Back2Black 2012 Festival to Bring the Global sounds of the African diaspora to London

Gilberto Gil - Photo by Priscila Azul
The Back2Black music festival will take place on June 29-30 and Sunday, July 1st, 2012 at Old Billingsgate Market in London. The three-day event is hosted by Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil.

Festival Highlights and newly confirmed artists include:

Live music on three stages featuring an eclectic line-up of upcoming and established UK and international artists including Gilberto Gil, Macy Gray, Marcelo D2, Amadou & Mariam, Hugh Masekela, Roots Manuva, Mart’nália, Fatoumata Diawara and many more

Exciting new collaborations including Toumani Diabaté teaming up with rock musicians Arnaldo Antunes and Edgard Scandurra in their first performance outside Brazil following their recent album release

The Story of the Blues featuring Roberto Frejat band, Vieux Farka Touré, Lucky Peterson and more

Baile Funk phenomenon brought to London featuring DJ Sany Pitbull and more

Jupiter & Okwess International – Kinshasa’s latest musical export make their London debut

Creative Learning events including performances by East London ensemble Drum Heads and Pracatum Drumming School from Bahia and an All Comers Drumming Workshop led by special guest musicians from the Pracatum School

Plus further workshops, interviews, panel discussions, African & Brazilian craft market and a host of food & drink stalls

The three-day Back2Black festival (part of the London 2012 Festival), arrives in the British capital at the end of June in the first ever iteration outside Brazil. Hosted by and featuring Gilberto Gil and produced by the Barbican, Zoocom Events and Serious this unprecedented, urban curated festival is a celebration of African roots in music and culture. It features an eclectic line-up of more than twenty Brazilian, UK and international artists in a heady mix of funk, reggae, dub, samba, blues and hip hop.

Back2Black takes place across three stages (outdoor terrace, main stage in the Grand Hall and club stage in The Vault) at Old Billingsgate Market in East London, which is transformed for the occasion by Brazilian visual artists. During the weekend, Back2Black will host a series of live interviews and panel sessions with artists and leading cultural commentators, including a conversation between Gilberto Gil and Hugh Masekela around the subject of musicians in exile. Additional sessions cover the themes of “Literature and Cultural Change”, and “Cultural Politics and Communities”.

The festival also includes drumming displays and workshops involving Drum Heads – an ensemble of young musicians from East London and the Pracatum School from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

Launched in Rio de Janeiro in 2009, the annual Back2Black festival has quickly established itself as one of the foremost cultural events in Brazil attracting over 35,000 visitors to date. A pioneer in promoting global appreciation for black culture in Brazil, this curated festival explores new ways of presenting music and art and aims to entertain, raise awareness, further cultural exchange and rebuild bridges, bringing Brazil back in touch with its African Heritage.

Since its inaugural edition, the Back2Black festival has taken place in the beautiful setting of the disused Leopoldina railway station close to downtown Rio de Janeiro. To recreate a similar setting, the London festival will be held at Old Billingsgate Market in East London.

Fri 29 Jun, 6pm – 2am

Day ticket £35 / £20 (under 16s)*

Line-up including: Macy Gray; Luiz Melodia; Marcelo D2; Linton Kwesi Johnson; Dennis Bovell; Emicida; DJ Sany Pitbull; Passinhos and MC Fininho & more

Sat 30 Jun, 1pm – 2am

Day ticket £45 / £25 (under 16s)*

Line-up including: Roots Manuva; Criolo; Mulatu Astatke; Hugh Masekela; Femi Kuti; Fatoumata Diawara; Tono; Flavio Renegado; Roberto Frejat; Vieux Farka Touré; Lucky Peterson & more

Sun 1 Jul, 1pm – 12am

Day ticket £45 / £25 (under 16s)*

Line-up including: Gilberto Gil; Amadou & Mariam; Toumani Diabaté; Arnaldo Antunes; Edgard Scandurra; Mart’nália; Natasha Llerena & more

Three-day Weekend Pass £120 / £70 (Under 16s accompanied by an adult)

*Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. Bookable by phone only. Artist line-up and times are subject to change

Barbican Box Office: 0845 120 7550

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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