Afrofunk Music Festival: Hear the music, save a life
San Francisco, CA 94117
Annual Save the Children Benefit Expands To Three Nights Across Three Cities
SAN FRANCISCO, CA / June 19, 2006 -- The Afrofunk Festival, the world’s first and only Afrobeat Festival, returns with extra funk for its second year with a three-day tour—July 27 to 29—of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Santa Cruz. This year’s festival brings together world-renowned musicians from across the globe to raise money for children in Sudan, Niger, and Kenya whose lives have been devastated by war and famine. The Afrofunk Festival will once again donate proceeds to the Save the Children Emergency Relief Fund.
Headlined by festival producer Sila and the Afrofunk Experience, the lineup for 2006 also includes legendary kora master Prince Diabate, Afrobeat heavyweight Jujuba, world-famous improvisationist DJ Cheb i Sabbah, the only American band to ever perform at Fela Kuti’s shrine in Lagos, Nigeria—Aphrodesia, 2005 SF Music Award winner (Best World Music) Albino, local favorites Afrobeat Down, all-female Brazilian funk band Goddess of Funk, Liberia’s DJ Jeremiah, and DJ Emmanuel Nado of Guinea.
All the artists are excited about performing together in front of the festival’s large crowds, and yet all recognize the gravity of the cause that brings them there. “The festival is a huge party—it’s about dancing, grooving, and just creating a fun, positive atmosphere. But ultimately, we’re here to raise awareness and money to fight the tragic famine and genocide happening right now to children and families in Sudan, Niger, and my own country, Kenya,” says Sila Mutungi, festival producer and lead singer of Sila and the Afrofunk Experience.
In July 2005 the Afrofunk Festival debuted to sellout crowds and critical acclaim; this year’s performance promises to exceed last year’s success. And with more than 1 million children affected by the crisis in Darfur alone, the festival’s organizers and artists will look for all the help they can get in their fundraising efforts. “It’s been particularly hard to get corporate sponsorship for this year’s event. This festival would not be possible without donations from performing artists and from the people in the community,” Sila adds.
“Children are the hardest hit by the crises in places like Darfur. Everyone can contribute to helping them in some way; the Afrofunk Festival is the most effective way for we as artists to make a difference,” says Sila. “With the malnutrition rates in these places rising and the UN having to cut its aid in half from lack of funds, we believe we can help fill that critical funding gap and hopefully save some lives.”
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About the Artists
Kenya’s Sila and the Afrofunk Experiencecombines traditional African rhythms, Afrobeat, Afro-Latin, reggae, and funk to produce an upbeat, multicultural celebration every time they perform. As a boy growing up in his village in Kenya, Sila often gave his clothes and food to the less fortunate children. Thirty years later, Sila transforms his compassion and concern into action by organizing fundraisers like the Afrofunk Festival as well as other benefits for UNICEF, Save the Children Fund and The Red Cross.
Prince Diabate, the legendary kora master from Guinea, has been called the “Jimi Hendrix of the kora.” One of the most innovative West African artists in music today, Diabate’s concerts has earned him rave reviews from The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker. With his wireless, electro-acoustic kora and use of distortion pedals for special effects, he weaves elements of funk, rock, and reggae into the fabric of his music.
Jujuba—featuring one of the world’s elite talking drum players in Nigeria’s Nojeem Lassisi—delivers an infectious, danceable, and funky blend of Nigerian Afrobeat and Juju music. The band has appeared on numerous recordings with King Sunny Ade and impressed audiences around the world with its mixture of dense rhythmical forms, articulate melodies, and energetic solos.
From the crowded confines of New York’s Knitting Factory to L.A.’s massive, 4,500-person Getty Center, DJ Cheb i Sabbah enjoys a worldwide reputation as a magician of the dance floor. Sabbah’s improvisational performances thread pre-composed tracks with massive visual projections to create one-of-a-kind works that he is dedicated to presenting to audiences in person, just as he did in Paris in the 60s, with a stack of 45s in front of him.
Aphrodesia, the only American band to ever play at Fela Kuti’s shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, emerged from the fertile San Francisco Bay Area music scene in 2003. The band exploded into the national consciousness in 2004 with the “Just Vote Tour,” a swing-state voter registration tour that took them to NYC and back in a vegetable oil-powered bus and landed the group on the cover of USA Today. The band’s debut CD, “Shackrobeat Vol. 1” (Flatbed Lamborghini), was picked as one of the best records of 2003 by the East Bay Express; their second CD, 2005’s "Front Lines" (Full Cut Records), won rave reviews from media outlets including Global Rhythm Magazine and Jambase.com, and was featured on National Public Radio. Aphrodesia took its unique brand of “Super Aphro Beat” to showstopping performances in 2004 and 2005 at the Aspen JazzFest, Earthdance Festival, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, and many other venues—coming away with even more high praise. Albino—winner of the 2005 SF Music Award for "Best World Music”—is a San Francisco Bay Area-based 12-piece Afrobeat ensemble that honors the fiery legacy of Afrobeat inventor Fela Kuti and reminds listeners what it feels like to really groove by melding tightly-crafted arrangements and jazz-tinged harmony with propulsive, high-energy, funk grooves. Formed in 2003, the funk-fueled juggernaut has infused audiences up and down the West Coast and as far east as Chicago with the ecstatic energy it delivers from the stage. The band's members hail from such well known acts as Spearhead, CK Ladzekpo, and Hamsa Lila, among others.
Local favorites Afrobeat Down, all-female Brazilian funk band Goddess of Funk, DJ Jeremiah (Liberia) and DJ Emmanuel Nado (Guinea)…
About the Cause
UNICEF estimates that 3.4 million persons—equivalent to almost 51% of the total pre-conflict population in the region, have been affected by the crisis in Darfur, and that number is expected to increase as one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises continues to deteriorate. Some 1.87 million of this number are currently internally displaced. Approximately 1.4 million are children under 18 years of age, while over 500,000 are children under five. Those who do survive are forced to witness the genocide day after day, unprotected. Hundreds of villages have been bombed and burned; water sources and food stocks have been destroyed; houses looted; families killed. Mosques, schools, and hospitals have been burnt to the ground. And that’s only the beginning. Nearly 3 million people depend on food aid after being driven off their land, yet the UN reports that it is cutting its daily rations in Sudan's Darfur region in half due to severe funding shortfall—the new ration will be half the minimum amount required each day. About the Festival
The Independent - San Francisco 628 Divisadero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94117 July 27 (8:30 pm): Jujuba and Albino (co-headliners), DJ Cheb i Sabbah July 28 (8:30 pm): Prince Diabate, Aphrodesia, Goddess of Funk July 29 (8:30 pm): Sila and the Afrofunk Experience, Afrobeat Down, DJ Emmanuel Nado Tickets: $17 available at ticketweb.com/box office 415-771-1421
Moe's Alley - Santa Cruz 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz, CA July 27 (8:30 pm): Aphrodesia, Goddess of Funk, DJ Jeremiah July 28 (8:30 pm): Sila and the Afrofunk Experience, Jujuba, DJ Jeremiah July 29 (8:30 pm): Prince Diabate, DJ Jeremiah Tickets: $15ADV/$17DOOR Box office: 831-479-1854
Temple Bar - Santa Monica 1026 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401 July 29 (9 pm): Albino, SambaDa Tickets: $10ADV/$15DOOR available at templebarlive.com, 310-393-6611 For more information on the artists, requests for interviews, lineup schedule, mp3 downloads, and photos, visit www:afrofunk.org or call Sila at 415-626-5755 ###
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