Africa Utopia is-a month-long festival of music, theatre, film, literature, dance, fashion, talks and debates programmed by Southbank Centre in conjunction with renowned Senegalese singer and human-rights campaigner Baaba Maal, is part of Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World with MasterCard. I had the pleasure of being part of this truly global event, by enjoying one of the events; “The Ultimate Afrobeat Utopia” a club night stroke concert, and was impossible not to feel the buzz, and vibes if unity, that vibrated through the air. Hetero or otherwise, African, or Caucasian, Mature and young, an eclectic mix of Afrobeat lovers congregated at the Clore Ballroom at London’s prestigious Southbank Centreon the 21st of July.
We also were priviledged to also be audience to some members of the Afrobeat equivelent of the Rat Pack, with the likes of Ice Prince and Byrmo, gracing us with their talented presence, hyping the crowd and cumulating the evening wonderfully. What is particularly noteworthy is the seeminingly seamless transition that Afrobeats has undergone- from underground to mainstream. The fact that the event has taken place in London’s Southbank Centre; a world-class events centre for the arts in the capital of one of the most multicultural cities acts as a pretty reliable barometre to how truly global Afrobeats has come, I think.
However though last night was definitely a fun-filled night that you should probably be a little bummed about missing , never fear my dears; there are still 13 more events to enjoy! There is no excuse to miss out on this FABulous festival. Click here for more info; http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk//find/festivals-series/africa-utopia
Take a look at the creator himself- Baaba Maal, on his inspired brain-child, giving us a rundown of events so far, and what he is looking forward to in particular.
Throughout the festival there are performances by iconic musicians who share Baaba Maal’s belief in the power of music for social change. You can also hear from writers who provide insight into the reality of contemporary African culture. Meanwhile an invited group of young delegates – guided by ‘elders’ including Baaba Maal and Lemn Sissay – explore how art projects can be mobilized to bring about social change.
This is a new kind of festival; generating social awareness in collaboration with the arts- do yourself a favour and avoid missing out on this special kind of culture fest- be part of Africa Utopia!