Angélique Kidjo

Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo 


Widely considered to be "Africa's premier diva" Angélique Kidjo is a Grammy-winning musician and noted social activist who, like forerunner Miriam Makeba, has devoted her life’s work to the disciplines of interpersonal communication and cultural enrichment.  Currently residing in New York City, Angélique’s presence on the international music scene has never been more palpable. A prolific dynamo in the recording studio, Angélique’s passion for touring and performing live is only superseded by her desire to do good works within the global community.  Indeed, her philanthropic endeavours have benefited her spiritually and intellectually as she passes on the knowledge and experience she has gained during her twenty-year career as a multi-tasking  Ambassador of Goodwill and Peace for her homeland’s African Union. Known for her tireless efforts on behalf of UNICEF, Angélique Kidjo has spoken regarding the plight of vulnerable women and children on numerous occasions.    

“We Africans have to be able to deal with our problems. Help from outside is alright, but we have to learn to be responsible for our own attitudes.”  She says.

Her selflessness and composure, in addition to her considerable musical talent, has caught the attention of many recording artists who have sought her out for collaborative purposes.  Working with the likes of Branford Marsalis, Peter Gabriel, and Carlos Santana has given Angélique even greater exposure, extending her influence beyond borders and boardrooms into a broader public forum.

“Music is the only thing that can bring us together...And music is the only thing, I definitely believe that, that can bring us together and gonna be the weapon of the 21st century.”

A wildly creative star of the stage, Angélique’s signature style has come to be known as Afro-fusion.  A multi-genre blend of West African rhythms, Congolese rumba, gospel, Caribbean zouk, jazz, R&B, Latin-styles and even funk, her sound has defined a generation and brought the riches of Benin to a global audience.  A natural behind the microphone, Angélique’s easy going manner and rock solid technique have endeared her to peers and critics alike.  The soulful substance of her lyrics and the pure strength of her traditional Zilin vocal manipulations often lead to unexpected places as she sings in a variety of dialects including Fon, French, English, Yoruba, Swahili and sometimes in her own secret language.

“I'm an African bringing my culture to the Western world. But I use technology and rhythm and blues and jazz and rock. I make it easier for you by combining your tools with mine.”

 A shining example of what Africa was and what it shall become in the future, Angélique is currently riding high on the success her Grammy-nominated 2010 release Õÿö.  Homage to days gone by, Õÿö sees the gifted singer- songwriter laying claim to all of her childhood favourites.  From traditional folk tunes out of Benin to the swinging sway of Motown’s golden era, Angélique is enjoying rediscovering the classics; and she wants to take you with her.  

“My parents taught me to respect every style, every culture and language. Music is a language that everyone has to learn and understand. Those who might not understand will feel it.”

2011 is off to a grand start for Angélique as she became the recipient of the United Nations’ Champions of the Earth Award and was tapped for a BET Awards nomination for Best International Act: Africa.  Hot off delivering a roof-raising, “Best of Angélique” performance at the illustrious Philharmonic Luxembourg Hall in June, Angélique is set to take to light up the stage as she takes us through the Rhythms of Change at this year’s Afrikadey! Festival on Calgary’s own Prince’s Island.

~Christine Leonard 

Angelique Kidjo will be speaking Friday, August 12th at the Changing Africa: My Role Symposium and performing on August 13th at Prince's Island Park.

You can find Angélique on her website: 

Etran Finatawa

Etran Finatawa

The band is a union of the Tuaregs and Wodaabe tribes, was formed in january 2004 and is the first group at all with Wodaabe people making modern music. The literal meaning of their name is ‘the stars of tradition’. They are the first group to use the songs and music of the Wodaabe in a modern context.  They began as a group of ten musicians who wanted to unite these two nomadic cultures as a symbol of peace and reconciliaton. The touring and recording band consists of five players, two of whom are Tuareg and three, Wodaabe-Fulani. Together they set out to create a new music-style: Nomad's blues.

Wodaabe and Tuaregs live in the same parts of Africa but their music is very different: Wodaabe sing in a traditional manner, dressed in traditional costumes and decorated with face paints. They do not use any instruments but sing in a multivocal way while they dance in slow motion. Their dance, their costumes and their rhythm is unique in the world. Tuareg people have always used instruments, violins and drums, to animate their songs and dances. Since the seventies the guitar has found its way in Tuareg music. This style is called Ichumar and is a part of Etran Finatawa's repertoire.

Make sure you catch Etran Finatawa as they will only be performing on Monday, August 8th at the Opening Gala and Concert. 

To find out more visit:

Artist line-up for 2011

Welcome to another year of fascinating artists and spectacular performances!

Once again Tunde Dawodu our Artistic Director has outdone himself.  For the love of music and its power to move the world, these artists are bringing the tribal and ancestral beats to new life...

Be prepared to come face to face with the

Rythm of Change

Thank you!

Thank you to all the writers, editors, and photographers who contributed to this year's program guide, especially Claire Ekaterina, Christine Leonard, Caitlynn Cummings, Celina Vides, Matt Krawchuk, Ken Mann and Andrea Llewellyn, and a big thank you to Fortune Circus for graphic design. 


shadk- Rhythms of Change.  Words of wisdom.  

- African-Canadian rapper, Shad, nurtures his roots.

Born in Kenya to Rwandan parents, hip-hop sensation Shadrach Kabango, better known as Shad, is as Canadian as they come.  Raised amidst the comparable comforts of London, Ontario’s suburban jungle, Shad learned to value his individuality and to develop his god-given talents for singing and song-writing starting at an early age. His 2005 debut When This Is Over was a gamble and a labour of love as Shad financed this first release himself, while still an undergraduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University, utilizing the prize money he’d won at the Beat’s Rhythm of the Future talent show.   The unforgettable track “I’ll Never Understand” holds a mirror up to his own emotions regarding the Rwandan genocide and features original poetry penned by Shad’s mother, Bernadette Kabango.  

“My musical style focuses on reflecting my experiences and my musical history, as well as my personal history.”  Shad confirm.  “I have Canadian roots I have African roots and I have experiences within both kinds of music.  Canada’s such a young country in terms of immigration from African, and we’re seeing the first generation of Canadian-African artists emerge.  As an artist I’m just feeling my way out and trying to talk about my experience and my ideas and my life, and by doing that you stumble upon something unique.  I always  try to keep it as closely tied to my own personal experiences and ideas as possible that way even when I’m social or political issue its coming less from the a top down didactic and more from a place of sharing my opinions and feelings it’s a lot more honest and accessible that way.”  

Encouraged by his initial wave of success, Shad’s released The Old Prince two years later on Black Box Recordings, tapped for two MuchMusic Video Awards as well as making the short-list for 2010’s Polaris Music Prize, the galvanizing album also earned the emerging rapper his first Juno Award nomination.  Pressing ever forward, the bilingual  Shad soon added to his business degree by achieving his masters in liberal studies from Simon Frazer University in British Columbia, an accomplishment he considers more of a pragmatic necessity than just another feather in his cap.  

“Being a role model to today’s youth is obviously an honour and responsibility I take seriously.  School is something I’ve always liked and I’m realizing more and more that learning is really a privilege.  It’s helped me approach music in a more genuine way.  Whenever you take in great works, it affects you and inspires you.”  He continues.  “As I think about making the next album I do wonder if going the autobiographical route in your musical persona it could be kind of limiting as you could run out of things to say.  There are things I still have to say and I think there are musical ways to sort them out.  I don’t know what the future has in store I could never envision this point in my life when I was younger.”

 “It’s amazing how music has changed.  I find myself saying that even in the few years since I started that things are different.  At that time Facebook and Youtube weren’t that huge, home-recording was less prevalent, blogs weren’t being used to promote bands.  Things have really opened up.  I’m going to be in Rwanda in September playing for the first time.   I think there’s reverse diaspora in that African people who have lived or spent time in North America and Europe are taking my music back to Africa.  I’m looking forward to going over with some other Canadian artists, which should be cool.”

Taking on the title of role model is an unexpected turn for the humble rapper, who is known for his self-depreciating tone which is the antithesis of a genre commonly defined by megalomania.   Acknowledging his roots and his upbringing as abiding sources of inspiration, Shad consistently demonstrates how one might parlay their hardships into harmony and make a peaceful future with the ghosts of the past.   The fulsome result of his academic and artistic efforts, Shad’s third album TSOL (True Sounds of Liberty) appeared in 2010 and this time he won the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year.  

“TSOL that album was the first album that I’ve made that music was my job.” Reports an enthusiastic Shad.  “It came from that place of being excited about the process and just sitting down and trying to make the best record possible.  My previous albums were more about the energy of being young and really pouring everything into music.   The same sort of things came about in keeping the subjects varied, and talks about different things and represent different sides of where I’m at as an artist.”

Spurred on by his love of music and a strong desire to express his innermost thoughts, Shad’s creativity has reached its pinnacle.  Combing intelligent observation with his compassionate social views, the rapper’s razor sharp wit and optimistic exuberance are at once contagious and empowering.  Passing on his message of resilience and positivity to the next generation of Canadians is but one of the benefits Shad perceives in spreading his uniquely modern dialogue on Africa’s cultural legacy.

“I’m always glad when the people who curate festivals have a broad enough interpretation of their genres to include me.”  Says Shad of his upcoming appearance at Calgary’s Afrikadey! Festival. “It’s about showcasing the sheer variety cultural identities and artistic tastes that can exist within the same type of music.  I’m hoping to represent who I am, and what I do, and that’s really the nature of hip-hop music and the nature of African music and it all comes from the same tradition.”  He elaborates.

“For the live show, it’s a bit of different entity; I focus on keeping it interesting and fun and involving the audience.  Interacting with the people makes it a special event as opposed to listening to the record.  Overall, I think festivals like Afrikadey! go a long way to exposing people to other customs and representing the diversity that exists within a community.  It reveals what’s most important – the underlying humanity of who we are.”

~Christine Leonard

To learn more visit him @ 

Nomfusi Gotyana

Known to the musical world simply as Nomfusi, 24 year-old singer/songwriter Nomfusi Gotyana is one of the featured artists coming to the Afrikadey! stage this August. Having blessed Calgary audiences with a stellar performance at Afrikadey! 2009, she will shine once more as a star attraction as a participant in this year's much anticipated main-stage festivities.

A far cry from her humble beginnings in the Eastern Cape province's KwaZakhele township and eventually Khayelitsha (on the outskirts of Cape Town), South Africa, Nomfusi has built a successful international musical career through her exceptional talent and by the sheer force of her irrepressible will. An expert at melding South African musical styles and influences with modern influences such as Tina Turner, Lauren Hill and Aretha Franklin, Nomfusi injects each of her songs with soulful power and fiery passion to create beautiful music while remaining true to her cultural roots.

Having lost a great source of support with the death of her mother, a traditional healer, in 1988, the twelve year-old once again demonstrated her resilience by using her personal pain as emotional motivation to compose her first song, "Uthando", which means "love". Of Uthando she says: "Losing my mother made me understand what love is and the kind of love she was teaching us, and that for me was to love myself so much that I would not let any situation destroy me, not even her death." The intrepid vocalist was recently dealt another harsh blow when her sister passed away, only adding to her brave resolve.

By now an expert at parlaying hardship into harmony, Nomfusi has stepped into the recording studio to immortalize her craft, releasing a live "in concert with" DVD. In addition, her debut album entitled Kwazibani, which was her mother's name and which means "Who Knows?", has garnered acclaim and appreciation from fans and critics alike. Swathed in the rhythms and melodies of Sophiatown jazz and inspired by musicians such as the talented Abigail Khubeka, Kwazibani was embraced by the world-beat community as a work of exceptional maturity and honesty. Nomfusi has even had her touching Xhosa lyrics translated into English as a nod to her growing international fanbase.

Armed with a strong and uplifting voice, remarkable beauty and a dynamic and appealing stage presence, Nomfusi has forged a golden reputation for entertaining audiences across the globe. Her signature Afro-soul style is described as a blend of rhythm and blues, jazz and South African contemporary music. Already a seasoned veteran of prominent concert-series such as Annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Nomfusi this year plans to embark on a on an extended international tour with her band appearing at prestigious festivals in North America and Europe. A role-model for young people of all backgrounds, Nomfusi Gotyana, the petite-powerhouse, is eager to showcase her Afro-soul delights to Calgary's Afrikadey! audience and to bring the warm heart of Africa home to the western Canadian prairies.


Afrikadey!: What have you been up to recently?
Nomfusi: I've been working on my new material for my second album.

Afrikadey!: Do you have any upcoming albums?
Nomfusi: Yes I do.

Afrikadey!: What is your compositional process: do you write a melody, and then add lyrics? Does your band show you a cool riff and you build up a song together?
Nomfusi: I always write things down ideas etc and if I feel strongly about a subject then I expand on it and make lyrics. The melody comes when I'm relaxing and happy.

Afrikadey!: What is the favourite line you've written?
Nomfusi: From my song "Nontsokolo" (translated from Xhosa): "I know your story Poverty, I know the depth of your pain Poverty and I know where you come from, because I am Poverty.

Afrikadey!: If you could perform a duet with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Nomfusi: Tina Turner

Afrikadey!: Do you have any funny stories from on tour?
Nomfusi: Our drummer Collin is very funny. He has his own unique way of seeing things. For example when we fly over Africa, and you ask him how far still to go? He'll say "we're now at the hip," (pointing to his own hip, referring to Tanzania) or "we're almost at the elbow" (Somalia).

Afrikadey!: How is it being one woman among quite a few men on tour?
Nomfusi: The guys like to go out and explore the places we visit and meet lots of interesting people. I like to go to my hotel room and lie in bed and watch movies.

Afrikadey!: How does Canada's festival music scene compare to other countries you've visited?
Nomfusi: Well all the festivals I've been too have their own distinct element but Afrikadey festival is beautiful because of how it captures different African sounds.

Afrikadey!: Are there any songs that you are particularly excited to perform at Afrikadey!?
Nomfusi: Yes!!!!! And it's a surprise.

Afrikadey!: Last year at Afrikadey! you performed a song using these fantastic, Miriam Makeba-inspired clicks and mouth-singing. How do you do that?
Nomfusi: Well it's like asking a dog how does it bark, I'm born with it and I'm an African who has always been interested in African things.

Afrikadey!: Can you give me a quick lesson?
Nomfusi: Yes if you are eager to do it then lets DO THIS THING!

Afrikadey!: Is there anything in Calgary you plan on seeing or doing while you're here?
Nomfusi: Enjoy the sun and see Mr Tunde.

Visit Nomfusi on MySpace Music & Facebook.

Ara - Queen of the Drums

Ara is the first female talking drummer of repute. She started singing and drumming at the very tender age of 5, and has been performing for the past 20 years. Ara tried different genres of music, including Afro-beat as Lola Ola, but in the year 2000 she became Ara, coined from her real name and right there before our very eyes emerged the enigma, Ara!

Ara has taken her music across the world. She has played in Ghana, the UK,  Canada, Paris, and various states in the USA. Ara has performed before the Queen of England, she has also performed alongside big names in the industry including, Wyclef Jean and the legendary Stevie Wonder whom also featured her on his album "A time to love" on the track "If Your Love Cannot Be Moved".  Ara, in English means "mystery or wonder" a name given to her by her grandfather at birth is indeed a mystery and a wonder to behold.

This Africa's first and finest female talking drummer is not only known for her dexterity on the talking drum, she is a beautiful dancer/choreographer, a soulful singer, a song writer and a producer, her upcoming album says it all. Ara is also the founder of Ara's Passion Project, a foundation she founded about 2 years ago with a mission to in her own words "build a platform for tomorrow's people today".  Her main concern are the children, according to Ara "to a large extent, I have fulfilled my dreams but nothing of my passion...".   Hence the birth of her passion project. Ara is the CEO of "Ara Entertainment Productions" an entertainment outfit created to provide quality entertainment. 

This exotic African performer has won 9 awards both local and international, and it is worth mentioning that Ara has been a performing artist over the years without releasing a single album. Ara won these awards because of her great fan base. Her dexterity on the performance stage has won the hearts of millions all over the world, she is indeed, an enigma.

Ara will be speaking on Friday, August 12th at the Changing Africa: My Role Symposium, and performing on Wednesday, August 10th (12 - 1pm) at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, Friday, August 12th (12 - 1pm) at Steven Avenue Mall, and on Saturday, August 13th at Prince’s Island Park. 


Afrikadey!: What have you been up to recently (performances, travel, life, etc.)?
Ara: Thank you. I have been recording my songs, performing at various events and most importantly been seriously involved in humanitarian activities.

Afrikadey!: Do you have any upcoming albums?
Ara: My first album is expected to be released soon. I have been a performing artist for over 20 years without an album but I am now working on a cause song for charity, soon to be released.

Afrikadey!: Can you describe your style of music?
Ara: It is called Gangan Fusion/Contemporary Gospel. It is a blend of my musical influences over the years with the talking drum as a foundation.

Afrikadey!: How does Africa influence your work?
Ara: Africa has a great influence on my act, the way I dress, my songs, my dance…

Afrikadey!: If you are also a lyricist, what is the favourite line you have written?
Ara: "I will cry for you to laugh, be poor for you to be rich, I will die for you to live"

Afrikadey!: If you could perform a duet with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Ara: Michael Jackson

Afrikadey!: Do you have any funny stories from performing?
Ara: A lot! I will tell you one. It was the welcome concert for Wyclef Jean's first visit to Nigeria. The ovation and applause was so crazy I actually thought my trousers had torn and my fans were shouting and all lol. Luckily, they were just so amazed, in love with my performance and were going over the moon lol…

Afrikadey!: Are there any songs that you are particularly excited to perform at Afrikadey!?
Ara: Most definitively! Lakiti, Lomi Malo and Gedebe.

Afrikadey!: Is there anything in Calgary you plan on seeing or doing while you are here?
Ara: Well it's my first trip so I will just have a good trip and look forward to entertaining.

Afrikadey!: Is there anyone performing at Afrikadey! you particularly want to see or meet?
Ara: Yes. Angelique Kidjo.

Afrikadey!: If people want to learn more about you, what website(s) should they check out?
Ara: and facebook/ara ola

Mitsho Mundos

Mitsho Mundos

It was attending church in the Democratic Republic of Congo that Mitsho Mundo first began performing. He was a choral master there, and shared his talents with the youth of the community. His first musical group was called The New Alliance in Christ. Mitsho travelled to Thailand to produce his first album, “Yomokeli Na Ngai,” or “You are my creator,” in 2005. After arriving in Canada in 2007, he named his group Brother Mitsho and His Team, and it was then that he began to integrate himself into the Congolese community of Calgary. He has been using his over twenty years of performing experience to spread his message of religion, humanity, and culture through traditional Congolese music. 

Mundo is proud of his Congolese heritage, and in addition to performing within the community in Canada, he also helps local bands with their musical endeavours. “You have to keep going and find opportunities here,” he advises novices. “Be involved in the community here.” 

Mondo’s musical influences include his father (a musician himself) and Charles Mombaya. It is clear that Mondo’s music is about embracing heritage and religion with as much life as possible, as his energetic vocals rise above the animated and populated band behind him and simply encourages positivity and movement. He looks forward to using Afrikadey! 2011 as an opportunity to share more extensively about his culture and to bring a big show. 

Mitsho Mundos will be performing Monday, August 1st at Eau Claire Market (1 - 4pm), Thursday, August 11th (12 - 1pm) at Olympic Plaza, and Saturday, August 13th at Prince’s Island Park. 

Ogedengbe Drummers

ogedengbeThe Ogedengbe drummers, with furious hands, intricate rhythms and dance moves from Ghana, Nigeria and Mandinke cultures, bring their audience as close as possible to Africa and its people. 

The group performs a tradition form of Nigerian drumming that is hundreds of years old. Kwasi, the group’s leader is one of two original members of the group which was established in 1983. The other members include Wale (original member) Aisha, and Kwasi’s daughter Aysha. Aysha has been dancing and working with Kwasi since she was 5, it was only recently she joined the group. They are very proud of this history: “we just keep this tradition alive in Canada. It has moved on to the second generation now, and we have definitely tried to keep the legacy alive out here”.

At Afrikadey! 2011 the group will be performing with the Igoro Dancers from Vancouver who also practice a traditional Nigerian art form. The Ogedengbe Drummers highly enjoy events with dancers, Kwasi says: “we have always had dancers. African music is rhythm based and dance is an interaction between the drum which is the audio and the dance visualizes what the rhythm is communicating”. 

The only way to hear the Ogedengbe drummers is at a performance as they do not have a current record of their work released. They are traditionalists though, so they mostly perform and tour. They often tour with big groups like Senegal Baobob and Toure Kunda. 

“If your heart beats then you’ve got rhythm, if you have soul and legs then you can dance! So lets do it together and you ‘ll leave happier!” - Drum Master Kwasi 

Experience the Ogedengbe Drummers on Thursday, August 11th at the Arrata Opera Centre Dance Performance with the Igoro Dancers and on Friday, August 12th at the Stephen Avenue Noon Concert with Ara Queen of the Drums.


Joaquin Diaz

joaquin_diaz_t'In Diaz's hands merengue is hard-core stuff, an exhilarating polyrhythmic ride on a runaway train.''
World music festival of Chicago

At nine years old, Joaquin Diaz found himself fascinated by his father’s small button accordion. Even though he wasn’t allowed to touch it, he would explore the instrument at any chance he could come by during his father’s absence. One evening, Diaz’s father came home and caught his son playing a merengue song. The man was so impressed that he began taking Diaz with him to play for private fiestas. This was the beginning of Diaz’s life of performance. 

Diaz comes from a family of musicians and grew up in the Dominican Republic surrounded by merengue music. He can remember as a child watching his uncles perform on entertainment television. It didn’t take long for Diaz to rise to his own prominence, though. Influenced by musicians such as Tatico Enriquez, Trio Reynoso, and merengue staple Angel Viloria, Diaz’s music is infectious, uplifting, and accessible, and gained him due notoriety. By the time he was in his teen years, he was playing events like the PanAmerican Games in Puerto Rico. In 1990, he moved his home to Montreal and began furthering his career within Canada. 

“I want to communicate joy and happiness,” Diaz says of his motivation for performing. He is always hoping that the audience leaves his shows with great energy, a feat easily accomplished with his skill on the accordion which is at once traditional and unique. Diaz hopes to bring tropical energy to Afrikadey! 2011. “Once I see dancing shoes,” he says, “I’ll feel right at home.” 

Joaquin Diaz will be performing on Friday, August 12th at Vicious Circle, and Saturday, August 13th at Prince’s Island Park. 


''Joaquin Diaz is a dynamic performer who not only moves your body and feet, but your heart and soul as well.'' 

Juan Tejeda - co-founder of the International Accordion Festival San Antonio Texas.

For more information see: 

Zale Seck

zaleseck400Music and storytelling was always going to be a life path for Zale Seck.  In Senegal, he was born into the Griot caste and inherited the role of storyteller from his father. And for Seck, telling his story is all about love and good energy. He describes his songs as “various themes of encouragement, sharing, love, to not give up, various situations of Life in Africa. Basically, anything and everything that has to do with life and the love of living.” It’s a powerful and universal message which brings to light the type of effect music can have, of which Seck seems fully aware. In 1997, he performed with other Senegalese musicians in a concert aimed to bring peace to the region of Casamance in Senegal, which was at war and fighting for independence. “It was a beautiful and intense moment,” he says of the experience.

Seck has been very well known in Senegal since his public debut at the age of eleven. In 1992, he formed a group and performed the up-beat style of music for which he is known, Mbalax, which can require a little concentration to dance to. He has been living in Quebec since 2001, where he relates to his Western audience by integrating a pop influenced version of Mbalax into his performances. He also involves himself in the community by offering workshops and private lessons in African percussion around Montreal.

Seck’s life is music, and his music is high energy and joyous. His message of love within music is truly universal. “I see my music as therapy that I wish for people to take home with them and to feel joy from each beat hey hear,” Seck speaks of the effect he would like to see on his audiences.  “Even if they don’t understand the lyrics, most likely they’ll be dancing to the beat!”

Zale Seck will be performing on Saturday, August 13th at Prince's Island Park.


afd2010_002Batafon is a play on words, in Guinea West Africa, Batafon means big river, but in French it means beat to the bottom. Ibrahima Diallo is the creator of Batafon, a traditional Guinean music group. The band has a large drumming component, but also includes guitars and keyboards, and is influenced by reggae and other more contemporary music genres. 

Music is natural to Diallo’s family. They all play traditional Guinea music, but the most famous from his family is his brother 3 time Juno award winner Alpha Yaya Diallo. Alpha has performed at Afrikadey! many times. 

Ibrahima Diallo is on his own path though, his music is a bit political, and a bit about social awareness and positive thought. 

Ibrahima Diallo: “If god gives you something, you shouldn’t be saving it, we should share it with each other, we should be thinking about each other. We are all equal, but we do not have the same chances - luck.” 

Ibrahima has shared the stage with many performers, including his brother, Jimmy Cliff, and Alpha Blondy (from the Ivory Coast) at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. He has also played Afrikadey! for ten years. He says it is difficult to compare Afrikadey! to other festivals as the mentality, the artists, and the audience are of a completely different brand. 

At the moment, Ibrahima Diallo is very proud of his 9 year old son who has also begun to perform and is even working as an actor. Look out for Amadou Diallo in the near future. 

You can catch Batafon’s lively performance on Monday, August 1st at Eau Claire (1-4pm) and on Saturday, August 13th at Prince’s Island Park. 


MoyeenMoyeen is a bright, spirited, friendly and engaging young woman, yet few people know about her secret double life. By day she is a chemical engineer, but by night an accomplished musician. She boasts two degrees, one in chemistry and a second in chemical engineering. Moyeen has always taken her work and academics seriously, but her creative spirit would abandon it all for the chance to make music her career.

Moyeen grew up in Nigeria and started singing when she was 8 years old. She eventually began writing poetry, singing in church, and later backing up other artists. 

When she was 18, her family moved to Canada but Moyeen instead went to the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States. While at University, she joined a reggae band called One Drop. Though they were only together for a year, the band had a huge influence on her music. 

Reggae has always had an influence on her music, especially Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician, composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political dissident. Fela Kuti’s conscious outspoken music motivated Moyeen to create music that influences and inspires audiences.

Her music is a perfect mix of pop jazz, afrobeat, reggae and soul. This fusion has created her hit singles  "Follow My Dreams" and "Mr.Aristo" and helped Moyeen become one of Calgary’s best performers. Her witty lyrics and engaging performances across North America and Africa have wowed her audiences. 

She says “ My music is for creative liberation, everyone should Live Fearlessly, Love Passionately and Dream Unrealistically!” 

Join Moyeen at the secret Monday, August 1st show at Eau Claire Market (1 - 4pm) and on Saturday, August 13th at Prince’s Island Park.

For more info see 


1Dynamq, also know as THE SUDANESE CHILD, was born as Kennedy O. Lorya in Juba, Sudan. Dynamq’s love for music came from attending sunday school, and also singing just for the sake of it. 

As a young kid, Dynamq & his family fled the war in Sudan & moved to Nairobi, Kenya. Around the same time his mother was hospitalized due to a plane crash in Sudan. Growing up in Kawangware in Nairobi Kenya was not easy for Dynamq’s family, It was one of the worst Ghetto areas in Nairobi. To stay out of trouble, Dynamq played Football (Soccer) and sang at local stage shows. With his strong rhythmic vocals, Dynamq always left the crowd wanting more. His first big stage show was at the 1996 King Lion’s Sounds “Rasta Festival” held at the City Hall in Nairobi, Kenya. This festival inspired Dynamq to take music seriously. 

Even though soccer is his first love, Dynamq loves music more than words can describe. Currently Dynamq is in the United States working on his album “SUDANESE CHILD”. While in the United States, Dynamq has managed to share the stage with various artists such as: Wayne Wonder, Buju Banton, Jabali Afrika, Beenie Man, Eek A Mouse, Sanchez, Wayne Wonder, The Roots, King Yellowman, The Wailers Band, Freddie McGregor, Marcia Griffiths, Lymie, Tinga Stewart, Burning Spear, Baha men, and Third World. 

Currently, Dynamq is touring with the world famous SHASHAMANE Sounds International. He has been acclaimed as one of the next big African musicians by Gold Touch Magazine. He also been recognized by Afro Magazine and One World Tribe as one of Upstate New York’s Most Entertaining Musicians, and in 2009 he was won Msaani Awatfs Best Reggae Artist. 

Dynamq is performing on Saturday, August 13 at Prince’s Island Park as well as at the After- Party at Sunset and Vine.


mfivefacesMFive (formerly known as Musaka Five) is nothing like the Jackson Five. The similarities stop at talent, and attractiveness. The band consists of siblings Vince, Grace, Belinda, and cousins Jay and Sephora. While Jay, Sephora, and Vince lay down lyrical raps, Grace and Belinda wow the crowd with their melodic vocals. Their ages range from 16 - 22. 

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, MFive’s content is what differs them from most North American bands. Theirs songs include lyrics about political and societal issues, their experiences as refugees and as Canadians as well as fun, less serious songs. 

MFive fled the Congo when they were young with their parents. Five has a significant meaning to them: Five is number of people in their group, but four is the number of places they have moved as refugees from the Congo: Kenya, Dubai, Bangkok, and Canada. 

MFive identifies themselves as proud Canadians, as Canada has provided the relief of finally feeling like they belong. Their new song “Beautiful Canada” reflects this pride. Vince is the main writer of the group, he explains “when it comes to music, I don’t just write because I feel like writing, I write because it feels more natural to release what I am feeling, you know like anger and sadness”. What is most admirable about Vince’s lyrics, is that he isn’t afraid to ask big questions about government action (or inaction), war, injustices, or about how our current actions may affect generations to come. 

Vince: “I don’t want to write about what other artists are writing about just so that I can be successful”. 

The group looks up to artists like Bob Marley and the late Tupac Shakur. The girls look up to artists like Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson. But much of MFive’s influences come from Canadian independent music artists like Sam Roberts and Dan Mangan. Overall, they respect musicians whose work reflect the sincerity. Vince explains: “If you are a musician, you gotta live by your words and by the music you write”. 

For their second appearance at Afrikadey! MFive will be bringing a little more “Africanism” to their show. They will be performing with a live band, in addition to some choreographed dancing you won’t want to miss. 

MFive will be performing on Saturday, August 13th at Prince's Island Park, and will be emcees at the Creative Youth Concert on Wednesday, August 10th at the Arrata Opera Center. 

Princess Roda

princess roda2Roda aka The Voice Of Sudan or Princess Roda is a poet / female emcee birthed from the depths of mama Africa, in strive to use her artistic platform to work upwards the betterment of the world.

Princess Roda will be performing on August 13th at the Afrikadey! After-Party at the Sunset and Vine Pub and Eatery (2220 - 68th Street NE).

For advanced tickets call 403 - 234 - 9110 or visit Da Blue Nile restaurant on 17th Avenue NE.  

Amelia Craig - Youth Artist

amelia collage2 smallAmelia Craig - (20 years old) 

At 20 years old Amelia is still a raw, emerging talent. Although she has been writing poetry and playing the piano since the age of five, it was less than a year ago that she found her voice. Now, singing comes naturally to her and she feels like she has found her path in life. She says she sings because “It feels right. When I sing and play I get a good feeling about it. It makes me happy.” 

Amelia looks up to Lauryn Hill as an artistic inspiration, but she also enjoys the musical stylings of Amy Winehouse and Alicia Keys. However, Amelia’s mother is by far her biggest influence, having encouraged her from a young age to read books and write poetry, which has ultimately shaped her music and lyrics into what they are today. 

Guyanese on her mother’s side and Ethiopian on her Father’s, Amelia has a rich cultural background to draw upon. While neither of her parents were very musically inclined, they encouraged her to explore new ideas and learn about the world. Naturally, her lyrics explore her own experiences and emotions, as well as world topics, societal issues, and the pressures on all of us to look and act a certain way. 

In the future, she would like to record albums and tour to as many places as possible, sharing her music as she travels. Particularly, she hopes to share the message that it is okay to be yourself; she explains: “Don’t get caught up trying to be what you think you should be. Just be.” She believes it is important to find the path in life that actually makes you happy. 

What will Amelia bring to Afrikadey! 2011 Creative Youth Concert? “Myself, Amelia”. 

Watch Amelia on Wednesday, August 10th at the Creative Youth Concert. Show starts at 7:00pm, pay what you can. 

Naomi Mahdere - Youth Artist

naomi collage smallNaomi Mahdere - (16 years old) 

Naomi Mahdere is a 16 year old academic and musical powerhouse. Not only will she be graduating high school within the next year, but she is also a talented, high-energy performer influenced by Jazz, R&B, and Reggae. Her role models include American singer Jasimine Sullivan and Calgarian guitarist Gary Martin. 

Her parents didn’t feel that music could lead to a strong, successful future; so, they guided her academically, with music as a fun after-school activity. But age 10 Naomi entered a talent competition at her community centre and won second place. Realizing that Naomi was serious about singing, her mother began helping Naomi improve her skills and performance quality. By the age of 12 Naomi competed at the World Championships of Performing Arts for Juniors, where she won a silver medal and the ‘Entertainment Industry Award’. This helped Naomi build the confidence to work hard towards her goals. 

Naomi believes that the more experience you have behind you, the better you will be; therefore, she is planning to attend a top U.S. school in bio-chemistry with the goal of becoming a doctor. Not only that, Naomi hopes to continue performing, but for now her ambition in both academics and arts are competing for attention. 

In the near future, Naomi would like to release a record to spread her music. Perhaps one day she will travel and tour the world, but for now Naomi just loves to perform: “It gives you a rush,” she says, “You go on stage and at first you are nervous, but then you start to feel comfortable and you can really feed off the energy the crowd is giving you, it then feels really natural to be up there.” 

Naomi will be performing on Wednesday, August 10th at the Creative Youth Concert. Show starts at 7:00pm at the Arrata Opera Centre. Pay what you can.

Neilinder Saini - Youth Artist

neilinder collage smallNeilinder Saini - (14 years old) 

One day Neilinder Saini will be a heartbreaker, today his reggae inspired songs make teen girls at his shows swoon with his smooth voice and boyish good looks. Perhaps Neilinder is the boy in Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. 

Neilinder started taking singing lessons in India when he was only 5 years old. At age 11 he began learning the guitar, and when he moved to Canada just over a year ago he began learning the drums and keyboard. Neilinder has become much more serious about his music in the last year because he feels Canada has more opportunities to offer him as a musician. 

His influences include Bruno Mars, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Foo Fighters. His sound at the moment is fun reggae infused pop-rock. When he covers Bruno Mars, it is hard to believe it Neilinder singing and not Bruno. This 14 year old has a voice big enough to win the hearts of the world. Today one of his biggest influences is his music teacher Corey Milner and his mentors at the New Black Centre here in Calgary. 

Looking back, it was really his mom that started it all back in India. His mom entered him into vocal lessons and has encouraged him along the way. Without her support Neilinder wouldn’t have the same level of skills that we enjoy today. 

Neilinder has a bright future in music with many goals: “ I want to write an entire album and get to record a minimum of three music videos. My main goal is to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter and maybe write songs for other people”. 

Neilinder today is a Junior High School student who volunteers in the summer for the Park & Play program for the City of Calgary. Event though he has a full schedule, he finds time to practice every day for 2 hours alone or with his new band at the New Black Centre. 

Don’t miss Neilinder’s performance on Wednesday, August 10th at the Creative Youth Concert. Show starts at 7:00pm at the Arrata Opera Centre. Pay what you can.

Olivier Rowland - Youth Artist

olivier collage smallOlivier Rowland - (17 years old) 

Olivier Rowland is one of a kind. When he isn’t doing stalls on railings or backflips he is working hard at school or his dream job: becoming a rapper. But for the moment Olivier will have to be satisfied with reigning as one of the best teen b-boys Calgary has to offer. 

Olivier says he dances “for the love of it, to move, keep you healthy, and I like being creative”. He enjoys winning competitions because he is proud that he is good at what he does. He explains that “I appreciate the music and the art and where it comes from”. Eventually he’d like to record his own album, and tour to different places.  

He looks up to local dancers like Johnny Rawkit & Mr. Clip, but it was Buddy Irwin that inspired him to start singing at 17. But Olivier doesn’t strictly do hip hop, he also tries  different dance forms like Ballet. He is ready and willing to try any dance genre if it will help him to learn more, and improve his skills. 

His music at the moment is very raw. He has a vast reservoir of experiences to draw from, and he knows it will take time practicing writing, and getting all his ideas and emotions on paper. Eventually he will be able to incorporate his skills on the piano, and then he will be unstoppable, with energetic and intense performances. 

Catch Olivier’s upbeat and intense hip hop performance on Thursday, August 11th at the Arrata Opera Centre Dance Performance. Show starts at 7:00pm, tickets are $10.

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