Renowned for its colourful atmosphere and quality of programming, Montreal’s Festival International Nuits d’Afrique presents music and culture from 500 artists originating from more than 30 different countries across Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
With more than 50 indoor and outdoor concerts, the festival is the largest North American gathering of major world music artists and a true celebration of Montreal’s multiculturalism. The 24th edition of the Festival also coincides with the 50th anniversary of independance of many African nations, making it a year of festivities to remember.
Here are some of the Festival’s highlights :
Tuesday July 13: Dobet Gnahoré
Dobet Gnahoré incarnates all the wealth, diversity, beauty and warmth of Africa – its traditions and also its modernity, along with the solidarity and generosity typical of the continent’s people. Impressive on stage, the Ivory Coast native fills the stage with energy, talent and charisma. Where : Cabaret du Mile-End, 5240 Parc Avenue (corner Fairmount), 514-563-1395, buy tickets
Friday July 16: Konono no 1
Congolese band and Grammy Award nominees Konono no 1 will be rocking out on stage with their improvised and recycled instruments on July 16. Known for exploring electroacoustic and traditional African beats, this is one of the main concerts of the festival. Where: Le National, 1220 Ste-Catherine East (corner Beaudry), 514-845-2014, buy tickets
Monday July 19: Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars are a group of musicians who escaped the horrific violence of Sierra Leone’s civil war, landed in a West African refugee camp and formed a band to keep their spirits up and their hopes alive. Since their humble beginnings, the band has managed to transform their story into music that is just equally inspiring. Where : Cabaret du Mile End, 5240 Parc Avenue (corner Fairmount), 514-563-1395, buy tickets
Sunday July 25: Kassav’
This show will be EPIC. Being a huge fan of zouk music, my excitement for Kassav’s passage to Montreal comes as no surprise. The Guadeloupe group is performing at Metropolis and if I can give you one piece of advice it would be: wear flats – you will be dancing all night. Where: Metropolis, 59 Ste-Catherine East (corner St-Laurent), 514 844-3500, buy tickets
Sunday July 25: Lamogoya
Lamogoya is a Burkinabè troup that will be performing during the free closing festivities of Nuits d’Afrique on July 25. The group is composed of Burkina natives but also two Québécois musicians transmitting West Africa’s traditional cultures, but also bringing together people from here and elsewhere. Burkina Faso gained its independence from France on August 5, 1960. Almost 50 years later, this concert will indisputably be a celebration and representation of the country of upright men and hopefully, also an hommage to revolutionary Thomas Sankara, known today as the African Che. Where: Place Émilie-Gamelin (outdoor), 1500 Berri, 514-499-FINA, FREE.
July 22 – July 25: The African Market
From July 22 to July 25, Place Émilie-Gamelin (the Montreal park that serves as the Festival’s outdoor HQ) becomes the Village des Nuits d’Afrique, a place for free concerts, workshops, dance and mostly, shopping at the Marché Tombouctou, a genuine recreation of an African market filled with traditional and contemporary African crafts, clothes and jewellery, and a wide variety of finger-licking good food from the African diaspora.
Corner Berri and Sainte-Catherine