The Africa Centre Summer Festival
Best free ethnic festival we’ve seen this year.
If you happened to find yourself on foot around Central London this weekend, you might be aware that Covent Garden – not far from the hotspots of the Prudential cycle race – was home to the Africa Centre Summer Festival, hosted by London’s famous Africa Centre.
This edition was curated by the acclaimed British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE – and it showed. While the African culture festival encompassed the whole of Covent Garden proper in photography, painting, fashion, handicraft, theatre and music, the principal attractor was the main stage at Covent Garden Piazza.
We were there all Saturday, basking in the sun and the funky African beats. If you weren’t, take a look at the picture gallery above to get a rough idea of what you missed. It was excellent. What most impressed us was how members of all ethnic communities, not just Afro-Caribbeans, from way beyond London were present – all of them cheering, dancing and clearly having a wonderful time regardless of age.
The MCs and DJs on the line-up did a great job at keeping up with the fun-thirsty crowd. Afrobeat, hip-hop, R&B and folk music from all over Africa were on the auditory menu, speakers blasting with original selections, in between African fashion parades and speeches.
By the time Nneka – the internationally famous headline act took stage, the party was ripe. In the same vein as the curator, Nneka is known for taking a socially-conscious approach in her music. Pan-Africanism, women’s struggles and human rights feature prominently as themes of her songs; nevertheless, she manages to distance herself from the pigeon-holing activist-musician stance and she can also put on a beautiful show. Basically, she’s talented beyond any worldly explanation. As you can see from the slideshow, our humble photographer was really too emotional at the time to take a decent shot of the singer.
She closed Saturday night in a characteristically uplifting manner, with an hour-long soulful performance of songs from her latest release as well as some of her biggest hits, one of which we posted below for your delight.
Here and Now 365 has always prided itself for promoting multiculturalism and celebrating the ethnic diversity of the UK.