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Harbourfront Centre unveils inaugural Habari Africa festival lineup – July 18–20

An unprecedented exploration of contemporary African arts and culture in the heart of Toronto’s waterfront

TORONTO, ON (June 17, 2014) – From the African continent to the shores of Lake Ontario, Harbourfront Centre invites Toronto and its visitors to the inaugural Habari Africa festival, a multi-disciplinary music and arts festival that displays the rich and diverse culture of Africa from July 18-20. Habari Africa, which means “Hello Africa” in Swahili, will feature a mix of traditional, fusion and emerging music and dance styles performed by musicians based in Canada, as well as international touring groups. Through presentations and workshops that celebrate the uniqueness, wealth and diversity of African music, arts and culture, the Batuki Music Society will unravel and display an authentically African experience never before seen outside of the world’s second-largest continent.

“Like the country’s landscape, African culture is large and diverse in ways that cannot be fully understood or appreciated until an individual has actually submersed oneself within it,” shares Nadine McNulty, artistic director of Batuki Music Society. “By drawing on various modern and ancient expressions of stories used across Africa, our hope is that we bring a truly authentic reflection of modern Africa to Toronto’s waterfront.”

Be it the rhythm and variety of African music or the taste of exquisite African-inspired cuisine, the Habari Africa festival is a chance for people of all ages to experience a continent and culture that is home to 15 per cent of the world’s population. Join Batuki Music Society and Harbourfront Centre for a weekend of exploration and engagement with the art, sounds and tastes of Africa.

Habari Africa – Highlights at a Glance

  • Music: Born into a life of a child soldier, Emmanuel Jal survived a life of struggle and emerged a world-renowned recording artist known for his unique style of hip-hop, which is infused with messages of peace and reconciliation.
  • Dance: Founded by Nigerian dance educator, performer and choreographer Sani-Abu Mohammed Allen, Toronto's Ijovudu African Dance Company presents Evolution, a 45-minute non-stop traditional, modern and tribal dance showcase.
  • Theatre: Kwame Nkrumah’s Rise and Fall – A Stage Play by Kwame Stephens, is the latest play by Kwame Stephens, a Toronto based storyteller of Ghanaian heritage. With a career spanning two-decades, he has been telling stories through poetry, short stories and, most recently, stage plays.

For additional information and complete event listings, please visit harbourfrontcentre.com or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.

For information about visiting Harbourfront Centre during the Queens Quay revitalization, visit harbourfrontcentre.com/gettinghere.

ABOUT HARBOURFRONT CENTRE
Harbourfront Centre is a Canadian charity operating the 10 prime acres of Toronto’s central waterfront as a free and open public site. We celebrate the multiplicities of cultures that comprise Canada and enliven the city through the creative imaginations of artists from across the country and around the globe.

ABOUT BATUKI MUSIC SOCIETY
Batuki Music Society is an incorporated non-profit community-based organization that promotes African music and art through performances at music venues throughout the year and culminating into a weekend festival at the end of the programming season. The organization actively seeks out local artists and works with them by helping find performance venues, advice on career development, music recording, touring and management. Batuki Music Society also provides visibility and necessary publicity to artists who hail from minority groups by placing them in concerts and festivals in mainstream venues to help them integrate.


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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Chrissi Forte
Harbourfront Centre
Office: 416-973-4342 | Cell: 416-704-0774
cforte@harbourfrontcentre.com

Nadine McNulty
Batuki Music Society
Office: 416-948-4132
info@batukimusic.com
www.batukimusic.com


HABARI AFRICA LINEUP

HIGHLIGHTS:

Emmanual Jal (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage
In the war-torn region of Southern Sudan, Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child soldier on an unknown date in the early 1980s. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences.

Evolution (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. – Redpath Stage
In the beginning came movement and the movement became "DANCE". Dance is embedded in African tradition stemming from our cultural heritage and passed down through generations and then shared via migration and technology. This is where traditional movements become part of the contemporary world and our modern life. When life comes full circle, the rhythms from our traditional instruments and ritualistic movements bring praise to our ancestors.

Kwame Nkrumah’s Rise and Fall – A Stage Play by Kwame Stephens
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. – Brigantine Room
Who was Kwame Nkrumah? What did he stand for? What was his legacy? Kwame Stephens' new one act play "Kwame Nkrumah's Rise and Fall" explores these questions. The play looks at Nkrumah through his own eyes and that of his mother Nyanibah. Part of Kwame Nkrumah's legacy was being black Africa's first president who led the nation to independence on March 6th 1957 at the heart of the cold war era. Many nations would gain political independence after Ghana - a significant part of Pan African history that matters to black people/Africans in the diaspora. Using multimedia and live music this theatrical piece will "edutain" a cross section of audiences.
There will be a Q & A with the playwright, Kwame Stephens, immediately following the performance.

MUSIC:

Deep Fried Africa – DJ Nice T (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Friday, July 18, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – Redpath Stage
DJ Nice T brings the best of Ndombolo, Rhumba and other Pan-African dance floor sounds to the Redpath Stage as part of DJ Deep Fried Fridays!

Wake Up Madagascar (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Friday, July 18, 2014 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage
A magical concert experience with a mission: to end illegal logging in the rainforests of Madagascar. The Wake Up Madagascar tour features Malagasy star Eusebe Jaojoby, supported by an all-star lineup including Razia, Charles Kely and Saramba, creating an uplifting celebration of salegy music. With its heart-pounding rhythms, rippling guitars, lush vocal harmonies, bouncy accordion and hip-shaking dance moves, salegy represents the soul and spirit of the “Red Island”.

Amadou Kienou (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Friday July 18, 2014 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Redpath Stage
Amadou Kienou was born into one of Burkina Faso’s legendary musical families and received his artistic education from his father and grandfather. As a child he showed remarkable talent, quickly developing a distinctive drumming style on the djembe and tama. The varied repertoire of griot and master djembefola Amadou Kienou consists of songs, dances and musical soundings of the Mandingue rhythms, some of which he has adapted for the drum, such as: Senoufo, Senegalese, Peul, childhood songs, love songs and rhythms from the forest.

Black Bazar (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Friday July 18, 2014 from 9:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage
Black Bazar is a musical concept introduced and produced by the writer Alain Mabanckou in 2012 with the support of the label Lusafrica, and managed by Caroline Blache. The first album featured a return to the musical roots of Congolese Rumba. The numerous artists involved in the project were hailed as “the new masters of the African scene in Paris”.

Toumkak Drummers (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Redpath Stage
The Toumkak Drummers are a high-energy percussion group. They are led bymusician/percussionistNjacko Backo of Cameroon. Thegroupblendsthe rich rhythms and deep spirituality of Central and West Africa into a lively interactive performance with their audience.

Donné Roberts (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage
Donné Roberts is a guitarist, singer and songwriter from Madagascar. Effortlessly combining polyrhythmic African and European folk & groove and blazing North American funk, rock and blues influences, Donné Roberts and his band deliver a remarkably diverse, infectiously joyful and utterly unique live music experience.

Tich Maredza Band (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Redpath Stage
The Tich Maredza Band’s music is an acoustic guitar-based fusion of Zimbabwean traditional and contemporary rhythms and Afrojazz. Powered by messages of inspiration, hope, love and human issues, The Tich Maredza Band puts smiles on faces and feet on the floor.

Mawa J and Rasselas (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Mawa J) & 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Rasselas) – Redpath Stage
Batuki Music Society presents Hip-Hop artists Rasselas and Mawa J. Mawa J is a new breed of young artist who has developed a hybrid form of hip-hop which is rich with traditional African rhythms and sounds. Ethiopian-Canadian Hip-Hop artist Rasselas is known as a pioneer in his field, crafting original beats and lyrics that reflect on the Abesha lifestyle, from Ethiopia to North America.

Daniel Nebiat (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday July 19, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Redpath Stage
Daniel Nebiat is a talented singer/songwriter who plays the “krar”, a five-string harp that is found mainly in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Nebiat’s music is traditional Eritrean folk and infused with elements of contemporary pop-music.

Songs of My Mother (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. – WestJet Stage
Songs of My Mother presents a stellar diversity of voices featuring Tapa Diarra (Mali), Blandine (Democratic Republic of Congo), Ruth Mathiang (South Sudan), Evelyn Mukwedeya (Zimbabwe), Memory Makuri (Zimbabwe) and dancer Mabinty Sylla (Guinea) with a supporting cast of musicians including Diely Mori Tounkara, Kofi Ackah, Adam Solomon, Ebenezer Agyekum, Tichaona Maredza, Ruben Esguerra and Amara Kante. The songs represent a variety of music styles that emanate from several regions of the African continent and have been passed down through generations, from grandmother to mother to daughter

African Jazz & Blues Trio (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Redpath Stage
Adam Solomon is known for his unique African Renaissance Blues style. Known as "The Professor", this Juno award-winning guitar maestro is highly acclaimed for the jazzy licks which infuse his traditional African blues sound. "The Professor" Adam Solomon performs as a blues soloist as well as with his band Tikisa, creating a unique sound that combines traditional and modern coastal East African rhythms, fiesta, rumba, soukous, makossa and highlife music.

Nhapitapi Mbira (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Redpath Stage
Nhapitapi Mbira (Pure Sweetness) is a Toronto based Zimbabwean Music Movement, who specialize in rich old musical and dance traditions from Southern Africa. Nhapitapi music is centered around mbira, an instrument that has been played in Zimbabwe for hundreds of years.

Afrafranto – Toronto Kings of Highlife and Palm Wine (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – WestJet Stage
Afrafranto which means “butterfly” in the Akan language of Ghana perform authentic palm wine and highlife music. Afrafranto has grown into a dynamic group that has entertained audiences over the past few years with their dance-driven music and electric performances.

FOOD:

Boerewors – South African Farmer’s Sausage (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Lakeside Terrace
Learn how to make South African ‘Boerewors’ with Chef Patience Chirisa!
Boerewors is a unique sausage made from a blend of fine spices, coarsely minced beef and is sometimes combined with minced pork, lamb. Boerewors is prepared in all seasons and for all types of functions, occasions and activities. This dish is easily adaptable and can be fried, baked or the best method, grilled. Join Chef Patience Chirisa for this extremely tasty event!

Mandazi – East African (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Lakeside Terrace
Learn how to make the popular East African snack, Mandazi with Chef Patience Chirisa!
Mandazi is a popular East African donut. They are eaten with tea or coffee for breakfast, for a snack anytime, and with the main course for lunch or dinner. Mandazi are a staple at weddings, celebrations and special occasions in Kenya and Tanzania. They are not as sweet as American donuts and do not have frosting or glazing.

FILM:

War Child (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.– Studio Theatre
War Child, an award-winning documentary directed by C. Karim Chrobog, chronicles the tumultuous, shocking, inspiring, and ultimately hopeful odyssey of Emmanuel Jal. A former child soldier of Sudan’s brutal civil war, he is now an emerging international hip hop star sharing a message of peace for his war-torn land and beloved Africa. There will be a Q & A with Emmanuel Jal immediately following the performance.

The Last Song Before the War (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Studio Theatre
The Last Song Before the War captures the inspiring rise and uncertain future of Mali's annual Festival in the Desert told by the Festival director, musicians who perform, and intrepid travelers who journey to Timbuktu. Against the backdrop of stunning music, the film subtly reveals the challenges and triumphs of creating an artistic event in challenging political and economic times. After 12 years of success and unforgettable musical moments, the Festival in the Desert came to a halt in 2012 when separatist rebels and Islamic militants seized control of Northern Mali. The Last Song Before the War chronicles the 2011 Festival, arguably the last edition that still captured its original goals – a global display of peace, reconciliation, and the healing power of music.

WORKSHOPS:

West African Dance (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. – South Orchard Tent
Professional dancers Tapa Diarra and Mabinty Sylla have a challenging and fun workshop on West African Dance planned for people of all experiences and skill levels.

Danse Mutuashi (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 4:00 to 4:45 – South Orchard Tent
Learn to dance Mutuashi, a traditional dance of the Luba people who reside in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Within Congolese culture, song and dance plays an integral part in ritualistic practice, storytelling, and entertainment. Congolese traditional dance is rooted in ritual. Usually done in recognition of the spirit world, each dance has its own rhythm, movements, inspiration and song. Both men and women can dance the Mutuashi and it is usually recommended to wear a wrap around the hips to accentuate the hip movement.
Congolese dancers Blandine and Fumu Jahmez will lead the workshop.

Come 2 Drum (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Boulevard Tent
Come and learn to play the djembe. Come 2 Drum is led by master djembefola Amadou Kienou, a popular performer and instructor in Africa, Europe and North America. Amadou will share his knowledge of West African traditional rhythms and sounds in this fun all ages workshop.

Zimbabwean Mbira Dance (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – South Orchard Tent
Learn about traditional dance steps that accompany the mbira instrument during spiritual ceremonies and celebrations in Zimbabwe. Mbira dance is unique because of its intricate foot movements, graceful pauses and high energy jump bursts. In this workshop we aim to focus on the basic dance steps as well as a brief description of the cultural context of the dance and music. Anyone can dance mbira dance-- from the young to the elderly. Instructed by Memory Makuri and Mutamba Rainos.

Acholi Cultural Dance Association (ACDA) (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. – Boulevard Tent
The Acholi Cultural Dance Association (ACDA) is a traditional dance group from Kitchener and London, Ontario, formed in 1997 by immigrant Acholi families from South Sudan who wanted to preserve their cultural heritage, as well as share it with other Canadians. Some of the dances to be showcased include: Larakaraka, which is a courtship dance for youth, Bwola, the royal dance, and the dance for teenage girls, Dingi–Dingi. These traditional dances have been passed on from generation to generation. Come learn the exciting dances of the Acholi people!

FAMILY:

African Voyage (Batuki Music Society in association with Nouvelle Afrique Musique)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Boulevard Tent
African Voyage introduces children and parents to the many African instruments in addition to the drum, which is the best-known African instrument. During this program, Njacko Backo introduces several varieties of instruments and then invites the audience to take part in the show. Together they create the ambiance of an African village, which brings joy to everyone’s heart.

Moko Jumbie: Dancing Spirits (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – North Orchard
This hands-on workshop is an elementary introduction to the traditions of Moko Jumbie (stilt-dancing spirit of the forest) and all of its transitions from Africa to the Caribbean and Canada. Originating as a secret society of village guardians, Moko Jumbies are now featured in carnival and cultural presentations around the world, still inspiring awe and wonder. Using specially designed short training stilts sized for children, two senior instructors from Swizzlestick Theatre will lead a stilt-dancing workshop.

DANCE:

Acholi Cultural Dance Association (ACDA) (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Redpath Stage
The Acholi Cultural Dance Association (ACDA) is a traditional dance group from Kitchener and London, Ontario, formed in 1997 by immigrant Acholi families from South Sudan who wanted to preserve their cultural heritage, as well as share it with other Canadians. Some of the dances to be showcased include: Larakaraka, which is a courtship dance for the young people, Bwola, the royal dance, and the dance for young girls, Dingi–Dingi. These traditional dances have been passed on from generation to generation.


WORKSHOPS/ LEARNING:

Hair Lost & Found/ African Head Wraps (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – South Orchard Tent
Today, so many women and men suffer from thinning hair and hair loss.If you are one of them, save the date!Join Yemi as she discusses 100% safe, all natural solutions for thinning hair, responsible hair care regimen building, as well as custom headwraps (using Africa Wax Material).Bring a camera, pen and notepad.

Stylizing Textured Hair (Batuki Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Boulevard Tent
Do you need help identifying your curl type? Then this workshop is for you! Yemi will discuss identifying your curl type at a glance and learning how to care for it. She will also cover different basic styling techniques; as well as have LIVE demos of protective styles for short, medium and long kinky natural hair. Bring a camera,pen and notepad.

FAMILY ACTIVITIES:

West African Adinkra Printmaking (Batuki Music Society)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – HarbourKIDS Tent
Create prints inspired by West African adinkra textiles with symbols that express your unique legacy. Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Akan of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire that represent concepts or original thoughts. The symbols and their meanings are still used to convey messages today.

Oware Games by MACPRI – ASO Services International
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Brigantine Tent
Using a 'pit and pebbles' style of game play, families will be reconnected with a traditional African game that has gone through Caribbean incarnations. The legacy of this game will bring families to the past while creating new legacy for future fun!

West African Adinkra Printmaking (Bakuti Music Society)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – HarbourKIDS Tent
Create prints inspired by West African adinkra textiles with symbols that express your unique legacy. Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Akan of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire that represent concepts or original thoughts. The symbols and their meanings are still used to convey messages today.

Oware Games by MACPRI – ASO Services International
Sunday. July 20, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Brigantine Tent
Using a 'pit and pebbles' style of game play, families will be reconnected with a traditional African game that has gone through Caribbean incarnations. The legacy of this game will bring families to the past while creating new legacy for future fun!


VISUAL ARTS:

Visions of Africa
Friday, July 18 to Sunday, July 20, 2014 – Marilyn Brewer Community Space
Friday, July 18, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 12 noon to 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 12 noon to 6:00 p.m.
Moudu Ekhar is an artist who combines different elements of African art and Western art styles especially Cubism, to create unusual and unique images. Ekhar creates strong visual metaphors that are influenced by traditional African mythology, literature and folklore.


LITERARY:

Neem Tree Lounge
Kwame Stephens, Co-Host/ Drummer Nana Boahen
Friday, July 18, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Lakeside Terrace
In East Africa the Neem Tree has over 40 purposes ranging from medicinal, cosmetic and insect repellant to fertilizer, culinary and even as adhesive. Locals call the tree Arobaini, which in the Swahili language translates to 40. Join host Kwame Stephens as he engages poets, playwrights and other performers in conversation. Each of these artists will also showcase their talents. Featured guests include Kwaku Boahen, MK Bonsu, Rehaset, Jude Idada, Aggrey Sambay, Mutendei Akhaya Nabutete, Sedina Fiati and Clara Elie.


VENDORS:

Lake View Market
Friday July 18 – Sunday, July 20, 2014 - Lake View Market
Friday, July 18, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 12 noon to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m.
Located at the heart of our summer festivals, the Lake View Market is a global cosmos in Toronto. Visitors can shop a wide range of clothing, housewares, craft and accessories as part of the full Harbourfront Centre experience.

World Café
Friday, July 18, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 12 noon to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m.
The World Café is an extension of some of the busiest kitchens in the GTA – and an important complement to the summer festival season at Harbourfront Centre.
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