Senegal To Host World Music Festival

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The world festival of black arts is planned for Dakar, Senegal, in December. It last was held in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977. The three-week festival has been rebranded the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture.


Senegal is gearing up for the World's Festival of Black Arts and Culture. It's the first event like this in 33 years.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton has a preview from Senegal's capital, Dakar.

(Soundbite of music)

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON: For three weeks in December, Senegal will play host to artists and creators from all over the continent and the African Diaspora. You're listening to one of them, Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour.

(Soundbite of a song)

Mr. YOUSSOU N'DOUR (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing in foreign language)

QUIST-ARCTON: The organizers say other musicians include South Africa's Hugh Masekela and Angelique Kidjo from Benin. Also on the program: visual arts, dance, design, traditional architecture and a book fair, as well as a retrospective of films.

Plus, spokesman Blake Zidell promises graffiti and rap. Neither urban art form likely played a part in the two earlier incarnations of the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures. The first was held in Dakar in 1966, by which time most of Africa had won independence from European colonial rule.

Under the patronage of Senegal's founding-President Leopold Sedar Senghor, himself a poet, the theme then was Africans winning back their dignity and the right to govern themselves. This year's festival's theme is African Renaissance, the Rebirth of the Continent.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR news, Dakar.

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