Dec 10, 2010


The opening ceremony for the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, which runs from Friday through Dec. 31 in Dakar, Senegal, will feature performances by Angélique Kidjo, Youssou N'Dour, Carlinhos Brown and the Mahotella Queens.

"The first festival in 1966 in Dakar, Senegal, was to make a statement about the newly independent African states," said Kwame Kwei-Armah, a British playwright and actor who is the festival's artistic director. "This is the third one, and the theme of this festival is the African Renaissance. It's about the Africa we want to create for tomorrow. It's about artists across disciplines talking about the future of their art form."

The second festival, in 1977, was hosted by Lagos, Nigeria.

The lineup of concerts, films, a book fair, fashion shows, photography exhibitions, round-table discussions and more also includes tributes to Miriam Makeba and Wole Soyinka, and performances by the National Ballet of Senegal, Akon, Urban Bush Women and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. A list of events can be found at

Most of the hundreds of events are free and are sponsored by the African Union, an international organization to promote growth and cooperation among the independent nations of Africa. The festival brings together artists and intellectuals from dozens of African and African Diaspora countries, including the United States, Brazil, Haiti, France and Cuba



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