The beautiful sounds of African-inspired music from will be wafting through the air at two July music festivals this year. The Vancouver Folk Music Festival (July 13-15 at Jericho Beach Park) and the Mission Folk Music Festival a weekend later, on July 20-22 at Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission, both feature some amazing Africano artistry. Here is a little information about just some of the great music in store.
The Vancouver festival welcomes a trio of musicians led by Malian singer-songwriter and guitarist Sidi Touré. Touré’s rootsy music is his own vibrant take on Songhaï blues, drawing inspiration from traditional music and religion, but also incorporating western blues and even rock in a lush sound. Accompanied by a guitarist, calabash player and traditional violin (sokou) player, Sidi’s music immediately draws listeners to an ancient place tucked between the flowing Niger River and the undulating sand dunes of the Sahara.
Also performing at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Bombolessé is a vibrant Montreal-based seven piece samba-reggae band that is both socially-committed and festive! This joy-filled and electrifying band is comprised of a diverse group of musicians, combining funk and rock with Brazilian and African rhythms, with songs sung in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Creole. Strings, brass and percussion combine to deliver a powerful and danceable sound.
Humberto Carlos Benfica, known as Wazimbo, is one of the greatest voices of Mozambique and one of the most famous singers or marrabenta music. He is the chief proponent of that rough and tumble urban dance sound, blending big band sounds, Latin melodies and unique African dance rhythms. He also visits the Vancouver festival with his orchestra for what is sure to be one of the festival’s major hits.
Coming to both the Mission and Vancouver festivals is the dynamic and harmonic Chadian group, now resident in Montreal – H’Sao. H’Sao draws musical inspiration from their homeland and its’ melodies and dances. Add to that, this family-based band has a deep love of gospel along with soul, jazz and pop music. Singing in French, Arabic and English, H’Sao blends all these styles with a joyous appreciation of spirit of African rhythms. They are poly-instrumentalists and dancers, but it’s their voices, their stunning harmonies that capture your heart.
Jacky Essombe, our own brilliant local voice and stunning dancer, brings her love of African music and dance to light up the Mission festival.
With artists coming from near and far this summer, lovers of African music and culture in all its variety and diversity will find a wealth of options to experience and even discover at these two summer festivals. For a full list of the music and artists on tap, African-inspired and otherwise go to both www.thefestival.bc.ca and www.missionfolkmusicfestival.ca. See you there!