Festivals: African music, dance, fashion and more across Germany

From May to September, African festivals take place across Germany. From the southwestern city of Emmendingen (near Freiburg) to the federal capital and cultural metropolis of Berlin, events celebrating African music, arts and culture are being held.

About 80,000 visitors made this year’s Africa Festival, which took place on 26-29 May in the Bavarian town of Würzburg, one of the most successful in many years. They were four festival days with fantastic musicians, good food and beautiful atmosphere.

It was a festival for everyone. Whether big or small – the festival programme had something to offer everyone. The biggest festival of African music and culture in Europe featured a kid’s programme, culinary trips to the food stalls, a colourful fashion show and the many kiosks offering great works of art and gift items straight from Africa.

Kenako Festival Berlin was held from 2-12 June, parading established and up-and-coming artists, including Wiyaala, the creative artist from Ghana who combines traditional African rhythms with modern pop music. The festival also featured Mali’s superstar Habib Koités, singer Nomfusi from South Africa and the Germany-based pan-African AKWABA gospel singers, among many others.

In Stuttgart, the 15th Summer Festival of Cultures (SommerFestival der Kulturen) will transform the city’s Marktplatz (market square) into a musical melting pot from 12-17 July, featuring stars from the world music scene.

Ghanaian Afro-reggae superstar Rocky Dawuni, the Congolese Afro pop singer Gasandji and the pioneer of Afro-Arab world music Hamid Baroudi from Algeria are among the African artists who will perform in the industrial city. The open-air festival will also parade artists from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas to live up to its billing of a theatre of global rhythms.

The African Music Festival in Emmendingen, from 5-7 August, like every year presents artists from Africa and its Diaspora.  Rey Cabrera and Tokame from Cuba and Julian Marley, son of Bob Marley, from Jamaica are the headliners from the Caribbean.  Mokoomba, the Afrobeat band from Zimbabwe, and the Afro dance and drumming group Agoo from Ghana will represent the mother continent at a festival that has become a big stage for Afro-origin music in Germany. Among other artists billed to perform in Emmendingen are the international choir music group Soul Family, the oriental Ensemble Olivinn from Turkey and the reggae star from Australia, Nattali Rize.

Emmendingen will in addition to the music performances feature after-show parties, an African/world bazaar, a drum workshop and a street parade. An open-air African church service will round up the festival.

With so many festivals taking place across Germany, you can be sure of finding one close to you. Don’t miss out!

Vivian Asamoah

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