Toronto’s 19th annual Afrofest, a celebration of African music and culture, will be held Saturday July 7 and Sunday July 8 at Queen’s Park from noon to 10:30pm. Afrofest is a multi-disciplinary event with concerts, dance, theatre, food, a marketplace, and activities for youth and kids, but it’s the music that is the heart of the festival. Traditional and contemporary styles of music by top international touring acts and dozens of African performing groups from across Canada will be seen and heard. The festival has grown every year, and in 2007, 3 different outdoor stages will come to life with music and dance.
Music Africa and Harbourfront Centre will present two concerts leading up to the big Afrofest weekend at Queen’s Park. An Afrofest pre-launch on Friday June 29th will feature the new Afrobeat superstar Seun Kuti, playing with his father Fela’s famous Egypt 80 Band. Opening is Eritrean krar virtuoso Daniel Nebiat.The Official Launch of Afrofest is the Afrofest Launch Party on Thursday July 5th with a concert by Malian kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate‘s Symmetric Orchestra. Katenen Dioubaté opens. Both concerts take place at Harbourfront Centre. Tickets are available at www.harbourfrontcentre.com or 416-973-4000.
This year’s Queen’s Park main stage concerts include veteran Congolese/Kenyan superstar Samba Mapangala &Orchestra Virunga, South Africa’s legendary and sensational Mahotella Queens, Nawal "The Voice of the Comoros", from Madagascar HAJAmadagascar & The Groovy People, Nya Soleil from Cameroon, Sudan’s Ruth Mathiang, Source with Abdoulaye Diabate from Mali, Guinea’s Katenen Dioubaté, Senegalese Zale Seck, DR Congo’s Pekocé, Maroc’N Real with Hassan el Hadi from Morocco, Habeeba Hobeika Egyptian Dance Ensemble, and the very popular local Samba Squad.
A specially-commissioned presentation by the African Dance Ensemble will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Ghana’s Independence at the 2007 festival. Modesto Amegago will lead opening and closing ceremonies in the Ghanaian tradition.
Afrofest at Queen’s Park is a showcase of the richness and diversity of African culture. Enjoy free music workshops at the Baobab Tree Stage along with African Theatre and the Youth Zone, which has an expanded program oriented to youth. For the younger ones there is a Children’s Village area, with activities designed to teach and inform about African culture through art and crafts, drumming, and storytelling.
The popular Babatunde Olatunji drum stage will again host many different drumming ensembles and teachers including performance, drum circles and instruction. There is also a dazzling display of authentic African arts, crafts and delicious foods in the bustling African marketplace.
Afrofest 2007 will be broadcast live from Queen’s Park on CIUT 89.5 FM (Saturday 3pm till midnight, Sunday 1pm till midnight), and CBC Radio will be on site on Saturday recording for future broadcast.
For more info visit www.musicafrica.org.