt, Namibia, Ethiopia, Ghana and Aruba.
Your Afro Project Team
THURSDAY, JUNE 4TH, 2015:
THE SOUL OF MOROCCO
For a long time already, singer Oum has captured the hearts of the people in her country and is worshiped like a diva. Now, she sets out to make career in the rest of the world. After the successful release of two albums in Morocco, “Soul of Morocco” is her first international album, which is said to open up many doors for her. To Moroccan Gnawa rhythms she adds well dosed sounds of Jazz, a bit of Pop, Rhythm and Blues as well as some Soul and Funk. The studied architect brings the different elements of her genre mix in a stable balance on which her impressive and expressive voice can sumptuously unfold. Oum’s “Soul of Morocco” has got everything to ingratiate in the ear canals. We are convinced that this charismatic singer is going to gain many hearts with her live-performance – the insider tip of this year’s festival.
PASSPORT TO MOROCCO
When Klaus Doldinger, together with his project “Passport to Morocco” attended the Africa Festival for the very first time in 2009 – newspapers wrote that “hopefully this wasn’t his last performance at the Africa Festival”. It was with great pleasure that we invited him again for another brilliant concert. That “Passport to Morocco” must be part of next years’ festival was clear very quick - with North Africa being one of the main focuses of our programme. Fortunately, Doldinger - who will celebrate his 79th birthday this year – agreed immediately. He is going to add exceptional Moroccan soloists to his band “Passport” and transports the classic Maghreb sound into the 21st century. An exciting musical adventure is guaranteed.
FRIDAY, JUNE 5TH, 2015:
MOH! KOUYATE & SPECIAL GUEST MARIAMA
URBAN AFROPOP FROM WESTAFRICA
The singer and virtuoso guitarist Moh! Kouyate was born in Guinea and comes from the tradition of the Griot singers. Moh! developed his very own guitar style which is based on native Mandika rhythms and thus impressed many colleagues. On the current CD of the Malian diva Fatoumata Diawara (Africa Festival Award 2013), he played on several songs – but also the American Blues man Corey Harris recorded some excellent versions of Blues classics together with him. He lives in Paris since 2007 - there he met the singer and songwriter Mariama from Sierra Leone who started her career in the band of Ade Bantu. Together they play a modern, global and happy Afropop which goes through ears and legs. Two newcomers who make you wanting more.
HABIB KOITE & BAMADA
NEW BAND AND NEW SONGS FROM MALI
There is indeed a good reason why the singer and guitarist Habib Koite returns to the Africa Festival only two years after his last performance. Meanwhile, he totally rebuilt his band Bamada – which can be heard on his new album called “Soo”. The kora disappeared and was replaced by a banjo and a keyboard which do merge with Habib’s drums and guitar. Again, he reunites the sounds of the multi-ethnic state Mali on his new CD – he sings about friendship and friends and calls for a peaceful coexistence, which nowadays is more important than ever after all the recent and past happenings. Habib Koite didn’t drastically reinvent his music but decent- and stylishly developed what so many of his fans, all around the world, do love about him.
RISING STAR FROM SAMBIA
In 2014 Namvula Rennie, a young singer, guitar player and composer, achieved something extraordinary with her CD debut „Shiwezwa": Although she is not widely known yet, the big British newspaper Sunday Times ranked her album seventh among the 100 best records of the year. Back then Namvula was overwhelmed and posted this message on her Facebook page:„ohmygodohmygodohmygodOHMYGOD!!!!" Her remarkable style, which includes a lot of African vibes from her home country Sambia, some Jazz and Latin, as well as European folklore, is infectious when you hear it for the first time.We are delighted to present her first concert in Germany and sure that she will continue on her way. An insider's tipp of the Festival.
AFROSOUL FROM SOUTH AFRICA
For some she is the successor of Miriam Makeba, others praise her as the South African Beyoncé. Singer Lira can't be categorized easily. Afrojazz, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, but also Pop - nothing is foreign to her and she isn't afraid of new things. For this approach she is celebrated in South Africa and also internationally. In 2010 she performed a touching version of „Pata Pata" with Hugh Masekela at the opening ceremony for the Football World Cup. For her last CD she was honoured with many awards. But Lira is not only a charismatic singer of the post-apartheid generation, she is also politically active. In Würzburg she was already celebrated enthusiastically at the Africa Festival in 2009. Welcome back, Lira, the Queen of Afrosoul.
SUNDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2015:
BOB MARLEY GOES GNAWA
The motley crew of six from Morocco belong to the protagonists of a recently very popular type of music – the Gnawa Reggae. The rather tranquil dance sound of the Gnawa gets spiced up with reggae rhythms. In addition, the people of Bob Maghrib add a very special note: They exclusively play songs of the reggae icon Bob Marley. To do so, they use traditional Moroccan instruments as for example a Ribab (a kind of one-stringed violin), an Oud (Arabic sounds), a Guembri (Gnawa sounds) or the Ghaita (an oboe-like wind instrument). That might seem and indeed is bizarre, but sounds fantastic and has a high fun factor.
AND THE WIZARDS
REGGAE PRINCESS FROM CAPE VERDE
The first song, which the Cape Verdean singer Mo’Kalamity wrote and recorded, had the significant title “Africa”. When still young, she moved to Paris and brought along her musical African heritage. Fascinated by Caribbean and African-American sounds, she soon felt attracted by reggae. In 2004, after she had collected her first experience as a background singer, she founded her own band - “The Wizards”. At many festivals, the collective quickly made itself a name, as front women are rather an exception in reggae. They will present their new CD – “Freedom of the soul” – at the Africa Festival.
Thursday, June 4th 2015:
ROMAN BUNKA & SHAMANDURA PROJECT
MUSIC FROM THE NILE
When it comes to the music of North Africa, we simply had to invite the oud virtuoso with a Würzburg background again. This time his Shamandura project performs as a trio and will open the festival by presenting the music of the Nile valley. Roman Bunka will be accompanied by the Sudanese percussionist and oud player Mohamed Badawi as well as the Egyptian percussionist Ayman Mabrouk.
MATONA & THE ZANZIBAR TAARAB ORCHESTRA
TRADITIONAL TAARAB MUSIC FROM ZANZIBAR
The composer and musician Matona comes from an old family of musicians. His father and grandfather have already been well-known oud players in Zanzibar. Together with 9 musicians of the Dhow Countries Music Academy, Matona is going to present the traditional Taarab music. In addition to the oud, you can hear the Egyptian zither, violin, accordion, flute and percussion instruments. The singers Amina and Mariam also present songs from the times of the sultans in Zanzibar.
Friday, June 5th 2015:
DRISS EL MALOUMI
THE SOUND OF MAGHREB
It is not without good reason that Driss El Maloumi from Agadir is also called the “Oud magician”. When the Moroccan plays the Arabic lute it sometimes actually borders on magic. With his trio he interprets the traditional music of Morocco, which also includes flamenco elements, in a modern context. Thus it is indeed possible that the sound of the Berbers can meet jazzy tones.
MOROCCOS JAZZ JEWEL
She was born in a small town in the Southern part of Morocco called Ouled Teima. When she was still young she and her family moved to France. There she learned to play clarinet and that’s how she discovered Jazz. On her second CD “Berber Taxi“ she explores the depths of her Moroccan musical heritage, especially her Berber roots. CNN International called her “Morocco’s Jazz Jewel“.
DISSIDENTEN & MOHAMED MOUNIR
WORLDBEAT PIONEERS MEET EGYPT’S SUPERSTAR
The Dissidenten were already playing the world beat when the term didn’t even exist yet. As one of the first European bands they explored the North African space of sound, where they became famous with songs such as “Sahara Electric” or “Telephone Arab”. With the singer Mohamed Mounir they bring along a true megastar. In his home country the Egyptian performs in front of hundreds of thousands of fans who named him “King of Kings”. Mounir has managed to unite the traditional music of Egypt with Western pop. For many years, the guitarist of the Dissidenten, Roman Bunka, has been a permanent member of Mounir’s band. Dissidenten and Mounir – an inspiring encounter for the fans of North African music.
Saturday, June 6th 2015:
SHISHANI & THE AFRO NAMIBIAN TALES
AFRO-FOLK FROM NAMIBIA
Shishani is a young singer from Namibia, a country that has not been featured too often at the Africa Festival yet. With a soulful voice she presents urban Afro-folk and also includes political matters into her songs. This is reminiscent of Nneka or Tracy Chapman.
WINNER OF RFI AWARD 2014 FROM SENEGAL
Although the Senegalese Marema has only published a few songs yet – she won the first prize as Africa’s best female newcomer last year. The prize is awarded annually by the French radio station RFI, which gives listeners as well as a panel of experts the decision-making power. Marema immediately convinced with her song “femme d’affaires”.
POP FROM ETHIOPIA
Minyeshu, an Ethiopian singer and dancer who has been living in Europe for some time, already performed at the Africa Festival in 2004 and 2009. Since then the exceptional performer has again evolved quite a bit, as her latest CD “Black Ink” proves. Each song is unique and Minyeshu shows how she can combine both musical worlds, in which she lives, in style. It is not an arbitrary style mix of Ethiopop, Funk, Blues, Jazz and Pop, but an independent musical language.
Sunday, June 7th 2015:
CROSSOVER MUSIC FROM GHANA
A warm earthy voice is the trademark of the Ghanian singer-songwriter Adjiri Odametey. This voice combined with the sounds of native African instruments, including kora, kalimba, mbira and balafon, captivates listeners. “As an ambassador of authentic African music, Adjiri effortlessly succeeds as a crossover artist“ writes the German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
WALLY & AMI WARNING
A FAMILY AFFAIR FROM ARUBA
Wally and Ami Warning are father and daughter. Wally comes from the Caribbean island Aruba, his daughter Ami grew up in Munich where both of them live today. Wally is a very talented musician who is able to play a large number of various instruments. Ami sings, plays bass and guitar. She is currently being celebrated for her debut album “Part of me” as newcomer of the year 2014. Both understand each other implicitly and their melodious songs invite you to dream and relax.
PAPA JULIUS & ZION NEXUS
REGGAE FROM GHANA
As a member of the group Adesa, Papa Julius has already been a part of the Africa Festival for a long time. This year he is going to present his very own band Zion Nexus and the compositions of their new album called “Mango Tree”. These original pieces of music are based on reggae, ragga and dancehall and draw their spiritual strength from the roots of the Ghanaian joy of life and the energetic soul of West Africa.