By Gwen KallioThe Afro News Vancouver : Among the 60-odd groups and artists performing at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 15-17 at Jericho Beach Park, one can expect to see a pretty amazing range of music and culture on the festival’s 8 weekend stages. There’s everything from blues and bluegrass to electronically-inspired hybrids. As always at this unique event, you may go to see a familiar name and come away loving a music form or an artist you didn’t even know. They may hail from Haiti and Colombia, from the UK and Kyrgyzstan, the US – or from our own back yard. And some, like southern Africa’s Freshlyground and Sudan ex-patriot Emmanuel Jal, are justly considered major stars on the international stage while performing very different kinds of music. They are also risk-taking artists who have stories to tell and important messages to share, unafraid to speak their truth.
Freshlyground is undeniably one of the best of the new South African music groups – seen, and heard, by at least a billion people. With Shakira, they not only performed and recorded the official theme song for the World Cup (Waka Waka – This Time for Africa), but it was a major hit internationally. The band, though, were already stars in South Africa and beyond. They’ve opened the South African Parliament and played in Germany with Miriam Makeba among a raft of other high-profile appearances.