Without African influence, reggae would have never come to be in the Jamaican 1960s
Jamaica, the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, Latin America, the UK and the continental United States – all are associated in the origin and evolution of reggae music as the world knows it. There is another integral place of reggae ancestry, however, that is most times overlooked and rarely recognized. That's right, Africa. The continent is the birthplace of such rich culture that has, for centuries, been subdued and ignored; without African influence, reggae would have never come to be in the Jamaican 1960s – blending mento, calypso, American jazz and New Orleans R&B. Calypso is a blend of Afro-Caribbean music founded in Trinidad and Tobago, which stemmed from the musical genre kaiso which, in turn, traces back to a West African region (now referred to as Nigeria) where French settlers and their slaves arrived in the 1700s. Mento is a form of Jamaican folk music – generally referred to as a great predecessor of the ska and reggae genres – that was directly brought about by West African slaves who absorbed European traditions on the island as they played instruments for their masters. Obviously, American jazz and New Orleans R&B came out of horrific enslavement of Africans within the United States, and thus, modern reggae exists as a musical conglomerate acting as a descendant of multi-cultural blending, all stemming from a direct lineage to Africa. It is clear that respect should be paid to the continent that started it all, and it is dire time to do so.
Boston, Massachusetts is bestowing the long overdue honor to Africa by hosting the first annual AfrikCan Festival: five days of appreciation for everything existing within its culture. AfrikCan is an organization founded to promote social and cultural awareness pertaining to the continent's diversity and the progress of its people. The festival is to be held in Boston's Ramsay Park between the days of September 9 – 13th, postponed from its original July 25 – 29th dates, but still boasting a unique celebration of Africa's positivity and ingenuity across multiple facets including food, music, art and science.
And as a continent so diverse, so must be the festival talent.
- Malian Grammy-winner Oumou Sangare and Alpha Blondy (of the Ivory Coast)
- Wizkid (Nigeria)
- JB Mpiana (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Xalam (Senegal)
- Emeline Michel (Haiti), DJ Black Coffee (South Africa)
- Grammy-winner Angelique Kidjo (Benin)
- Eric Wainaina (Kenya)
- Lira (South Africa)
- Antibalas (NYC)
- Blitz the Ambassador (Accra, Ghana)
- Meta & The Cornerstones (Senegal/NYC)
- Grammy-nominated Les Nubians (Paris, France)
- Akua Naru (US/West Africa/Germany)
- Wiyaala (Ghana), Osekre (NYC)
- Lamine Toure & Group Saloum (Senegal/Dakar).
Clearly, there's no lack of cultural representation between the reggae, folk, Afrobeat and hip hop acts signed on to perform. In between musical sets will walk notable African celebrities and artists such as Abena Appiah, named Miss Universe Ghana 2014, among others.
Being a five-day event, tickets are being sold in packages and by the day, ranging anywhere from $45 to $210 for general admission. There is also a VIP option per dium and a super VIP all-inclusive offer that is purchasable up to the day of the festival. This is the first all-African commemoration of its kind to happen within the United States, so spread the word of support for a continent that deserves it!
AfrikCan Festival 2015
September 9th, 2015
Jim Rice Field
Ramsey Park, Boston, MA