Festival International Nuits D’Afrique – “It is exciting to see all the change going on, to see people moving closer to one another and getting to know each other through music, as we always desired.” – Lamine Touré, founding president of the festival
The 32nd edition of the world music Festival International Nuits D’Afrique will be taking place in Montreal from July 10 to 22 with an impressive line-up of world-class acts. As usual there will be a lively mix of ticketed indoor concerts and free outdoor shows featuring diverse musicians and performers from Africa, the Carribean, and Latin America. Nuits D’Afrique has become a staple of Montreal’s summer festival scene with its outdoor stages at the Parterre of the Quartier des spectacles, the City of Montreal’s designated artistic quarter. This year the festival is humorously billing itself as a worldwide musical journey “with no jet lag” – a fitting description given its scope with 700 artists from 30 countries and 125 concerts + activities packed into 13 nights & days of fun-filled music and dance.
The whole concept of a world music festival is to bring new currents of music and expression to a broad cross-section of the population while spotlighting emerging artists along with top performers on the international scene. By the same token, this opens up new musical vistas for music buffs who are always looking to expand their musical horizons. Journalist and presenter Herby Moreau is thrilled to be the official ambassador of the Montreal festival which has become the greatest gathering place for world music on the planet. “Thanks to Nuits D’Afrique, I can reach the other end of the world in the course of a festival,” he says. In a cosmopolitan city that never sleeps Moreau is right on the mark when he says that Nuits D’Afrique is the “true face of today’s Montréal.”
The world sound fest will open with Femi Kuti & the Positive Force (Nigeria) July 12 at 8:30 p.m. at the MTelus and close with the renowned Sekouba Bambino (Guinea) on the TD-Radio-Canada outdoor stage, July 22 at 9:30 p.m. This year Nuits D’Afrique is providing a special platform for women in song. The Voix du monde series is devoted entirely to showcasing female talent – all seasoned pros with spectacular voices. Look forward to concerts by Djazia Satour (Algeria), Barbara Guillaume (Haiti-Québec), Votia (Réunion), and Banda Kakana (Mozambique). The Grands événements indoor series will showcase world diva Meklit (Ethiopia) while on the outdoor stage Flavia Coelho (Brazil), Ladama (Colombia-Brazil-Venezuela-U.S.), Artiz (Haiti), Naxx Mwa Ndaya ((Congo-Québec), and The Peptides (Ontario) are the star attractions. Other inspiring female voices include Djely Tapa (Mali-Québec) in the Étoiles Nuits d’Afrique series, DJ Yaya (Senegal-Québec) in the Soirée Afrohouse and the K-Iri duet (Burkino-Faso-Éthiopia-Québec).
The 32nd edition of the festival is also marked by younger artists and next generation musical genres with roots in the sounds of African descent plus new labels that riff on urban music styles. For current musical artists with altogether new musical aesthetics in indoor venues, there is the Afro-futurist world of AfrotroniX (Chad-Québec) at the Soirée Future Tribe, followed by Poirier, Mr. Touré! and Yaya in the Soirée Afrohouse, and let’s not forget reggaeman Naâman (France) and his DJ Fatbabs. On the outdoor stage, the Zalama Crew collective (Colombia) will groove to the beat of Afro-Colombian rhythms. Not to be outdone there’s contemporary Afro-rapper Degg J Force 3 (Guinea) and Boogât (Mexico-Québec), an urban sound artist with a distinctive Latino imprint.
To reach a diverse audience of all ages, the festival chose Eddy King, a humourist and musician of Congolese origin to be its spokesperson. He will be seen at the outdoor stage as DJ during the Escale Tropicale TV5. Festival-goers can expect a heady mix of contemporary music styles and dance tunes reflecting the fest’s cultural landscape of music without borders. “Sharing one’s culture is also an opportunity to rediscover oneself,” he says. King hopes that the festival will be a truly shared cultural event enabling participants to travel without leaving home. “You simply have to close your eyes, open your ears and let yourself be carried away by the rhythms to end up thousands of kilometres away.” Thirty-two years in the making and still going strong, it’s a pretty safe bet that Nuits D’Afrique will deliver on that promise. www.festivalnuitsdafrique.com