Things are getting balmy for this edition of Festival International Nuits d’Afrique de Montréal! For its 27th edition, from July 9 to 21, the music festival is celebrating the Montreal sun with an homage to the Sahara, from Mauritania to the Sudan passing by Morocco and Chad. Our fair city will be welcoming over 500 artists from over 30 countries for 90 shows and events…
The Festival International Nuits d’Afrique de Montréal helps you get in the mood as of June 25 with its special app that will let you manipulate a poster or T-shirt into a 3-D African dance. It’s a trippy start to a fest that will launch with Algeria’s desert rocker Hasna el Becharia, kicking things off on July 9 with her gravely voice and androgynous ways that recalls John Lee Hooker. She’ll pave the way for the likes of zouk legends Kassav’ (July 13); the Caravane pour la paix, on July 17 – an award-winning project of cultural resistance from Mali; ska originators The Skatalites, from Jamaica, on July 18; and African legend – and multiple Grammy-winner – Angélique Kidjo, who’s the patron saint, as it were, of this year’s edition (July 19). It’s star packed!
The free outdoor fun lasts from dawn to dusk in the main site downtown from July 18 to 21. The whole area surrounding the Loto-Québec stage will transform into the Village des Nuits d’Afrique, where a bona fide souk will add rhythm and warmth to the already happening Ste-Catherine Street. As dozens of shows play all day long onstage, vendors will sell their wares at the Marché Tombouctou while kids can get their faces painted in the Village des enfants. Between shows, storytellers, musicians and dancers will keep things hopping – literally – and give workshops in everything from gumboot to capoeira, percussions and samba.
The grand finale – after days of music and the two mega parades – happens on July 21, and presents none other than the Orquesta Aragón, from Cuba. Since 1939 this orchestra has been creating happy, festive music to light our hearts. Make sure you head to Balattou after, where every night of the fest starting at 11 pm the after party begins. Habitués know that’s where the fun is at.
Festival International Nuits d’Afrique de Montréal, July 9-21, 2013