Artists

Artist line-up for 2012

See who is coming to Afrikadey!

Alpha Yaya Dialo

Alpha Yaya Diallo, guitarist, singer, songwriter is a  true multi-cultural Canadian artist performing in French, English and his native Guinean languages of Foulani and Souso. Diallo is a multi-talented artist whose dexterous acoustic and electric guitar-playing, with its fluid melodic lines and compelling grooves, places him in the front ranks of African musicians.  While his band, Bafing, features high energy African rhythms, visually stunning dancers and a dynamic percussion section.

Alpha was discovered in the late 1980’s by Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records when he was lead guitarist for Fatala.  Born in Guinea, West Africa, Diallo was frequently on the move with his family, growing up in a number of regions. He was exposed to a variety of cultures and musical traditions from the Malenke, Sousou, and his own Foulani people. During the time he spent in neighbouring Senegal, Diallo picked up the popular and powerful mbalax rhythm—as well as influences from Cape Verde and the Caribbean.

 

For more information on Alpha, please visit his website.

Beatrice Byakika

Having grown up in both Kenya and Uganda, Beatrice Kateme-Byakika channels her East African musical roots and fuses those sensibilities with a love of contemporary pop and RnB. She writes from personal experience — in English, Swahili, Lusoga, and Samia — and crafts songs ripe with pathos and melody.

Kateme-Byakika's first album In My Blood was released in 2005, followed by Coming Home in 2009. This second album received great praise, earning her the accolade: "This young lady could well be the next artiste to grace the main stage in World Music." Late 2012 will bring her third album to listeners, Platform 9, which centers around the idea of journey. Watch the video of the album's title track, which also gives you a taste of where Kateme-Byakika currently calls home.

Not only a musician, Kateme-Byakika also designs bespoke fashion. Her creations are "colourful explosion[s] of ethnic prints with astute tailoring, traditional fabrics, and leather or bark cloth compounded with contemporary cutting, all elegantly juxtaposed on the trends of London's fashion theatre." In short, the clothing is "simple, elegant and exquisitely feminine."

Kateme-Byakika tells us that she couldn't pass up the opportunity to participate in Afrikadey! as it is an event that supports the promotion of Africa and its culture. Olivier Mtukudzi and Romero Bryan didn't hurt either. These Afrikadey! artists are among her must-meets. Besides performing her set, Kateme-Byakika plans to take in the sun, cold soda pop, guitars, and amazing audience of Afrikadey! For more information about Beatrice Kateme-Byakika, visit her on Bandcamp, Facebook, ReverbNation, and Myspace.

AFRIKADEY! INTERVIEW

(AFD): Afrikadey!(AFD): How does Africa influence your work?
(BB): Beatrice Byakika(BB): My work is greatly influenced by Africa and the experiences as an individual born of African roots.

(AFD): (AFD): Can you describe your style of music?
(BB): My music is a reflection of where I have been, who I am today and my future thus integrating different sounds and styles. It's a mix of East African rhythms and sounds with contemporary modern styles.

(AFD): What is your compositional process?
(BB): It's quite sporadic. It depends on the day and the experiences I encounter in my daily life. Having a recorder is useful: I just hit my on button and record the ideas as they come along. Sometimes it's a full set of lyrics and melody, which is magical.

(AFD): If you are also a lyricist, what is the favourite line you've written?
(BB): I write all my music and find this question difficult especially as each song is a reflection of an experience. One of my favourite full set lyrics are in the song "Don't let this be broken".

(AFD): What kind of atmosphere do you try to create with each performance?
(BB): It's all about connecting with the audience and giving them an amazing experience.

(AFD): Can you tell us about your most recent releases or recording projects?
(BB): My latest album is called Platform 9 and the video is currently available via YouTube. I will be releasing the album at the end of 2012.The essence of Platform 9 is simply a journey. We are experimenting with different styles, thought processes, cultures and feelings whilst still featuring East African musical.

(AFD): If you could perform a duet with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
(BB): I would duet with the whole world if possible but my favourite (just because his music holds personal significance to my life) would be Brian McKnight. If anyone knows him please pass him my number/email/twitter and BB Pin!

(AFD): Tunde tells me you are a fashion designer as well as a musician. What are the differences between these creative outlets?
(BB): As we work with bespoke fashion, the major difference is that the designs are made with the client in mind; thus they influence the finished product. Music is an independent process for me.

(AFD): Could you tell us a little about your fashion aesthetic?
(BB): Our mission is simple: "Letting fashion love you". Our designs are a colourful explosion of ethnic prints with astute tailoring, traditional fabrics, and leather or bark cloth compounded with contemporary cutting, all elegantly juxtaposed on the trends of London's fashion theatre. It's simple, elegant and exquisitely feminine.

(AFD): What does Afrikadey! represent to you? Why did you want to get involved?
(BB): I think the motto to Afrikadey! says it all – Africa is Alive. The opportunity to participate in an event that supports the promotion of Africa and its culture is one I could not pass up.

(AFD): What is your favourite aspect of performing at summer festivals like Afrikadey!?
(BB): Summer festivals are all about sun, cold soda pop, guitars and amazing audiences.

(AFD): Are there any songs that you are particularly excited to perform at Afrikadey!?
(BB): Loving the whole set but would be looking forward to performing "Gwendayira", "Eisanu" and "Tulerwani" as the East African inspired tracks, plus my single from my new album due for release at the end of the year – "Roll like thunder".

(AFD): Is there anyone performing at Afrikadey! you particularly want to see or meet?
(BB): Would love to see Olivier Mtukudzi and Romero Bryan would be a definite for me.

(AFD): If people want to learn more about you, what website(s) should they check out?
(BB): You can get to learn more about me and my music via my bandcamp page.

Bombino Agadez

Omara "Bombino" Moctar, a young Tuareg guitarist and songwriter, was raised during an era of armed struggles for independence and violent suppression by government forces. His electrifying jams capture the spirit of resistance and rebellion while echoing with guitar riffs reminiscent of fellow Africans Tinariwen and Ali Farka Touré not to mention rock and blues icons such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page. Already a superstar in the Tuareg community, with the release of Agadez on Cumbancha Discovery Bombino's stature as one of Africa's hottest young guitarists has been revealed to the world.

To read more please head over to www.cumbancha.com.

Cheryl Foggo

Cheryl Foggo, an author hailing from Calgary, is known for her work on the history of Black pioneers on the prairies (visit Who's Who in Black Canada for a detailed list of Foggo's publications). The piece she is presenting this year at Afrikadey! falls in line with her expertise. John Ware Re-imagined: A Theatrical Reading tells the story of Calgary's Black cowboy, a nineteenth-century slave from South Carolina who came to be a steer-wrestling hero in this city. Foggo finds Ware "one of the most fascinating people [she has] ever encountered through [her] historical research," so she decided to write about him at the most apt time: the centennial of the Calgary Stampede.

But Ware isn't the only project Foggo has on the go: she has recently co-written a play called The Devil We Know with her husband, Clem Martini, which will have its world premiere at the Blyth Theatre Festival this summer. The Devil We Know is set on the edge of Regina in 1944, where teenage African-Canadian twins Vivian and Verna discuss hardship, romance, and hidden treasure. They are alone when evil comes calling. Also, Foggo has published a children's book called Dear Baobob, which charts young Maiko's connection with a small spruce tree in his front yard; he too knows what it's like to be small, and planted in the wrong place. Visit 49th Shelf for a riveting interview with Foggo by Julie Wilson, entitled "In Conversation With: Cheryl Foggo on the Personal, Political and Creating Space for Characters of Colour in Children's Literature".

Foggo identifies African music as important to her writing, and notes she is excited to hear Beatrice Byakika's beautiful voice and Alpha Yaya Dialo's dexterous acoustic and electric guitar-playing at Afrikadey! this August. To learn more about Cheryl Foggo and her many literary projects, like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on goodreads. Mark your calendars for Monday, August 6 at 7pm, when John Ware Re-imagined will be presented at the Arrata Opera Centre.

AFRKADEY! INTERVIEW

Afrikadey(AF): When were you first introduced to John Ware?
Cheryl Fogo(CF): I first heard about John Ware as the name of a legendary cowboy when I was quite young. I didn’t know he was a Black cowboy until my brother saw the John Ware display at the Glenbow Museum when he was in about grade 6.

(AF): What inspired you to write about him?
(CF): He is absolutely one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever encountered through my historical research. I have been gathering information about him and his family for almost 25 years, but because he is one of the better-known figures from Western Canada’s Black history, I’ve spent more time and energy writing about some of the other, lesser-known Black pioneers who were here at the same time as John Ware. Tunde started chatting with me a couple of years ago about it being important to remember John Ware during the Stampede Centennial, and I agreed with him. So, this seemed like a good time to dig out all those dusty files and get started!

(AF): At what stage is the text currently? Do you plan to fully produce it at some point?
(CF): The text has grown from where it was in February – two new scenes so far and a new song. It’s still in process, and yes, I would love to see it fully produced in the future.

(AF): How do you feel about the Calgary Stampede?
(CF): I’ve always enjoyed the Stampede.

(AF): What other projects do you have on the go or in the planning phase?
(CF): I have co-written a play called “The Devil We Know” with my husband, Clem Martini, which will have its world premiere at the Blyth Theatre Festival this summer. My most recent children’s book “Dear Baobab” came out last fall and I’m still doing promotion for it. I’m working on a collection of essays and just recently finished a first draft of a novel I’ve been writing for ten years. And of course “Things Fall Apart” is in development. 

(AF): How is Things Fall Apart shaping up? What was it like to have Chinua Achebe read your adaptation and give the go ahead?
(CF): I was delighted to get the go-ahead for my adaptation from Mr. Achebe’s agent on his behalf. I’m still in discussion with them about details, so until those are sorted out, I won’t say too much more!

(AF): How does Africa influence your work?
(CF): Because of my history - being a person of African descent whose family has lived in western Canada for several generations, my work reflects many different influences, so it’s difficult to pull out the threads and distinguish one from the other. I would say that African music and the music of the African diaspora is important to my work, as well as west African traditions of story-telling. 

(AF): What is your compositional process?
(CF): It’s scattered!  I wish it was more focused, but somehow I seem to manage to get the work done.

(AF): Who are your literary influences?
(CF): Way too many to list – sorry.

(AF): Is there anyone performing at Afrikadey! this August that you particularly want to see or meet?
(CF): Beatrice Byakika’s voice is beautiful and I’ve been a fan of Alpha Yaya Dialo for years. The whole line-up looks great. 

(AF): If people want to learn more about you and your work, what website(s) should they check out?
(CF): They can come visit me on Facebook, whoswhoinblackcanada.com, 49thshelf.com, twitter@cdfoggo and goodreads.com.

(AF): Anything else you’d like to share? Please do!
(CF): Really looking forward to sharing my love for John Ware with the Afrikadey! audience!


David J. David

David J. David


David J. David (David Kabbashi), is a South-Sudanese Canadian singer and musician. Coming from a family of talented musicians, David was inspired to begin composing songs and learning diverse instruments, when he was 16 years old he owned his first musical instrument, the harmonica. 

In 1993, he started playing bass guitar for Comboni College Khartoum (CCK band), where he got the nickname "Didier Masela", after the famous bass player for Wenge Musica from Congo. In 2000, he moved to Cairo, Egypt where he co-founded the band Tandy Musica and performed as the lead singer and guitarist. David immigrated to Canada in 2004, where he continued his musical journey with Dr. Zoo band as a lead guitar player and back up singer. 

David continues to tour North America with diverse artists. Coming from a country that emerged from decades of civil war, he is committed to use his music as a tool to empower, educate and send messages of peace, hope and love. David is passionate about issues concerning youth and supports community enhancement projects. 

With his positive message and loving approach David shares his unique brand of reggae/afrobeat fusion for various audiences.

David is looking forward to sharing the stage with other international artists at various venues throughout the festival including the Prince’s Island Celebration on August 11th along side another Afrobeat influenced South-Sudanese (and soon to be Canadian) performer Emmanuel Jal.


Dele Sosimi

Afrobeat luminary Dele Sosimi made his start with Fela Kuti's band Egypt 80 in 1979, and hasn't looked back since. His musical CV could fill a book. Suffice it to say, Sosimi has performed the world over and now gives back to the community with workshops, performances, and recordings.

Sosimi will lead an Afrikadey! Afrobeat workshop August 7-9 in which participants will gain "exposure to basics and fundamentals of Afrobeat music, which originated from Nigeria and which has now attained global recognition communicating its cultural and political contexts: the essentials of composition, the structure of the rhythms, the call-and-response style of most of the singing and finally an opportunity to perform with a living Afrobeat legend."

Other living legends Sosimi appreciates, and would love to perform with if given the chance, include: Salif Keita, Dodou Ndiaye Rose, Manu Dibango, and Yousou N'Dour. He also notes the greatness of some who've passed away: Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, and Fela Kuti.

A close friend of Fela's, Sosimi remembers the Afrobeat icon's intense work ethic. "UNLESS YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE THE SHOW MUST GO ON" was a common refrain among Egypt 80. Sosimi remembers that "Fela always chastised members of the band who called in sick and missed a show/rehearsal or more. He had to prove it a couple of times when he was so sick he could hardly walk. ‘Get me to the stage side' he would say to his valet and friends. True to form as soon as he heard and saw the band performing the usual overtures, he became transformed and always found the energy to perform a great set. Till I left Egypt 80, sickness was never an accepted excuse for absence."

This rigour has led Sosimi to develop a phenomenal stage presence, putting on joyful, exhilarating, hipshaking performances that rock you to your roots. Sosimi looks forward to the "sense of oneness, of community, of connecting to each other through music regardless of where we are from" that comes with the Afrikadey! festival. He is also excited to see Krar Collective again, as they met at the MAD festival in Ooty South India earlier in the year.

Audiences can look forward to original songs like "Ya Hand", "B B E N Y" and "Local Champion" alongside Fela classics like "Trouble sleep Yanga go wake am", "Water no get enemy" and "Lady".

Follow Sosimi on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and purchase his music through CD Baby.

AFRIKADEY! INTERVIEW

AFRIKADEY!(AF): How does Africa influence your work?

Dele: Africa is more than just an influence on my work. As is evident from the name of the genre of music that I play – Afrobeat – my music is all about Africa, and Nigeria in particular. The origins of the music are clearly Nigerian and African. Several of its exponents, especially Fela Kuti, sing exclusively about African socio-political problems, while others sing about a variety of subjects; but every Afrobeat tune can be related back to Africa. The basic structure of the music, the drums and percussion, the style of singing, are all directly African. So Africa influences my work – in every way every day.

What is your compositional process?

Dele: It varies; there is no one single style. Inspiration can come from various sources at various times. It could be a vocal refrain that occurs to me, or it could be horn line, or a bass line, or even a drum pattern. I then add various ideas for instruments, melodies and harmonies. As the experience with each song differs quite significantly, the only thing I do which is consistent is leave the raw elements on a continuous loop as I compose and watch how my children react to the music. This speaks volumes for me and is in a sense my thermometer.

What kind of atmosphere do you try to create with each performance?

Dele: To a large extent this depends on my line up, the venue, event or festival as I aim to connect with my audience so we can feel and feed off each other. I try to take them on a journey and rock them to their roots as they get involved in what we are experiencing on stage: a joyful, exhilarating, hipshaking groove in which everyone will be immersed and won't want to come out!

Can you tell us about your most recent releases or recording projects?

Dele

- I am currently working on my 3rd Album.

- I have 2 singles due out later this year: "Too Much Information" and "Sanctuary".

- I also have a digitally released "Lloyd Perrin" remix of "Omo Mo Gba Ti E" which is a track from my 2nd album "IDENTITY" this Spring with further remixes due later this year.

- I am producing Ikwunga's (Afrobeat Poet, "Calabash A collection of Afrobeat Poems).

- My Afrobeat Education Enterprise Project "London School of Afrobeat" is growing and I will be appearing under its auspices at Afrikadey! 2012 in Calgary.

Do you have any memorable anecdotes about Fela Kuti that you'd like to share?

Dele: "UNLESS YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE THE SHOW MUST GO ON" Fela always chastised members of the band who called in sick and missed a show/rehearsal or more. He had to prove it a couple of times when he was so sick he could hardly walk. "Get me to the stage side" he would say to his valet and friends. True to form as soon as he heard and saw the band performing the usual overtures, he became transformed and always found the energy to perform a great set. Till I left Egypt 80, sickness was never an accepted excuse for absence.

What does Afrikadey! represent to you? Why did you want to get involved?

Dele: As I said earlier, my music is African music. The Afrikadey! Arts & Culture Society states that it "shares the rich creative works of African cultures - from the continent and throughout the Diaspora - with Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life." So it is only natural that I would want to be involved in this wonderful and praiseworthy initiative the 2nd time around sharing my all with a wide range of fellow human beings who would not ordinarily have a highly privileged exposure to such a 1st hand experience.

What is your favourite aspect of performing at summer festivals like Afrikadey!?

Dele: The sense of oneness, of community, of connecting to each other through music regardless of where we are from, partying for a common cause under the hot summer sun and meeting a whole new set of people from a wide and diverse background. All these are my favourite aspects.

Are there any songs that you are particularly excited to perform at Afrikadey!?

Dele: Yes - my originals like "Ya Hand", "B B E N Y" and "Local Champion" alongside Fela classics like "Trouble sleep Yanga go wake am", "Water no get enemy" and "Lady".

What should participants in your Afrobeat workshop expect?

Dele: Exposure to basics and fundamentals of Afrobeat music, which originated from Nigeria and which has now attained global recognition communicating its cultural and political contexts: the essentials of composition, the structure of the rhythms, the call-and-response style of most of the singing and finally an opportunity to perform with a living Afrobeat legend.

If you could perform with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Dele: That is a hard one as there are so many great gifted people out there alive today like Salif Keita, Dodou Ndiaye Rose, Manu Dibango, Yousou N'Dour and those who have passed away like Fela, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.

Is there anything in Calgary you plan on seeing or doing while you're here?

Dele: I have not planned anything at all apart from performing, sharing and teaching my Afrobeat experience musically with Afrikadey! In Calgary. Please do tell me what I should be prioritizing.

Is there anyone performing at Afrikadey! you particularly want to see or meet?

Dele: The KRAR collective definitely, as we met at the MAD festival in Ooty South India earlier in the year and I am looking forward to meeting them and watching again. Olivier Mtukudzi also and if possible to see and meet everyone else, that would be most ideal and really special.

If people want to learn more about you, what website(s) should they check out?

Facebook Afrobeat Orchestra

Dele's Facebook

Twitter

Others

CDBaby

delesosimi.org/biography

Afrobeatvibration

Emmanuel Jal

 

In the war-torn region of Southern Sudan, Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child solider. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and emerge as a world-famous recording artist with a hit record under his belt. Called an artist "with the potential of a young Bob Marley" by Peter Gabriel, he has performed at Live 8 and Nelson Mandela's 90th b-day concert. His music can be heard in major motion pictures, TV, and he's been featured in major outlets like TIME, USA Today, NPR, CNN, MTV, & the BBC. Emmanual is also a spokesperson for Amnesty International and Oxfam, and created the charitable foundation, Gua Africa. 

Under his record label Gatwitch Records, Emmanuel's new CD "See Me Mama" will be released on the 7th of August. Come grab a CD, an autograph and maybe get your picture taken with Emmanuel... Jal will be turning Prince's Island into one huge release party!

Frankie Joe Rukundo

Frankie Joe Rukundo

Frankie Joe Rukundo began singing when he was a little boy as a street performer in Uganda. His style evolved into a smooth R&B groove with Caribean and African influences.  In 2004, Rukundo chose to release his first single in Rwanda. Rwanda was an appropriate release location as “Rozine” is about “a pretty African lady”.  Since 2004 Rukundo has enjoyed the success of 5 number ones in Rwanda and is now expanding across Africa and Canada with the help of renown Kenyan producer Rober “RKay” Kamanzi. 

Having married a Canadian, Rukundo moved to Calgary from Rwanda in 2009 and since has performed at Montreal’s annual Rwandese Convention and Celebration, the Uganda-focused charity SSUBI’s Bootyfest, and a University of Calgary professional series with Michele Moss. 

Rukundo normally sings solo, but if you are lucky you may catch a band performance in Calgary, or at one of his international shows. A repeat Afrikadey! performer, Rukundo looks forward to playing Afrikadey! because representing Africa is “something close to me, close to my heart”. He explains: “everyone knows Rwanda as a country of blood and massacres,” but Rukundo wants to show it is more than that.

Audiences should expect a catchy danceable music style and his signature charisma. In fact, Rukundo says “if you don’t dance, something’s wrong with you”. His lyrics in five languages (Kinyarwanda, Lugunda, Kirundi, Swahili, and English) will engage everyone from “19 year-olds to 91 year-olds”. 

Kassade Band

Kassade credit Ken Mann

Photo Credit: Ken Mann

Lead by the infamous Kofi Otuo, this new project by the longtime musician and African activist brings the music of the West African High Life to Canada. While Otuo is still known as The Black Hunter of Africa, he relishes the chance to present the danceable, easy and free African High Life music.

Otuo explains that in Ghana the first music was simply percussion-based, but when guitar was introduced people looked at these musicians and said they “were living the high life way.” High life music has now evolved into a fusion of African dance rhythms with the Western sounds of brass and foxtrot.

The 8 piece band includes modern instruments such as the guitar, keyboard, and saxophone, as well as traditional African instruments such as the congas, and batafon. It is a sound that may be recognizably inspired by artists such as Fela Kuti and A.B. Crentsil.  

Otuo notes there weren’t many big African bands in Calgary, which was the impetus for him to form Kassade. And the reception has been phenomenal. Kassade has a regular spot at Kawa and gigs all over the city. Otuo is excited to perform at the Stampede even, to teach those cowboys some African rhythms. He says Calgarians are tired of rock and roll and funk, so he “introduce[s] new music, new sounds to the people.” He is excited to introduce himself, Kassade, and this new music to Afrikadey! audiences in August.



Krar Collective


Krar Collective draws its name from the Ethiopian 5 or 6-stringed harp, and plays cultural music with a modern edge. Its members play traditional instruments, such as the krar lyre and kebero drums, and sometimes are joined on stage by Ethiopian dancers. The group loves to see the audience trying their dances too, even though they are a bit difficult. Krar Collective performances not only sound good, but look good: different songs represent different tribes, and each one has its own style of beautiful dress. Krar Collective doesn't have to look far for inspiration; they have their work cut out for them just to discover their country's own cultural and musical traditions — Ethiopia alone has 85 languages! The group aims to initiate audiences in East African music, which is lesser-known than its Western and Southern counterparts.

"Ethiopia Super Krar", the band's first album, is coming out worldwide in September on the Riverboat/World Music Network label, and can be preordered here. If Afrikadey! patrons want a preview of what they'll see on stage, watch Zelesegna, the song of thanksgiving to God the band usually opens their sets with. For a taste of those difficult Ethiopian dance moves, watch Guragigna. Krar Collective has also just recorded an Ethiopian version of Lily Allen's song LDN, which will be released online in July as part of an album called London Calling — famous London songs covered by bands from different communities in London. The Olympics in London is also enlisting the band in a special project.

"Ethiopia Super Krar" is dedicated to Asnaketch Workneh, the late Ethiopian singer and actress famous for playing krar in the 1960s. If Krar Collective could choose any person to perform with, it would be Asnaketch. Another musical idol of the band is Afrobeat legend Dele Sosimi; serendipitously Krar Collective shared the stage with Sosimi recently in India, and will again at Afrikadey!

To learn more about Krar Collective like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and listen to them on Myspace.



AFRIKADEY! INTERVIEW

Can you describe your style of music and the instruments you use?
We call it cultural music – that means our songs have a long tradition in the community. So we use traditional instruments – krar lyre and kebero drums. These are very ancient instruments but we play them in a modern style.

What kind of atmosphere do you try to create with each performance?
Our shows are lively, colourful and fun. In Ethiopia we have different styles of dancing that are really unique. We love to see the audience trying our dances (even though they are a bit difficult). Different songs represent different tribes and each one has its own style of dress, so we give the audience something to look at too. We try to respect the different tribal customs. Ethiopian music also has a serious side and we include some slower songs that have a darker atmosphere.

Can you tell us about your most recent releases or recording projects?
We have our first album called ‘Ethiopia Super Krar' coming out worldwide in September on the Riverboat/World Music Network label. The songs are the same ones we do on stage, but in the studio we could add some more instruments like washint flute and masenqo fiddle. We're really excited about this as it will be distributed internationally and we're curious to know if people will like it. We also just recorded an Ethiopian version of Lily Allen's song LDN that will be released online in July as part of an album called London Calling – famous London songs covered by bands from different communities in London. We're also excited to be working on a special project connected to the London Olympics. We'll do a show called Horn of Hope featuring singers from Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia with us as well as 4 dancers that will be part of London's River of Music where all the countries in the Olympics will be represented in music.

What does Afrikadey! represent to you? Why did you want to get involved?
This will be our first time in Canada so we feel lucky to be invited by Afrikadey! We think music from East Africa is not so well known as music from West and South Africa, so we hope we can bring something new to fans of African music.

What is your favorite aspect of performing at summer festivals like Afrikadey!?
Usually people don't know our style of music, so when they hear it for the first time they look a bit surprised, and then they start dancing. We love that. It's also good to see new places and people all around the world. We're really lucky to be able to do that.

Do you have any memorable stories from performing?
At a festival in India we had our dancers with us and they need a stick for a special dance. So we borrowed a long baton ('lathi') from a policeman, who was a bit surprised at first but kindly gave it to us. When the audience saw it on stage they all laughed.

Are there any songs that you are particularly excited to perform at Afrikadey!?
We usually like to start our set with a song of thanksgiving to God, called Zelesegna, and then the party gets going!

If you could perform with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
We dedicated our album Ethiopia Super Krar to Asnaketch Workneh who was a singer and actress in Ethiopia who played krar and was famous in the 1960s. She died last summer. On the album we sang one of her famous songs Ende Yerusalem and if was possible we would love to perform it with her. We hope she's enjoying our version.

Is there anything in Calgary you plan on seeing or doing while you're here?
We're hoping to stay a couple of days in Jasper as we heard it's so beautiful.

Is there anyone performing at Afrikadey! you particularly want to see or meet?
Earlier this year we went all the way to India for a festival and we were there with London Afrobeat legend Dele Sosimi, so it's really funny to see that he's coming to Afrikadey! He's a really funny guy with lots of energy on stage so we recommend his session.

If people want to learn more about you, what website(s) should they check out?


Anything else you'd like to share? Please do!
We hope after listening to us you'll want to visit Ethiopia one day!

MFive


MFive (formerly Musaka Five) is a local musical group consisting of siblings and cousins Belinda, Grace, Jay, Sephora and Vince. Their melodic R&B/hip-hop music stylings borrow the best elements of rock and pop, but their story is even more unique.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, MFive's lyrical content reflects their tumultuous upbringing influenced by violence and war. Despite this volatile environment they bonded through music performing at churches and parties, but then their family was expatriated from the Congo forcing the Musaka's to become refugees in Thailand. For five years they moved country to country with no money until Canada accepted them. Music kept them together through the tough times, so today they give back by discussing topical political and social issues, their experiences as refugees, and their pride as new Canadians inspiring the song "Oh Beautiful Canada".

As the main songwriter for the group Vince explains: "when it comes to music, I don't just write because I feel like writing, I write because it feels natural to release what I am feeling."

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. "I don't want to write about what other artists are writing about just so that I can be successful".

MFive now residing Calgary, Alberta aspires to share their story in an attempt to help others find hope even in the darkest times.  To find out more about MFive, visit www.myspace.com/musaka5

N’Nato Camara

camara

In Malinke, N'Nato means "I'm Coming and she arrived in this world dancing". N'Nato Camara is a member of the Susu tribe and comes from the city of Conakry in Guinea West Africa. In Guinea, N'Nato was the principal dancer with the Baillet Taille lead by Mamadouba Camara, lead soloist for the Ballet Djoliba and former Soloist for the Ballet Africans – two of West Africa's most respected traditional groups. She also performed with Circus Baobob, and Kaley Multicultural, and Aklysso.

After arriving in Canada, N'Nato performed with various groups including school shows with Masabo Culture Company and primarily with Alpha Ya Ya Diallo.

"EXPLOSION AFRICANE" in VANCOUVER FESTIVAL Aug 2008

Choreographer and Artistic Director


POLAND & NORTH AMERICA with "Les Amazones de Guinea".


MEXICO CITY, PUEBLA & JALAPA - FEB 2010

She taught dance and performed with Fankayala.

Made a CD there with the group Fankalya.


MEXICO CITY - MAY 2010

She returned to Mexico in May to perform at a festival with Fankalya.


MONTREAL, IQUALUIT and CONAKRY WEST AFRICA - DEC 2010.

Performed with Kalabante & Artcirq

A Japanese woman travelled to Vancouver in May and June 2011 to take private dance lessons from N'Nato.


VANCOUVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE June 2011

West African Dance workshops for graduate dancers.


BC FEDERATION OF LABOUR July 2011

Team Building Workshops using West African Dance for their Summer Institute at the University of Victoria


NAGASAKI JAPAN - Dec 25th 2011 - MARCH 6th 2012

Performed 2 months in Nagasaki


ZACATECAS MEXICO APRIL 4th - 8th 2012

With ALPHA YAYA DIALLO


MEXICO CITY JULY 9th - 27th 2012

Invited to teach dance at the 6th AFRICAN DANCE INTENSIVE

Olivier Mtukudzi

 

Gifted with a deep and gusty voice plus a talent for writing songs that reflect on the daily life and struggles of the people, Mtukudzi began performing in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo. Their single, "Dzandimomotera", went gold and Tuku's first album followed, which was also a major success. Mtukudzi is also a contributor to Mahube, Southern Africa's "supergroup".
 
With his husky voice, he has become the most recognized voice to emerge from Zimbabwe and onto the international scene and he has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond. A member of Zimbabwe's KoreKore tribe, Nzou Samanyanga as his totem, he sings in the nation's dominant Shona language along with Ndebele and English. He also incorporates elements of different musical traditions, giving his music a distinctive style, known to fans as "Tuku Music". Mtukudzi has had a number of tours around the world. He has been on several tours in the UK, US and Canada to perform for large audiences.

For more information please visit: www.tukumusik.com

Romero Bryan

Romero Bryan

London-based fashion designer Romero Bryan doesn't use obviously African prints, but that doesn't mean that Africa doesn't inform his work. Bryan is of Jamaican descent, but his parents drilled into him from a young age that he is originally from Africa, and it's a crime to forget it. When you see a Romero Bryan design the words chic, modern, and avant-garde come to mind; African doesn't immediately occur to you. But when you look closer, it might. Bryan remembers his tutors at the London College of Fashion always asking why he exaggerated the hips and buttocks in his designs. Thinking on it now, he realizes his idea of a sexy woman has always been a curvaceous African woman with an hourglass figure, and thus Africa has seeped into his silhouettes.'

It's no wonder, then, that he initially started designing for voluptuous African American celebrities, customizing denim jeans into outfits for stars such as Beyoncé Knowles and Brandy. Bryan's fashion aesthetic has evolved quite a bit from the days he clung to denim and was fearful of silk chiffons and silk satins; now those feminine and luxurious fabrics are his favourites!'

One of his most recent collections, AW'12, was created during a time of emotional turmoil, which he channeled into his designs. Not going down the obvious “broken heart digital prints” route, instead Bryan drew on abstractions of his feelings: knots. His stomach was in knots, so he knotted his garments.'

Bryan prefers to show his innovative designs during New York Fashion Week as he finds North America more progressive when it comes to race. He notes that "Britain would never be ready to embrace a Black man/woman in Power and until then I'm not really interested in wanting to stay in Britain." Thus he is very excited to participate in Afrikadey!, a festival celebrating everything that descends from motherland Africa. Bryan's goal has always been to amass the money and power necessary to go to Africa and give back to those in need, to help a continent with potential to be a world superpower. He sees his involvement with Afrikadey! as the first step to realize this dream.'

Bryan tells Calgarians to prepare themselves for glamour and passion in his show on Wednesday, August 8 at 7pm. Follow him on Twitter @romerobryan or talk to him after the show to find out how to purchase samples of his designs. For more information about Romero Bryan visit "www.romerobryan.co.uk' and www.facebook.com/pages/ROMERO-BRYAN.

 

AFRIKADEY! INTERVIEW

Afrikadey(AF): Can you describe for us your fashion aesthetic?
Romero Bryan(RB): Beautiful garments that do not conform to the worldly trends so are therefore timeless. 

(AF): How has your style evolved since your graduation from the London College of Fashion?
(RB): Funny you should ask that, as I was looking back over all my designs since even the beginning of my career at just 12 when I used to customize denim jeans into outfits for pop-stars like Brandy, Christina Milian and Destiny’s Child, and I was thinking WOW, I really have grown. I used to be fearful of using fabrics such as silk chiffons and silk satins and stuck to easier to manage fabrics. However, if you refer to my latest collections of late as worn by Alek Wek, Cameron Diaz, etc., I have mastered the art of draping chiffons and manipulating them to do exactly what I want. So that I’m really happy with.

Since graduating from the London College of Fashion and now also teaching there part time, I’ve opened my eyes to a wider world as I am now well travelled too. Just living life causes me to change (but in a good way I may add lol).

Designing was more a hobby when I started out, but now with every collection designed much thought for BUSINESS goes into each produced garment. My primary aim is to SELL UNITS.

So therefore, my core consumer is always in the front of my mind, regardless of how creative I want to be with final designs.

(AF): How does Africa influence your work?
(RB): Being of Jamaican descent, my parents have always stressed the importance of teaching my siblings and I that we're from Africa originally. So I have always remembered my roots. “It’s a CRIME to ever forget it,” as my parents would say lol.

Even though I may not use the obvious prints from Africa in my designs, the silhouettes of designs in past and current collections refer to those of African descent. I love giving my women curves LOL and whenever I think of curves I think of beautiful women of African descent.

In fact this is so funny as I remember whilst studying my tutors at LCF would always question as to why my designs would exaggerate on the hips/buttocks and give the hour glass look, but that was what I found sexy and still do to this day.

(AF): Who is your favourite person to design for?
(RB): My favourite person to design for is someone who appreciates the value of standing out in a crowd going against the grain of society.

(AF): How does the fashion scene in the UK compare to North America’s?
(RB): Personally I prefer that of what I have seen in North America, hence I showcase my work in NYFW than LFW.

It just seems a lot more acceptable to be of African descent there in North America. I mean I joke with my friends but really its true: "Britain would never be ready to embrace a Black man/woman in Power" and until then I'm not really interested in wanting to stay in Britain.

(AFD): What materials, cuts, or styles are you currently hooked on?
(RB): This changes on a daily basis (ask my team lol). One day I’ll come to work and be like this is the look for SS'13 design number one and everyone would just roll their eyes and the following day after I’ve slept on it I’d arrive and scrap it, but I’m no diva lol.

In terms of materials: I absolutely Looooooooooooove silk chiffons as it’s so feminine and luxurious. I’ve been told by my clients that they feel a million dollars in my chiffon creations. And to think my favourite fabric to work with now is something that I used to be very scared of using/managing. 

(AF): Can you tell us about your most recent collections?
(RB): SS'12- Researching through the 'Glamour' times known to men, I wanted to create a collection that women could feel as though they were buying 'investment pieces' to last a life time.

So to ensure this I used the best fabrics as sponsored by Top London Fabric Store BOROVICK FABRICS LTD.

AW'12- I wanted to create a small capsule collection to reflect the way I was feeling at the time of having to produce a collection for that season. My personal life was in a bit of a heart broken stage and I wanted to show that in my work without the obvious broken heart digital prints. I brainstormed all the emotions I was feeling and felt almost stomach knotted and started playing around with ideas around knots- hence garments with knots.

So it’s funny when people commend me on this last collection, as I always think to myself if you only knew what pain I was going through personally then! Over it now though hahaha :p x

(AF): What does Afrikadey! represent to you?  Why did you want to get involved?
(RB): To me, Afrikadey! doesn’t mean to be just black but more anything that descends from the motherland AFRICA (which lets face it- is nearly EVERYTHING LOL).

After my first visit to the motherland this year to Nigeria for Arise Magazine Fashion Week, and receiving the invitation to come to the Afrikadey! Festival, I felt it was a sign that I get involved.

Growing up I’ve always wanted to be able to get rich and powerful enough to go back to Africa and help out situations there and give back to those more in need. So being involved in this project and others associated with Africa feels like I’m one step closer to fulfilling that dream. (Sounds corny and I wasn’t going to reveal that to anyone, but its true....LOL.)

Africa has great potential to be the GREATEST and world's super power, but it’s being raped left, right, and centre by many others, so I’ve always wanted to get to the place where I can make a difference.

I’m honoured to be involved with anything to do with Africa, as coming from a place like the UK, where it seems less cool or acceptable to celebrate African roots, I’ve finally got to the place in my life where I fully embrace and LOVE being of AFRICAN DESCENT.

But I was totally honoured to be asked to be involved in Afrikadey!-  something that has lasted so many years in a particular country as festivals come and go, but its long reign means that it’s something that people appreciate and place highly on their agenda, and who wouldn’t want to be part of that.

(AF): What should Calgarians attending your fashion show expect?
(RB): GLAMOUR, PASSION & CLOTHES they can purchase after the show hehehe :p

(AF): Is there anything in Calgary you plan on seeing or doing while you’re here?
(RB): Well Tunde of Afrikadey! promises to make it a memorable trip, so I’m sure he'll show my mother and I everywhere we need to see and tell us everything we need to know about Calgary. I’m so EXCITED!

(AF): Is there anyone performing at Afrikadey! you particularly want to see or meet?
(RB): Since posting that I’ll be in Calgary on my social networking sites I have supporters in the States that have said they’re flying into Calgary to view collections or even just to meet me, so if I’m really honest I’d love to meet everyone BUT especially those who took the time out of their lives to show me love via emails and other social networking sites.

However, I’d love to meet ALL the performers at Afrikadey!.... Jheeze you have no idea how excited I am to be alongside those involved in Afrikadey! :)

(AF): If people want to learn more about you, what website(s) should they check out?
(RB): www.romerobryan.co.uk
Twitter: @romerobryan
But I’m a Facebook addict so best to share my business page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ROMERO-BRYAN/111368765579049

(AF): Anything else you’d like to share? Please do!
(RB): Id like to make my trip worthwhile in terms of selling units too, as that’s primarily why I take part in shows. SO I will be travelling with just a few samples for SALE, so please follow me on twitter to find out more information or please do come and introduce yourselves to me after the show to find out how to purchase samples :)

Samantha Epp

Samantha Epp

Samantha Epp may be one of the youngest performers on stage this year, but we promise you can expect a lot from this Calgary junior high school student. At age 14 Epp sings R&B with age beyond her years. Singing for as long as she can remember, Epp’s main influences are Christina Aguilera and the timelessly influential Michael Jackson. While she may not be ready to lay out her own thoughts with a pen and paper, she readily embodies the music she takes on. At the moment Epp listens to various artists, and dabbles in other art forms such as photography and drama.

You can catch this vivacious teen at the Creative Youth Talent Show on August 9th, and for a short set at the August 11th Prince’s Island Park Celebration.

Sykologist (& Ringo)

Sykologist & RingoOriginally from South Sudan, Toby (Sykologist) and Ring are brothers who to Canada 11 years ago with their family. Although they are 11 years apart in age, they collaborate frequently. 

After a period of self-discovery and collaboration with other Calgary emcees, Sykologist developed self-confidence from the lows of being introduced to the underground music scene. After experimenting with different types of lyricism; Sykologist decided to go solo and use his platform as an emcee to project positivity and the realities of his generation. 

Performing at popular clubs as well as respected venues such as the Afrikadey! Festival and beneficial events for charity matters. Sykologist credits Afrikadey! for offering him both a platform to share his art and allowing him the room for further exposure. As he raps in his hit Single: ALL THE DREAMERS ft. his younger brother Ringo Jr. “ Still knocking my chest, telling myself that I can do this “ is his way of showing not only through his actions but through his music, that everyone can do what they dream and what they aspire to be. It all starts with a dream, and a single step and then progresses to becoming Sykologist. 

You can see Sykologist perform with his brother at the Creative Youth Talent Show on August 9th, or solo at Prince’s Island Park on August 11th. 

Uncommon Figures

Uncommon Figures

16 year old Neilinder Saini makes rock and roll that will melt teenage hearts, but for now the girls and money aren’t even a speck on the horizon. Returning to Afrikadey! with a new band, the Uncommon Figures, Saini looks forward to the opportunity to showcase his new project. 

Their objective, to be unique while still keeping public appeal. The result is a reggae influenced rock pop that will charm your socks off. Their distinctive appeal starts with their twin guitar section by Moksh Amin and Seyoung Lee with Saini’s smooth tenor vocals guiding the melody. Fellow classmates Joey Rooney and Jacques Forest complete the package with the drums and bass. 

Their commitment is obvious, and their future is bright already performing at numerous fundraisers, all ages shows, and high school events. These kids make music for the performance value and the appreciation from their growing fan base.

Check out these teens at the Creative Youth Talent Show on August 9th and the Prince’s Island Park Celebration on August 11th.


Yeo Kesseke

 

For Yeo Kesseke dance is like medicine. He started dancing at 7 years and at 11, Yeo went to the Ivory Coast National Ballet where he stayed for several years dancing locally and touring around Africa and Europe.  He also danced for Yelemba d'Abidjan and Ballet Djolem d'Abidjan and la Companie de Wouafou de Abidjan.  He moved to Vancouver in 2001 and currently dances for the Masabo Culture Company as well as with his own group West meets West.  Yeo teaches West African drums and dance in various studios around Vancouver.  To learn more about Yeo, please visit kissofafrica.

 

The You Are Minez

The You Are Minez

Pop project of the now infamous Calgarian teen, the You Are Minez will woo you and surprise you. Fusing contemporary noise and lo-fi with antique pop ballads, Jean Sebastien Audet, 16, chose to leave his typically noisey experimental in search of something more widely relatable. The result, the You Are Minez, a collaboration with similarly motivated youth such as Michael Halls, Maddy Fenton, and given a back bone on the drums from the diversely talented adult Chris Dadge who continues to support and guide the young visionary. The result is an appropriately soft edge to the noisy pop project, which will no likely be a pleasant surprise to Afrikadey! audiences. 

Experience the project at the Creative Youth Talent Show on August 9th, and again at Prince’s Island Park on August 11th. 


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