MIAMI, Fla. – Two female artists known for launching their traditions forward are set to perform at the Afro Roots Festival on Saturday, April 6 at the North Beach Bandshell.
Mauritanian psychedelic griot Noura Mint Seymali and Malian spitfire singer/songwriter/ guitarist Fatoumata Diawara will appear along with a guest performance by the Miami-based African Watoto Dance Theatre.
The event, co-presented by the Community Arts & Culture (CAC), Miami Dade College’s MDC Live Arts and the Rhythm Foundation, is set for 6:30 p.m. at 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets are $27.50 in advance and $35 on day of, at afrorootsfest.com. Call 305672-5202.
“For 20 years, Afro Roots Fest has brought the finest in traditional and contemporary African music to South Florida,” said Jose Elias, festival founder and executive director of CAC. “This year, you can add futuristic to the repertoire as the festival will showcase two very innovative artists.”
Malian singer, dancer, songwriter, guitarist, social activist and acclaimed actress (“Timbuktu,” 2014) Diawara is a show-woman with a new album “Fenfo” (“Something to Say”), singing in Bambara over a funky mix of beats from her ancestral Wassoulou region, together with rock, pop and folk.
Seymali draws deep on her West African and Maghreb roots and her band conjures “a full-blown sandstorm of hypnotic grooves, melding traditional Mauritanian instruments, like the ardine and tidinite, within an electrified psychedelic rock band.” Her debut album “Tzenni” was hailed by VICE/Noisey as “arguably the best psych/blues album of the year,” and its follow-up “Arbina” as “the best album in the universe.”
The African Watoto Dance Theatre promotes African arts specifically for local communities that do not have access to an authentic cultural experience. Comprised of dancers from many genres of the African diaspora, their repertoire includes original choreography in traditional West African dances, and Afro-fusion.
The celebration of Africa, women, and the future, features artists who are boldly experimental, yet respectful of their roots.