SIERRA NEVADA WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016, BOONVILLE (CA), JUNE 17TH-19TH 2016


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The 2016 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival started on the wrong note on Friday June 17th as Lee Perry and Don Carlos’ shows were postponed until the next day due to rain. However, the weather on Saturday and Sunday was mild and sunny to the delight of the concert-goers who drove from various parts of the country to the very remote and rural area of Boonville (CA). The venue (Mendocino County Fairgrounds) was packed with novice and seasoned campers, as well as one-day concert attendees. The Festival, though Reggae-based, was very eclectic as usual and boasted musicians from North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Asia. The format was as in the past: Shows during the day and dancehall at night with Bay area and Kingston sound systems playing classic tunes and the latest hits. There were also food, clothing and art vendors who conducted business amidst a Brazilian Carnival-like atmostphere as Samba dancers and drummers marched around the venue. The three-day festival was closed by Alpha Blondy who delivered a great performance where the message of World Peace was pronounced and clear as the crowd roared in agreement.

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A TOUCH OF AFRICA IN SANTA CRUZ, SANTA CRUZ (CA), JUNE 2ND-5TH 2016


“A Touch of Africa in Santa Cruz”, founded by Senegalese Mara Diakhate, took place in this historic beach town which has an affinity for cultural events. The event was organized by Da African Village Team in Santa Cruz which is comprised of Mara Diakhate, Dandha Da Hora, Anne Stafford, Veronica Howard Soto, Melanie Lee Godinho, Shaunte Jackson, Daffany, Abide Bebe, Laura Gilbert-Costa and Katrina Jeffries, to name a few. The Dance conference featured West African dancers and drummers representing their own or various ethnic backgrounds from Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Congo: Renowned Master Dancers such as Alassane Kane, Idy Ciss, Aziz Faye, Oumou Faye (Senegal), Djeneba Sakho, Ousseynou Kouyate (Mali), Marietou Camara (Guinea) and Vivien Bassouamina featuring Drum Ensemble Loubayi (Congo). Brazilian Samba Master Dancer Nilhina Fonseca also flew in from Bahia. And of course, all of the dance classes taught were accompanied by Master drummers from the regions previously mentioned: Ibou Ngon, Mbor Faye, Thiane Sene (Senegal) and Marcos Rodrigues (Brazil) to name a few. These drummers also offered drum classes in their respective disciplines, mainly djembe and congas. Attendance was high as various participants from the Bay area and Santa Cruz attended and there were also dance students from as far as New Orleans.

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Saturday and Sunday respectively ended with performances from local Brazilian band Sambada and Oakland-based West African group Diamano Coura. West African food with vegetarian options was made available to all attendees and there was also African clothing for sale which was showcased on Saturday’s fashion show. A few attendees were able to win airlines tickets to Africa through Ethiopian Airlines who were event donors.

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ANGELIQUE KIDJO, LOS ANGELES (CA), MAY 21st 2016


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Angelique Kidjo performed differently this time around in Los Angeles, in
the more intimate setting of the Luckman Theater which was at
full-capacity. This concert was acoustic as she only utilized a guitar
player, and local drum phenomenon Magatte Sow (Djembe, Sabar & Congas) who
always tours with her when needed. Angelique Kidjo was mostly interacting
with the audience, speaking about her childhood in Benin, musical
influences and humanitarian work (UNICEF, Amnesty International etc…).
She also discussed her humble beginnings as an expatriate musician in
Europe where she was discovered by world renowned music mogul Chris
Blackwell of Island Records, prior to moving to America and becoming a US
citizen. The beloved singer displayed her high octave voice range and sang
in three different languages including her native Fon, English and French,
much to the delight of the diverse crowd. She sang her first childhood song
and own classics, as well as others by musicians that influenced her,
including James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Celia Cruz. This concert was a
success and gave us a glimpse of who Angelique Kidjo is as a human being.

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Thank you Nnamdi Moweta of Radio Afrodicia (KPFK,  90.7FM) for sharing this picture.

 

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