DanceAfrica Returns To BAM

The Brooklyn Academy of Music presents the 37th installment of DanceAfrica with an exciting array of cultural events celebrating Africa and the diaspora.

The 37th edition of Brooklyn Academy of Music's DanceAfrica festival is fast approaching, taking place May 17 through 26 at a number of venues throughout Brooklyn. Heralded as 'the nation's largest festival dedicated to African dance,' this year's installment of BAM's longest running cultural showcase of  music and dance from Africa and the diaspora honors the bantaba or 'dancing ground' — a designated meeting place in the community where people gather.

The festival will once again be under the artistic direction of DanceAfrica's founding elder Baba Chuck Davis and to commemorate the celebration, festival organizers have put together a wide range of eclectic film, art, music and dance performances including an opening showcase on Sunday, May 18 featuring the US debut of Madagascar's award-winning performance troupe Groupe Bakomanga. Led by veteran choreographer, Mariette Rasoarinala, Groupe Bakomanga will be bringing their exhilarating blend of Malagasy song and dance to the heart of Brooklyn. Other festival highlights include a free artist talk with painter/sculptor Nnenna Okore, a music and spoken word tribute to Amiri Baraka, a three day outdoor bazaar, late night afrobeat dance parties and more. Watch a short clip of Groupe Bakomanga in action below.

>>>Head here for tickets and a complete listing of DanceAfrica events


Amadou & Mariam Forever

We talk to the legendary Malian duo about their rich past, songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities.

Amadou & Mariam don't require an introduction.

The couple has been making Afro-blues music for over 35 years, drawing inspiration from their home of Mali, for over 35 years.

Their 1999 albumSou Ni Tilé sold 100,000 copies. In 2005, their album Dimanche à Bamako won the French Victoire de la Musique prize for Best World Music Album of the year and the BBC Radio 3 Award for Africa. It also went platinum in France after selling over 300,000 copies. The duo have performed with U2, Coldplay, Blur and many others.

We caught up with them below for a conversation about their rich past, their songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities, ahead of the duo's performance at the upcoming London Jazz Festival 2021.

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