This year marks the 25th edition of one of Montreal’s most dynamic festivals, Nuits D’Afrique, and it’s no surprise that this year’s theme is A Quarter Century of World Music and the mantra is tradition, boldness and renewal. The extravaganza features 57 artists from 32 countries and 13 jam-packed days of shows featuring the best names of African and world music…
Godfather of world music and renowned musician Manu Dibango will open the festival on July 13 at Metropolis. But before that, you’d be remiss not to check out the Plaatjies Ibuyambo Ensemble kick off the festival on July 12 at 9:00pm at the Lion D’Or. Dizu Plaatjies is from South Africa and the former leader of the group Amampondo. His musical style is hard to crystallize; but suffice it to say that he has mastered a variety of instruments including drums, flutes, mbira, Ugandan harp and antelope horns. The musicians all wear body paint and traditional costumes from all over Africa. It promises to be an exciting show from one of the best African musicians.
On July 19, Grupo Fantasma will take over the Cabaret du Mile-End. Tickets are 30 dollars but it’s well worth it to see the band that toured with the artist formerly known as Prince! Grupo Fantasma are known for their wild breed of Latin funk, Salsa, meringue, cumbia and hail from none other than… Texas. Expect some psychedelic vibes, wild guitars and accordions. Why don’t you go see what makes Prince all hot and bothered?
On July 21, check out Meiway and Le Zo Gang at 9:30pm at the Parterre du Quartier Des Spectacles and see why he’s been called Africa’s dancefloor king. It might have to do with the fact that Meiway has honed his chops playing worldwide for 30 years. He comes from Africa’s Ivory Coast and is best known as a purveyor of Zoblazo, which has an up-tempo beat, featuring high tech instrumentation with traditional and folk rhythms. People dance to this style of music with a white handkerchief to signify joy and purity, so get pure and get down.
Dramane Koné will be heating it up at the Parterre du Quartier des Spectacles on July 24. He’s a percussionist and comes from a long line of musicians in Burkina Faso. He plays the djembe and in addition to being a talented musician, he’s a teacher and an actor and a sensational performer.
The extremely talented Gotta Lago will be closing the festival at Club Balattou on July 24. He’s the king of the Montreal world music scene and a gotta-see-to-believe performer. Expect great rhythm and special guests for an evening full of surprises.
Festival International Nuits D’Afrique, July 12-24