African Cultural Alliance Music Festival

Posted by on July 4, 2003

[posted from AFRICOM list]

The African Cultural Alliance of North America, (ACANA) in collaboration with other cultural organizations in the Commonwealth, presents its annual Millennium of Music Festival: From Africa to America. The festival will be held on August 9th, 2003, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Myers Recreation Center which is located on the corner of 58th Street and Kingsessing Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. Festivities will kick off first thing in the morning and will feature performances of live African music and dance, and an African marketplace featuring food, clothing, and art from the continent. This year’s event would not have been possible if not for the support of the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts – Preserving Diverse Cultures Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and resources from the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, the Father’s Day Rally Committee, The City Representative’s Office, and the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CCTC).

Philadelphia will again play host to this spectacular African cultural, music and dance festival that draws African artists from across the United States to share their rich, elaborate cultural traditions. The festival is produced annually by the African Cultural Alliance of North America whose offices are at 55th & Chester Avenue in southwest Philadelphia. With the influx of African immigrants to the Delaware Valley, our area has become home to some of Africa’s best talents. Our festival features established resident artists and many of these new Philadelphia residents providing a unique opportunity for continental Africans and African American artists to share the stage.

This year’s festivities will be diversified to include nationalities from all parts of the African Diaspora. Representatives from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Zambia, South Africa, and Guinea are all engaged in the planning and implementation of the event. Also featured are a variety of African-American artists such as Philadelphia’s renowned duo “South Street” (De and Nino), and the all women’s a cappella and percussion ensemble “Voices of Africa”, among others. Invited guests include local government officials and Africans dignitaries from Washington and Philadelphia. The day will feature more than twenty performing artists/groups including, Princess Fatu Gayflor, Liberian dancer Komassa Bobo, The Swaray Band, singer/composer Steve Worjloh and many others. According to Alliance’s Artistic Coordinator, Mr. Voffee Jabateh, expected attendance this for this year’s event about 10,000 persons throughout the day. It will truly reflect the desire of the Africans in the diaspora to join hands with their new neighbors and bring their rich cultural
traditions to Philadelphia.

The event will also have significant impact on several Southwest Philadelphia communities, and provide and opportunity to bridge cultural differences through arts and culture. The staging and development of the festival in Philadelphia is also a response to the yearnings of the many African refugee artists who have settled in the region as a result of civil strife in their respective homelands. These artists have been unable to engage in their chosen careers or artistic talents. This year’s festival will focus on the plight of the African refugee in the United States while raising funds for assistance to needy victims of social injustices. ACANA hopes to assist children affected by civil conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone by providing them medical and other rehabilitative resources needed by children in both countries. The organizers have targeted their support for amputated children of Sierra Leone and children with special medical needs from Liberia.

ACANA currently provides an after-school program as well as adult basic education and computer assembly classes, participates in a food give-away program, refugee outreach programs, and parenting education to the African community. For additional information about the Millennium of Music Festival: From Africa to America call ACANA 215-729-8055, or Voffee Jabateh at 215-683-6430.

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