Pan African Festival


This summer, two festivals celebrate the sweeping cultural wealth of the continental Africa.

Rachel Joyce, co-producer of one of the festivals, was instrumental in bringing Lucky Dube, now deceased, to Minneapolis a year ago teams up with Steve McClellan, longtime talent buyer for First Avenue as well as others from DEMO-Diverse Emerging Music Organization-to form the first year of the Pan African Festival.  Their line-up features first-rate African arts from around the world as well as locally.

Opening night, August 6, sets a precedent with Malian guitarist and singer Habib Koité who performs with his band Bamada at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.  Koité gigged at the Walker over a year ago nearly “blowing the roof off the building” with his exuberance and the audience’s frenetic energy.

Not every event charges a cover.  The second night of the festival offers a free evening of African jazz, art, and wine at Altered Esthetics Gallery.  In addition to music, Pan African Festival offers dance troupe performances and film screenings.  A detailed schedule can be found at DEMO’s website:

This six-day celebration of African arts also includes a nightclub event featuring the region’s popular African DJs (August 8), a free outdoor concert by local and international African musicians on the West Bank including such artists as M.anifest, Z-Plus, and Munnah Myers (August 9) and a day of African music documentary films at the Parkway Theater (August 10). The recent addition of hip hopper K’Naan on August 11th rounds out the artistic menu.

A nonprofit organization, DEMO’s mission seeks to support, educate and promote emerging musicians and enhance communities open to diverse, multi-cultural, musical experiences. Through featuring artists’ performances, reaching out to communities with educational materials, and creating alliances with other institutions, DEMO hopes to enrich the Twin Cities cultural landscape

About Susan Budig

Susan is based in Minneapolis and reports on general assignments for Mshale with a focus on entertainment. In addition to reporting, she is also a writer, poet, teacher and coach.

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