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athumbs_african-american-festival-2011-mark-dennis-74-1What do you get when cultural diversity, rich history, great food and tantalizing entertainment collide? Put all of these things together to paint a wonderful picture of Baltimore. What better time to visit than for 2012 African American Festival taking place July 7and 8th. The festival is a celebration of African American life, music and culture. An unforgettable adventure in African American history and cultural diversity awaits you in Baltimore. 

Presented by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and produced by greiBO Entertainment with the support of a local festival steering committee, Baltimore's festival of African American music and culture has been a regional tradition for more than 30 years. Baltimore will be the host to as many as 500k visitors enjoying world-class entertainment, celebrity challenges, the Baltimore SuperStar, the African American Film Festival and dynamic exhibits of arts, education and heritage. 

The African American Festival which will also feature Radio One's Stone Soul Picnic is Baltimore's signature event for the summer. You can visit more than 150 vending booths and attractions as well as enjoy 3 stages of entertainment during the 2-day celebration. This family-oriented event, filled with celebrity artists and entertainers, children’s activities, arts, history, educational seminars, will take place near Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank stadium in the city of Baltimore.

When visiting the upbeat mid-Atlantic city, you may as well do the black heritage trail tour. A good place to start is in the historic district of Fell's Point, one of Baltimore's oldest neighborhoods that was founded in the 1600s. The economy here thrived on shipbuilding and fine-tuned shipbuilding technology which helped to win the War for Independence and to fight the war of 1812. It is still home to many people of different ethnicities who helped to settle Fell's Point as well as Tibetans, African American's, and Hispanics.

The British Virgin Islands Music Festival returns this year as a three-day event featuring Grammy Award-winning artist and a diverse lineup of stars. The islands' tourist board is pleased to again support BVI Music Festival 2012, which will be held over Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-27) and will feature a wide range of musical stars. For the first time in several years, the much-anticipated festival will be moving back to the sandy white beaches of Cane Garden Bay, and bringing with it some exciting changes and an array of big-name performers. brit_virgin_islands_thumb_medium300_200

Grammy Award-Winning R&B singer Estelle will headline the show, along with reggae group Third World Band and the classic group Forever Motown. Local performers will round out the lineup of artists for the three days and nights of music, food, dancing, and entertainment. The festival will feature soca and calypso on Friday night, reggae and hip hop on Saturday, and R&B and soul on Sunday. Jazz and fungi music also will be highlighted on side stages, as well as an offering of kids’ activities, food, parties, and all-around good times in an ideal island setting.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to the 2012 Music Festival,” said Ms. Malcia Smith Hamilton, Acting Director of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board. “Our pristine white-sand beaches and turquoise waters provide a perfect backdrop to this exciting annual event. We hope that music-lovers, families and travelers alike will join us in the BVI for Memorial Day weekend this year and experience all the BVI has to offer.” For the complete lineup of artists and more information, visit the event’s official website at www.bvimusicfestival.com. For information on accommodations, surrounding activities, or getting to the BVI, visit the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board’s website at www.bvitourism.com.


The Loews Hotel was the location for a kick-off reception announcing the line-up for this year's Jazz Festival in Atlanta. Musician Russell Gunn and jazz vocalist Kathleen Bertrand were among those in attendance at the preview for the 35th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival. Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed gave a short feature presentation about the festival and this year's line-up. Other presenters included Camille Russell Love, director of the Office of Cultural Affairs, which produces and presents the Atlanta Jazz Festival. Another kick-off show with Johnny O’Neal will take place at Loews Atlanta Hotel on May 25th.Betrand_Michael_gunn

Roy Ayers, the Robert Glasper Experiment,  Kathleen Bertrand and the Tito Puente Jr. Orchestra are among the acts who will be a part of the 35th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival  to take place on May 26-28 in Piedmont Park. Other acts performing that week-end include Ojeda Penn, Grace Kelly and Cyrus Chestnut. Another kickoff show with Johnny O’Neal will take place at Loews Atlanta Hotel.

There will be 31 days of performances during the entire month of in May. Jazz performances will occur in parks, restaurants, clubs and venues around Atlanta. The main weekend event will occur memorial day week-end where traditional and contemporary jazz on two stages from 1 to 11 p.m. will showcase for three days.

During the festival a Go Green Jazz Eco Village will be held to educate concertgoers about air quality, water conservation, transportation and other environmental concerns. Also, Three winners Georgia Stat University's Festival Youth Jazz Band Competition will perform on April 28th as the opening act of the festival at 1 p.m. each of the three days in Piedmont Park.

For more information about the schedule, visit www.atlantafestivals.com.

Pictured: Musician Michael Gunn an jazz vocalist Kathleen Bertrand                                         Photo by Robb Cohen

 

creole_choircrop-random-imageCheck out the Cultural Singing and Dance Choir Ensemble During US City Tour!

The Creole Choir of Cuba this fall has embarked on their first major U.S. tour, with 30 performances in 21 cities. Venues for the tour include two major festivals — Chicago’s World Music Festival and Bloomington, Indiana’s Lotus Music Festival — as well as prestigious performing arts centres such as Symphony Space in NYC, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Phoenix, the Painted Bride in Philadelphia, the Herbst Theater in San Francisco and the Music Center at Strathmore near Washington DC. Several major universities are also hosting the Choir, with student workshops & special performances for the college communities in addition to the group’s public concerts.

The Creole Choir’s ten remarkable singers are of Haitian descent and come from Camagüey, Cuba’s third city, down towards the eastern end of the island. They grew up and studied music in this old colonial town, designated a UNESCO World heritage Site in 2008 for its colonial architecture. They have nurtured music passed down in their families since the early 19th century, gradually adding modern Haitian sounds following their own first visit to a Haitian festival in 1996.

Lead by their Choir Director Emilia Díaz Chávez, Grupo Vocal Desandann, as they are called in Cuba, revived the songs of their ancestors for modern times. Desandann literally means ‘descendents’ and as the choir say: “For us music is like food, it feeds the spirit and is a major inspiration for everyday life.”

In glorious songs like Edem Chanté (Listen To Us!), The Creole Choir celebrate the history of their Haitian descendents enslaved to the Caribbean from West Africa. Drawing from information from generations of Haitian immigrants, the Creole Choir of Cuba promotes and performs music of Haitian origin, especially "La Cancionistica", music which has been enriched by elements of other Creole speaking Caribbean countries.

The Creole Choir of Cuba is already dazzling U.S. audiences and capturing the hearts of the crowd with their moving and powerful shows on stage. The spirited chorus has become one of Cuba’s hottest exports and is must-see for music lovers and theater-goers. Their eclectic melting-pot of sounds, beats and voice ranges has earned them critical applause far beyond world music circles. To learn more about their US tour or when the choir will be in a city near you visit www.creolechoir.com  

Source: CreoleChoir.com

creole_choircrop-random-imageCheck out the Cultural Singing and Dance Choir Ensemble During US City Tour!

The Creole Choir of Cuba this fall has embarked on their first major U.S. tour, with 30 performances in 21 cities. Venues for the tour include two major festivals — Chicago’s World Music Festival and Bloomington, Indiana’s Lotus Music Festival — as well as prestigious performing arts centres such as Symphony Space in NYC, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Phoenix, the Painted Bride in Philadelphia, the Herbst Theater in San Francisco and the Music Center at Strathmore near Washington DC. Several major universities are also hosting the Choir, with student workshops & special performances for the college communities in addition to the group’s public concerts.

The Creole Choir’s ten remarkable singers are of Haitian descent and come from Camagüey, Cuba’s third city, down towards the eastern end of the island. They grew up and studied music in this old colonial town, designated a UNESCO World heritage Site in 2008 for its colonial architecture. They have nurtured music passed down in their families since the early 19th century, gradually adding modern Haitian sounds following their own first visit to a Haitian festival in 1996.

Lead by their Choir Director Emilia Díaz Chávez, Grupo Vocal Desandann, as they are called in Cuba, revived the songs of their ancestors for modern times. Desandann literally means ‘descendents’ and as the choir say: “For us music is like food, it feeds the spirit and is a major inspiration for everyday life.”

In glorious songs like Edem Chanté (Listen To Us!), The Creole Choir celebrate the history of their Haitian descendents enslaved to the Caribbean from West Africa. Drawing from information from generations of Haitian immigrants, the Creole Choir of Cuba promotes and performs music of Haitian origin, especially "La Cancionistica", music which has been enriched by elements of other Creole speaking Caribbean countries.

The Creole Choir of Cuba is already dazzling U.S. audiences and capturing the hearts of the crowd with their moving and powerful shows on stage. The spirited chorus has become one of Cuba’s hottest exports and is must-see for music lovers and theater-goers. Their eclectic melting-pot of sounds, beats and voice ranges has earned them critical applause far beyond world music circles. To learn more about their US tour or when the choir will be in a city near you visit www.creolechoir.com  

Source: CreoleChoir.com

sc_moja_festivalThe 2011 MOJA Arts Festival: A Celebration of African-American and Caribbean Arts in Charleston will begin on September 29 and will run through Sunday, October 9, 2011 in various venues in Charleston, South Carolina.

The MOJA Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary festival that highlights the many African-American and Caribbean contributions to Western and world cultures. MOJA's wide range of events include visual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theatre, children's activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food, and more. Nearly half of MOJA's events are admission-free, and the remainder are offered at ticket prices ranging from $5 to $35. MOJA also includes workshops in the public schools and senior outreach in senior citizen homes.

 
sowto_copyThis year’s Soweto Festival Expo is gearing up to be a knockout event. Staged at the Joburg Expo Centre at Nasrec in Johannesburg, SouthAfrica for the first time, the Soweto Festival Expo runs from the 23rd to the 25th of September. Now in its seventh year, this Expo is expected to break records regarding number of visitors and exhibitors, range of activities and media coverage. Organizers are expecting over 500 exhibitors, covering all manner of products and services from practically every sector including travel & tourism, food, financial services, household goods, crafts, hi-tech and communications, government and non-govenment non profits (NGOs).
For the first time an Arts Pavilion will be featured to showcase the best that Joburg has to offer in painting, sculpture, photography and reading. The Arts Pavilion will be abuzz with creative types eager to show off their talents. There will be many more Small and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) exhibiting than ever before, giving the small business sector in Joburg a realshot in the arm in these tough economic times. In addition, attendee can take advantage of the many large corporates sales and marketing exhibit opportunities.

cape_fashio_imagesDeveloping tourism through fashion is one of four pillars driving the upcoming Cape Town Fashion Week (CTFW), which runs throughout the city from July 13 to 16, 2011, as identified by African Fashion International (AFI). In a first for South African fashion, AFI has partnered with South African Tourism to develop tourism specifically through fashion. AFI’s three other pillars are fashion as a business platform that can steer development in upcoming designers, to grow the commercial viability of the fashion sector and to highlight new trends, such as “sustainable luxury”.

These pillars signify AFI’s approach of looking forward and beyond the event.

With the support of the Cape Town Fashion Council, SA Tourism and Cape Town Tourism, AFI have invited selected design powerhouses to present their Spring/Summer 2011/12 collections at various iconic venues around the city as part of CTFW.

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Slave_Rememberance

The Third Annual Global Slavery Remembrance Day will take place on March 25th in Hampton, VA.  The all-day event will be held at the Crown Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel. The Global Slavery Remembrance Day organization seeks to bring awareness to March 25th in Hampton, Virginia, where slavery began in the United States and on August 23rd in Dallas, Texas where slavery ended. The Global Remembrance Day services pay homage to all victims of slavery and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the first African Slaves who arrived on American soil in 1619.

Venita_BenitezThe mission of the organization is to assist the United States, the United Nations and UNESCO with the goals of bringing worldwide recognition to International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. Its global campaign seeks to set an official world record for the largest number of people ever to stand up for the awareness on the issue of slavery. The founder of The Global Slavery Remembrance Day in Hampton is Venita Benitez, who came up with the idea for such a day as a result of her research in the study of slavery and freedom in American history.


The keynote speaker for this occasion is Dr. Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University and the associate editor of the Journal of Black Studies. He is the author of several books including ““The Warrior Method: A Program for Rearing Healthy Black Boys” and “Belinda’s Petition: A Concise History of Reparations for the Transatlantic Slave Trade.” The conference of events will also include workshops, a libation and drum call ritual, an African Film Festival and panel discussion.  At the end of the Remembrance Day event, there will be a closing reception for conference participants. For more information, visit www.Projecta23.com.

Gambia’s Tenth International Roots Festival offers a West African Cultural Extravaganza!

RootsIf you have been longing to take your first trip to Africa or a return trip, you can start the year out right by visiting the Gambia during its Tenth International Roots Festival. Set to take place on February 4th through 11th, the country known as the Smiling Coast of Africa will definitely be smiling during this festival that has been gaining momentum each year. All types of cultural festivities and educational opportunities about the mother country make this African Diaspora homecoming a time of enlightenment as well as excitement. There is still time to make plans to attend this cultural re-union and rededication.

zorafestThe Zora Neale Hurston Festival, held each year in January in Eatonville, Florida is a time when culture and literary enthusiasts come together to celebrate the life and contributions of the noted author and social activist. The 2011 Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities will be held on January 22 – 30.  Each year the festival attracts thousands of locals and tourists with impressive roster of arts, humanities and cultural programming. The event features museum exhibitions, public talks, panel discussions, workshops and concerts. The outdoor festival will take place that week-end on January 28-30th.


The festival is currently seeking people from all over to join in the fun.  Those with crafted art forms, relics and other merchandise that reflects the culture and traditions of African ancestry can display their wares display as vendors and participants. Opportunities to show your talents in the performing arts are also available. Scholars and interested writers are invited to submit papers for the 2012 Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. The  festival has delivered every year fun and entertainment while continuously being a cultural and learning experience at the same time.