The Artistic Forum Reclaiming Ownership event part II is back for the final installment.
The first edition @ BFI was an awe-inspiring networking event dream with all UK Black Creatives main players in attendance, sharing ideas, experiences and visions for the future.
Rounding off the Railroad 7 leadership network project, six artists and creative entrepreneurs will showcase ideas which have flourished over an eight month developmental process. The event, taking place on March 30th, will traverse design, music, film, archive, poetry and theatre. This underground creative installation will bring together the collective verve of a group that represents contemporary black British culture and creativity. The group will also share their experiences of their personal and collective developmental process, shedding insider perspectives on new creative strategies.
The installation will feature live art by theatre-maker Deborah Williams fusing over ten year’s worth of character portrayals. She will also be launching her new creative identity on the night. EveWright, whose large-scale landscape art project Walking Drawings is currently on exhibition at the Brewery Arts and will be opening in London in April, will be presenting new sculpture and visuals. Leading spoken word artist Tuggs.t.a.r will preview his new work that marks a departure, fusing film with poetry. Couturier Jan Asante will re-contextualise over twenty years of fashion designs to illuminate moments in the UK’s cultural scene. International pan-African film programmer and consultant June Givanni, will give a sneak preview of her new project – a personal archive that provides an intimate insight into the aesthetic and socio-political history of African cinema. UK based Rwandan DJ Eric Soul will be creating a special atmosphere reflecting new vibes from his company AFROGROOV.
The Railroad 7, a leadership development programme for black artists and creative entrepreneurs, is supported backing by the Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP). Railroad 7 is the first funded project of the Underground Railroad, a network established to connect and support black UK artists. The six artists, who had never previously worked together, collectively directed the event. It is produced by Nkechi Ebite and supported by Underground Railroad Founder Gaylene Gould and Technical Director Derek Richards.
1. For more information contact: Railroad 7
2. The Underground Railroad is a network for black (African diaspora) UK artists and creative entrepreneurs concerned with progressive culture, art and ideas. It runs an online network, a leadership development project called Railroad 7 and a salon event entitled UR>Here.
3. Railroad 7 members:
Jan is a bespoke Design Director at award-winning atelier Gisella Boutique. She has twenty years of experience and is renowned for elevating the profile of ethnic-inspired couture in the UK and capturing dynamism in cross-cultural style aesthetics.
June Givanni is an international pan-African film curator, archivist and consultant. She is director of June Givanni Films Consultancy. She has 30 years of experience and is renowned for developing the context for exhibiting African cinema worldwide and as African cinema’s key international advocate.
Has over twenty years international film and arts programming experience. A Clore Fellow, she is now Director of her consultancy WriteTalkListen which blends coaching and strategy to help develop people and organisations. She is a broadcaster, working with BBC Radio 4 and a writer. She is currently writing her first novel.
Eric Soul is a DJ, performer, producer, project developer and TV host. He is also leader of the artist-led AFROGROOV collective. He has fifteen years of experience and is instrumental in sparking the current rise of popularity and economic relevance of contemporary African music in the mainstream.
Tuggs.t.a.r is an accredited coach, trainer and spoken word artist. He is also the founder of Best Kept Secret poet collective and media company Sunstar Worldwide. He has eleven years of experience and is renowned for developing the spoken word genre in the UK and supporting the creative development of “hard to reach” young black men.
An EMMA award-winning visual artist and Creative Director, Everton Wright is Director of Evewright Studios which blends the commercial and the conceptual to produce high-impact brand solutions. With twenty-six years experience he is renowned for bringing a new design and brand sensibility to UK design and leading black British creative entrepreneurship.
Deborah is a writer, theatremaker, producer, digital composer and accredited coach, and founder of independent production company Reality Productions. She has twenty years experience. She is a respected leader in disability arts and is renowned for being an artist provocateur and a catalyst for change in perceptions of disability and difference.
From the inception of the AFROGROOV concept back in 1998, the level of excitment, support and curiosity from people came from many different backgrounds.
Fellow DJ digged the musical policy and technical approach, clubbers were happy to dance to a new groove, event promoters discovered new sounds and talents, writers, PR and journalist had a new story angle to exploit in-eternam, charity, social and justice campaigners were bridging their causes to the music, producers were inspired by new cultures, business people could smell a dollar, funding institution saw opportunities, African Diaspora rediscovered their roots, Western artist were excited and inspired while musicians of foreign background felt an identity and cultural boost and incorporated more of their traditions into their music, etc... It seemed like it was a win-win situation for all.
As we are witnessing a massive wave of popular revolt in the Arab world, it seemed appropriate to celebrate this great moment with the worldwideweb, a platform that has been an essential tool of communication, source of informations and sheer entertainment for millions of people around the world. The internet has also open a zillions of business opportunity for regular, creative, hard working and brilliant people who might not have otherwise been able to tap into their full personnal potential.
Of course, the capitalist system we live in has conditionned us in believing that meaning of success is personnal and material so of course the big majority of people are aiming at creating a financially sustainable situation for themselves. And that is ok, nothing wrong with that. Nevertheless, there is also a few people who have selflessly dared to dream, dared to suggest and dared to acts in contributing to some positive change in their community, family, society and the world.
AFROGROOV pays tribute to them, you guys keep us inspired and motivated. In our movement, friends, artist and colleagues have come up a few song title, saying and quotes we like a lot so we randomly use them in the signaure of our correspondances because they are very "motivational" and sometimes read a bit like "prophecies"
Here a few, let them be part of your vocabulary:
The Revolution is right here in front of you >> By Breis&TY
Join The Revolution >> By Afro-Pop-Live
Lets Walk Our Talk, Talk Our Walk >> By Ghariokwu Lemi
Open Your Mind, Your feet will Follow >> By Out Of Africa
The Revolution will be broadcast >> By Kirenga
AFROGROOV strongly believe in Soft Power which is defined as the ability to obtain what one wants through co-option and attraction. In contrast to Hard-Power, that is the use of coercion and payment.
Our tools are Music, Art, Culture, Poetry, Creativity which in our reflexion process, should not be separated or overlooked but rather interact with other tools of Hard Power instutions such as politics, finance, military and justice.
Lets finish this post with the magnificent quote coming from the revolutionary and uncompromising mind of the great Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
MUSIC IS THE WEAPON
Enjoy this Sonic Journey Across The Black Atlantic feat Ritchy Pitch, Baloji feat Zaiko Langa Langa, Vieux Farka Toure, Osunlade, FOKN BOIS, Cacique 97, D'Banj, Akon and many more....
From Deep House, Kuduro, Soukouss via Afrobeat into Hop Hop, Ghetto Tech, Naija and Afro Bashment...yummy!
- HIP HOP - KENYA
Bamboo has just signed to former Wu-Tang GM Cedric Muhammad's Hip-Hoppreneur Brand Management company.
Bamboo is already a legend in Kenya and East Africa for good reason and in 2011 this Afro-American management/artist combo is looking to take over the world.
Personnally some of his previous track such as the anthemic African Shit and Hater Wave were adopted as daily companions upon discovery, strong rugged hip hop beat and supa dope lyrical flow in both Swahili and English...he has serious cross-over appeal and if the global meteoric rise of Knaan and Nneka is anything to go by, hopefully, 2011 is set to be hit by a whole new wave of African Urban artists not exactely fitting in the Tropical/World/Exotic box......or even worse.
Keeping it real does matter more than ever!
Requests should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, from South Africa,
KHETHI - SOUL POETRY - SOUTH AFRICA
Jozi favorite Zulu diva, singer-composer, poetess and entrepreuneur Khethi is finally unleashing her hotly anticpated debut X-emplify to the world. An album that has been three years in the making and here again we have a transcontinental effort recorded between Paris, London and South Africa. A few privileged ones do remember her few London appearances a few years back at event such as Afrogroov @ The Ritzy or The 1st African Hip Hop Festival @ Cargo. A totally compelling and gorgeous performer who never fail to captivate audiences wherever she perform, Khethi create a perfect blend of Culture, Soul, Poetry and Jazz style all of her own, sing with a honeyed voice seasonned with wit, clever lyrics that soothe the mind, uplift the spirits and......well don't take my word for it.....
Here is her empowering ode to woman victim of domestic violence:
For the last three weeks, Bill T Jones's creation has taken London by storm. It is a slightly different version from the Award-Winning Broadway version of FELA THE MUSICAL with a brand new cast, musicians...only the leading roles of Fela is still there.
Antibalas was the tight musical unit who re-worked and performed the music for the stateside version while the National Theatre production gave the responsability to re-create the intricate music of Fela to the very capable hand of Dele Sosimi, Rob Hopcraft and Idris Rahman from the very slick Afro/Dub top London band Soothsayers.
The London press launch was really buzzing, both Seun And Femi Kuti were in attendance, Marie Daulne from Zap Mama, DJ Rita Ray amongst a few Nigerians celebrities and a kaledoscopic mix of media, industry crowd and other familiar faces. All were there mingling, drinking and dancing...a free party courtesy of the National Theatre production team.
For the gossips: Apparently the London version was a more pan-African cast and 60% of the cast were french-speaking performers of Carribean and African origin: the happy tap-dancer was not part of the Broadway version: Femi Kuti gave his thumbs up to the play saying it was quite an emotional experience....
Fela! was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical for Bill T. Jones, Best Leading Actor in a Musical for Sahr Ngaujah, and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Lillias White.
Weither you love musical or not....the FELA production is a real creative "tour de force". Critics will be very quick to point out details and question with sarcasms the possibility to produce a rendition of such a complex, facinating, multi-faceted and seriously iconic charachter in a 2 hour play?
Well, you really need to be blinded by negativity to not be impressed by the sheer near-perfect balance between inter-active entertainment, powerful thought-povoking acting , music and dance performance in display while retracing authentic moment of the life of the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick that FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI was.
Because it is the first, it is just the best that it could be and the bar has been set quite high.....So critics are very welcome to create their own version.....more there is...the merrier!
Fela Xmas Party
A celebration of Fela-inspired music
SATURDAY 18 December, 8pm-2am @ The Africa Centre
The Africa Centre wishes you a very merry Christmas and invites you to an exclusive party in homage of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the founding father of Afrobeat music, featuring the cast from the sold-out Fela! Musical currently showing at the National Theatre, and a great Dj line-up, including Djs Eric Soul (AFROGROOV), Nastee McQuaid, Nwachukwu (NEPA/burntprogress) & TRoy (Broadcite).
On the night, we will have a raffle with special Christmas prizes for our guests as well as delicious home-made Nigerian food on sale.
All proceeds from the night will go towards the refurbishment of the Africa Centre premises, scheduled to take place from March to July next year.
Please come along to enjoy and celebrate a night of Fela-inspired music at the Africa Centre with the cast from the Fela! Musical and other Fela Kuti lovers.
If you are a UK reader or just happen to be in London during this pre-NYE period! This is simply the place to be after the Xmas feast...nothing better to burn those extra calories!!
We really look forward to seeing you there!
Book your tickets online now at http://felaxmasparty.eventbrite.com
*The Africa Centre would like to thank all the above-mentioned djs, the cast of the Fela! Musical and artist Daniela Yohannes for making this night happen.