This year’s annual African Festival of the Arts, August 31 – September 3, in Washington Park at 5100 South Cottage Grove Avenue promises to be more exciting than ever.
With the theme, Reflections of Our Culture, it will feature African, African-American and Caribbean artists and musicians. The musical headliner is George Clinton, who will be joined by Dwele, Lyfe Jennings, Kenny Latimore, Nona Hendrix, Joan Collaso & the 11 Divas, and Chicago’s own Kahil El’Zabar.
The newest addition to the Fest this year is the rare opportunity to experience the exotic heritage, arts and entertainment of the French West Indian island of Guadeloupe (pronounced Gwadloup in Antillean Creole) at the Guadeloupe Pavilion, presented by the Africa International House and the Global Music Network of France.
Traveling through the Guadeloupe Pavilion, you will hear some of the sounds of Guadeloupe witnessed on every street corner – the multiple cultural sounds that define the Guadeloupean culture: zouk, Gwo Ka, and beguine music. The band featured in the pavilion will be Melting-Grov and the Sonny Troupe Quartet.
This exciting feast of art, music, food, family fun and shopping for items from all over the Black world will open during the Labor Day weekend (August 3lst) with a stylistic blend of music from New Orleans’ Charles “Horn Man” Neville of the Neville Brothers and Senegalese harpist and vocalist Youssoupha Sidibe.
Musical headliner and festival artistic director Kahil El’Zabar has announced a tribute to Chicago Jazz legend Von Freeman, who passed away this month at the age of 88.
This tribute will take place on Monday, September 3rd beginning at 4:45 and continuing until 6 p.m., featuring many of his fellow jazz colleagues and the South Side Big Band on the Main Stage.
Proclamations will be read from state, local and national government officials, as well.
The Festival will continue its tradition of honoring a Grand BaBa and Grand YeYe, which is bestowed on community elders who have led exemplary lives. This year urban radio pioneer Herb Kent will be crowned Grand BaBa, and 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin crowned Grand YeYe.
Children will enjoy the activities in the Bernice Gardner Children and Family Pavilion Stage where the youngest festival goers can engage in face painting, drumming and drum making, rap music, group play and singing, and crafting projects. Since there will be something for all ages, parents are encouraged to bring their entire family to the Festival.
Executive Director of Africa International House and the Festival chose internationally recognized artist Marvin Sin to design this year’s poster that is keeping with the theme Reflections of our Culture.
“Africa International House is dedicated to the celebration and preservation of African cultures and traditions with the intent to pass them on to future generations,” said festival founder Patrick Woodtor. “In order to do that, we must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward and understand why and how we came to be who we are today.”
Kahil El’Zabar added, “We share an important legacy in terms of our diverse cultural gifts, and how they have completely transformed the 20th and 21st centuries. I humbly encourage everyone to spread the word with exuberance and passion. It is time for Reflections of Our Culture and an opportunity to regenerate. Let’s seize the moment and use the African Festival of the Arts 2012 as the gathering place to re-engage the best of who we are.”
Africa International House (AIH) is one of the major cultural and spiritual connections of the African and African World Community traditions to the African American community of Chicago.
It aggressively carries out its mission of education and engagement through its flagship program, The Annual African Festival of the Arts and a unique Cultural Exchange program in which major figures from all over the African World Community are introduced to Black Chicagoans in programs and forums.
The African Festival of the Arts is sponsored by Africa International House; NBC 5 Chicago; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois; The University of Chicago Medicine; State Farm Insurance; Walgreens; Yellow Tail; The Chicago Park District; The Black McDonald’s Operators Association; The Illinois Arts Council; The National Endowment of the Arts Council; Chase Liquid; Urban Partnership Bank; NAMASTE/Organic Root Stimulator; Save a Leg Save a Life Foundation; State Farm Bank; AMBI; Vocalo of Cultural Affairs; Chicago South Loop Hotel; WVON; African Ancestry, Inc.; The Africa Channel; Soleil’s To Do’s; iRock Jazz; and The Citizen Newspaper.
Advanced tickets are $10 a day; $30 for an adult weekend pass. Daily admission for a family of two adults and up to four children is also $30, and senior citizens and children under 13 pay just $5. (Advanced ticket sales offer expires on August 28).
Daily admission is $20 at the gate and $300 for access to the VIP Main Stage Seating. Visit, www.africanfestivalchicago.org to buy advanced tickets and for updated performance schedules.