Né d’un père congolais de Kinshasa et d’une mère française de La Rochelle, Bolewa Sabourin est à l’image de toute une génération : au carrefour de ses multiples identités. Du haut de ses 33 ans, cet homme a connu l’exil depuis la naissance, voguant entre les ports d’attache géographiques et sentimentaux.
Abandons, absence de repères, décrochage scolaire, sans domicile fixe… Bolewa Sabourin a puisé sa rage de vivre dans les entrailles d’un monde déchaîné en se raccrochant à un militantisme effréné. La danse traditionnelle congolaise comme fil conducteur de sa vie, son héritage est devenu sa boussole, son outil de résilience face aux épreuves. Danseur et « artiviste », Bolewa Sabourin use aujourd’hui de l’art comme d’un instrument thérapeutique pour donner aux autres ce que la vie lui a refusé.
Sa trajectoire intense et pleine d’enseignements prouve que la détermination et le travail sont les seuls outils indispensables pour faire de sa vie une œuvre d’art.
Élève du danseur-chorégraphe Mutshi Mayé, Bolewa a pendant plus de 20 ans appris les bases des différentes danses congolaises, dans la pure tradition, dansant accompagné de percussionnistes. Il fait de ses multiples identités un atout majeur en incorporant de nouveaux mouvements dans ses chorégraphies.
Balla Fofana est diplômé d’un Master en communication politique de l’Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) et du Centre de Formation Professionnelle pour Journalistes (CFPJ). Ancien membre du Bondy Blog, il a également été journaliste au service économie de TF1 de septembre 2014 à août 2016. Il est actuellement en poste chez Libération et travaille également depuis 2014 sur des projets de sensibilisation et d’éducation aux médias dans des lycées en région parisienne.
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On Monday 24th September, Graphik Vision and Afro Culture had the privilege to attend the 16th Edition of the *London African Music Festival to hear The African Salsa Orchestra led by Beninese trombonist and singer Michel Pinheiro and hjs orchestra composed by international musicians from France, Togo, Cameroon, Cuba and more. We had the pleasure to interview him and get his insight on the African Origins of the Salsa Music.
"Salsa is born from the Africans forced through the Atlantic and their encounter with the slave owners. The drums we played in our convents birthed what we call Afro Cuban music. If it wasn't for the transatlantic slave trade, perhaps it would have been birthed not in Cuba, but in Benin or elsewhere in Africa" Michel Pinheiro.
As an African who had the privilege to be born on the continent, Michel Pinheiro is committed to build this bridge musically between Africa and latin-America as his great grandfather had returned from Brazil, their name Pinheiro being of Portuguese origins. This is an integral reason as to why Cuban musicians are part of the African Salsa Orchestra.
The group was launched in 2014 and their first album was produced in 2017. The musicians met in Paris and since have continued on this journey together touring internationally.
We recommmend to you to join their Facebook Fan page and make sure to see them in a concert near you soon.
*London African Music Festival, founded by Biyi Adepegba, Joyful Noise Productions Co-founder, promotes Black Diaspora Music. It started in 2002 to showcase artists they represented into festivals. They had notorious artists performing throughout the years such as Miriam Makeba, Papa Wemba, Koffi Olomide and more....
Watch our video below produced by Graphik Vision for full info.
Video work by Graphik Vision, presented by Caro Sika "The African Salsa Orchestra"
It was a brilliant stage performance showcasing newer local talents and established teachers, masters and choreographers, boasting a variety of African inspired music and genres.
We also discovered the Congolese Band Soukous Koumbele who performed during the film tribute to dancer Lolita Badindamana, who was a popular Congolese artist, dancer, musician who passed away this year and Carolyn Lilly's friend, the funder of ADX. Playing a number of instruments such as the Conga, they got everyone off their seats.
Out of a number of choreographers and dancers, we spoke to Noire on the night, who choreographed a piece interpreted by 3 dancers "the Market Place" to credit African women who tirelessly sell their goods at the market to feed their families.
Adriano Oliviera from Bahia teaches Afro Fusion which is a blend of Brazilian and West African Contemporary Dance with dynamic movements, connecting energies with less focus on techniques as understood in classical terms.
Demba, namely Dembis Thioung, a professional percussionist who plays a number of traditional instruments such as the dundun, accompanied "Les Femmes Africaines"
We also spoke to Ajani who prepared a free style of mix contemporary styles and Homebros who choreographed solo a piece called "Feeling First" and specialises in Afro Dance such As Azonto and Afro House.
Watch out for these talented artists and be sure to meet them in person this weekend!!!!
Dom Pedro chose filmmaking to spread the history of our African cultures across the world, especially the history of the kingdom of Kongo.
Originally from Angola, Dom Pedro would escape Angola as a teenager due to cilvil war, leaving his parents behind. Nevertheless, his native land would remain at the centre of his inspiration and creativity, as well as memories of the motherland. Consequently, his love for his culture prompted him to share it with the rest of the world. In fact, he sees it as his life's mission to see African Cultures take their rightful place on the world's stage and to tell the untold story of the motherland so that humanity has a 360° degrees knowledge and vision of itself, Africa being the craddle of mankind.
In one of his most recent and famous documentary "Tango Negro, the African Roots of Tango" (2013), Dom Pedro captured on the screen the social and cultural impact that slavery had on African people and the environment they were forced in, having been snatched away from their homes, families, and natural habitat. We can feel their sadness, nostalgia and the tragedy so profoundly expressed in the musical and dance art form of Tango.
Juan Carlos Caceres, the late acclaimed Argentinian pianist who served as the film composer and passed away in 2015, would say in the film. "The tango is made up of three sadnesses, three memories," ... "The immigrants' sadness. The gaucho's sadness, people who lived in the country. And finally the Blacks' sadness, who didn't come here as immigrants, but who were brought here, leaving their lives in Africa."
Dom Pedro has produced a number of films and documentaries as listed below. He currently is working on a production centered around the Kingdom of Kongo.
- Ray Lema,1997,Tout Partout Partager, 1997. Doc. Musical (RDcongo)
- Bonga, au nom de la liberté.2000. (Angola). Documentary- Portrait. Musique.
- PACO, 2002. Film de fiction. Séléction FESPACO-Burkina Faso. (Angola).
- Barani, Histoire d'une tradition, Documentaire de Pierre Yaméogo. 2002 Assistant
- Le long chemin vers la Paix. 2002, (Angola). Documentaire sur la guerre.
- Kin-Malebo Danse. 2005. Musical Documentary (2x 52mns)
- Congo: Rythmes et Rumba congolaise. 2006. Musical Documentary
- Michelino, Star de la rumba. 2006. Doc. Portrait d'un artiste-guitariste.
- Pépé Felly, l'âme de Zaïko Langa Langa. Musical documentary. 2006
- Rido Bayonne - BORN IN AFRICA. Artiste du Congo-Brazzaville.Doc. 2007.
Representing Afro Culture at AFWL London 2018 on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th August 2018 at Freemason's Hall was a real treat. Afro Culture's mission is to showcase and connect diasporic talents and this Fashion Show is all about promoting African and African-inspired design talent. Since its launch in 2011, AFWL has already showcased over 800 emerging designers and exhibitors from all over Africa, Europe and the Americas.
We partnered with Graphik Vision to capture the feel of the day, as well as amazing designs and concepts ( See above youtube link).
I particularly enjoyed seeing some African Royals, such as Queen Diambi Kabatusuila Tshiyoyo Muata of Kasai Kingdom of Democratic Republic of Congo, participating and contributing to the event.
We love to see proud Africans boosting their economy and talents.
See picture below and link for more info on AFWL.
Founded in 2011 by Ronke Ademiluyi, Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) is Europe's largest fashion event promoting and nurturing African and African-inspired design talent.
With a collaborative catwalk, exhibition and business development program, AFWL has led the way in highlighting Africa’s emerging designers and apparel industry and has been at the forefront of bringing awareness of Africa’s burgeoning fashion industry to the international market.
Since 2011, AFWL has hosted 8 catwalk events and contributed expertise to at least 10 more events produced by 3rd parties such as The Mayor of London’s Black History Month celebrations.
We have also showcased over 800 emerging designers & exhibitors, from Africa, Europe and America, to almost 70,000 visitors including buyers, retailers, influential industry professionals, and the media and is now a highlight on the annual fashion calendar.
this is what to expect for ADX2018
Carolyn Lilly is the founder of Feel the Rhythm Productions.
She is a tireless African dance lover who has been dancing for as long as she remembers, experiencing different types of African dances all over the world. In addition to her passion for dance, she also has a passion to promote African dancers with a soft spot for dances from Francophone countries in West and Central Africa. While living in Paris, she would organise stage performance in Oakland, US for artists such as George Momboye, a reknowned choregrapher from Ivory Coast.
Since moving to London, she has launched an international dance festival showcasing local talents as well as international dancers called ADX (African Dance Explosion).
ADX is a unique festival showcasing and teaching, through various workshops , a wide variety of African dances and techniques from popular dance masters, teachers and choreographers.
This year, ADX 2018 is called « Les femmes africaines ». Carolyn Lilly felt that women are more obscured in Africa yet there are so many strong African women dancers. Therefore, this year, she seized the opportunity to provide an artistic platform where dance could be approached from a woman’s perspective.
ADX will run from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th September 2018.
See flyer below
Scroll down to continue reading
ADX 2018 - Program
Carolyn Lilly has invited Aïssata Kouyaté from Guinea who will teaching a traditional Guinean dance workshop.
Sellou Blagone from the Ivory Coast will be teaching a traditional Ivorian dance workshop.
Other dances, which evolved from African sounds and rhythm include Jazz, Afro House, Brazilian Afro Fusion and Umfundalai technique. Dollie Henry, a legend and icon in the UK, will be teaching a jazz dance workshop; Sheila Atta will be teaching Afro House and Adriano Oliviera, Brazilian Afro Fusion. Other teachers, such as Dr C. Kemal Nance Umfundalai of contemporary African Dance will be returning this year and Leonora Stapleton will be teaching the Germany Cunningham Technique of modern contemporary dance.
The festival will take place in Morley College commencing with a show and a taster on Friday 28th September 2018. The workshops, on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September will be held at the Stockwell Branch of Morley College. The show will boast an amazing showcase of various styles of African inspired dances and contemporary dance on stage, also providing a platform for young dancers to showcase themselves. A 2Omn musical tribute will be part from the show in memory of a congolese artist Lolita Badindamana, who was a popular Congolese artist, dancer, musician and Carolyn Lilly's friend, who passed away this year.
You can buy your full pass online today by clicking on the link below. Special discounts are available for students
Carolyn’s closing words :
« For me dance is life. Everything is dance to me. In all you do, keep dancing ».
Chantal Loial, founder and director of the dance company Dife Kako, has arrived in London today with 3 dancers who joined her this year from Strasbourg, Guadeloupe and Paris to attend Batuke Festival and Notting Hill Carnival 2018.
On Saturday 25th August, we had the pleasure to see her make a special appearance at the Music Soukous Festival with longtime friend AWILO LONGOMBA.
Chantal Loial performing with AWILO LONGOMBA at Music Soukous Festival, RichMix
For a full bio about Chantal Loial, check out the link below:
Chantal Loial will be teaching tomorrow, Sunday 26th August 2018, at 1.30pm at Rich Mix, running an Afro & Soukous Bootcamp. For more info and to book your pass, click link below:
What struck me about S.Rise, Reggae and Conscious artist from Guadeloupe, is his commitment to self-development and to inspire others. His vision is huge, so much so that he seems to always think he takes babysteps where others would consider they have arrived.
S.Rise owns up to his actions and their impact within the society he lives in. Unlike some, he chooses not to use You but rather personnifies what he sings using I « I don’t want to position myself telling people what to do with themselves but by reminding myself of staying in a positive mindframe, and say I « as an affirmation », it can then resonate within the listener too".
S.Rise would further say « The way I write at the moment is very mindful of the way I will say, formulate stuff and take ownership of the lyrics … This is me now, aware of who I am and where I am coming from, more focussed than before, self-disciplined, knowing the importance of having the mind, soul and body strong. If your thinking process is negative, it’s like eating bad food, you are harming yourself »
And his frame of mind is clearly expressed in his last song « I am winning », available to download for free on his website http://sriseofficial.com and out since the 1st August 2018.
Continue to read below for more info on S.Rise
The inspiration came while S.Rise was performing at a show in St Pancras with the live band called (ONE THE BAND) in Spring 2018. The band played the instrumental of the song « Hello » from an artist called Kes. « I really love this song. When the band played it, I wanted to write something on it. Then I downloaded the instrumental and the chorus came to me. I was at home. »
I am winning is a great song for Summer which willl uplift you on your way to work remaining hopeful while on the « plantation ». The song also encapsulates S.Rise’s general feeling « everything that happened so far this year, Gambia, #Iamnot4sale, Kalash, Etana in Guadeloupe, blessings and babysteps and progress ». He is full of appreciation.
See S.Rise performance with Etana in Guadeloupe and at Kalash's concert in London on 9th June 2018
Continue to read below for more info
S.Rise performance at Kalash's concert in London on 9th June 2018
His manager Red would also mention a significant performance at Hootananny where S.Rise performed his first 45mns set with his live band. It was the 1st time he would headline a concert.
I am winning also states his convinction and his plans. It takes us right into S.Rise’s world with family and friends featuring in the video clip in cartoon forms. « The whole cartoon itself are friends and family. I like how everybody has been showcased…. I liked the way he put my mum and dad from the beginning. I greet them and then am in Guadeloupe with the sun shining. »
The wole concept of the cartoon was hugely important to S.Rise « When you are looking at music videos nowadays, children can’t look at them. For most of them, they are very sexualised. » S.Rise wanted to change that and connect with youth who can easily play it. And the children do love the characters and seeing S.Rise as a super hero.. S. Rise particularly likes his parents portrayed as a King and a Queen just like the lyric « I am the son of a King and a Goddess ». It is so important to him that young people respects their parents who are life-givers and he also wants to promote a counter culture which does not degrade women, nor hype drugs and the use of alcohol ; which he swaps for « having a bottle of water in his hand »
See still shots below and continue to read for more info on S.Rise
When it comes to S.Rise plans « I am plannning to go to Gambia in 2 years and live there, the plan is to have a business running over this side (UK) and keep being creative in Gambia. I want to set up smthg not as the boss, where I end up working even more than the employee but be the owner of the business, » echoed in the I am winning song :
« I don’t want to be the boss but the owner » ; nor will he follow the leader. « I am not a follower an I dont want people to be followers….. We are the leader. I am going to stand my ground, have my own thoughts and do my own things »
If you haven’t listened to the song yet, here is the link below and website to download.
S.Rise last words for you readers :
« Thank you for all the feedback I have got so far, thank you to Afro Culture with the interview, this is exclusive : stay connected, I am working on an album, debut album, out in 2019"
To see S.Rise perform in the next coming weeks, join him at Trafalgar Square on Saturday 18th August for the African Holocaust Day Commemoration and at Monday Notting Hill Carnaval Parade with Batuke on Monday 27th August 2018.
The Founder of Slavery Remembrance - Shezal Laing
Shezal Laing is a trailblazer. She’s just the type of person that would make things happen if she has set her mind on it.
She would say of herself that she wants to be happy with the world as it is but with the current knowledge she has, it has been impossible for her…Nevertheless, she sets out to do something about it …. Not just for her but as a mother of 2 sons of Caribbean and African origins, she wants to set « a path as clear and easy as possible for them and fight as many battles as possible while alive so they don't have to ».
In 2016, what Shezal qualified as being in a horrible place near a breakdown, was actually in hindsight, her springboard into championning the Slavery Remembrance Day in London. While spending time in Jamaica to recuperate from a very stressful work situation, it was while discussing with her children’s grandmother about the lack of visibility and initiatives around the International Slavery Remembrance Day promoted by the UNESCO that the spark came on and she simply decided to do something about it. She observed that the Jewish Holocaust Day was widely accepted while the International Slavery Remembrance Day was receiving very little or no recognition whatsoever.
« I will do something. I will hold a memorial to recognise this day » she decided from then on
And so after incorporating Slavery Remembrance as a company, immediately upon her return from Jamaica, she birthed the African Holocaust Day the very same year and made history by holding the first ever memorial in Trafalgar Square London. She still remembers, baby on her back, welcoming contractors by herself in the morning as they started putting out the barriers. She litterately started on her own.
Slavery Remembrance Day, now African Holocaust Day
The first memorial was a resounding success centered around « educating, celebrating and inspiring » all from African, Caribbean descents and beyond to learn from the past and be empowered to have a common vision for change and success !! The Sankofa Badge, which is also the logo of Slavery Remembrance, embodies our past and heritage as the African diasporas, and represents the foundation to lay down and the stepping stone it provides on our way to achieving in the world we live in as a cultural entity, an economic force and a united people.
And fostering unity, celebrating black history and black culture is at the heart of the initiative which is self-sustained. Slavery Remembrance is more than just a memorial and much more happens throughout the year, also through its sister’s company « My Tribe » which aims at connecting diasporas and supporting black businesses, entrepreneurs and organisations. Shezal also observes that the memorial triggers many different responses within the afro-caribbean communities from anger, guilt, denial. « the memorial has really changed my understanding of where our biggest battle is….. It has opened my eyes to so many mindsets and the need for a collective understanding of what happened. Some are still traumatised by it. Honoring and remembering our ancestors is like a counselling session. People are coming to terms with it, it is a gradual process ».
The Sankofa, which is also the logo of Slavery Remembrance, embodies our past and heritage as the African diasporas, and represents the foundation to lay down and the stepping stone it provides on our way to achieving in the world we live in as a cultural entity, an economic force and a united people.
The next African Holocaust memorial will be held on Saturday 18th August 2018 in Trafalgar Square.
As a small grass root organisation community leader and director, Shezal Laing encourages all of us to step up and share the load. Every job description is needed from admin, bid writing, web content, PR, marketing and more. You can support and contribute in many ways from volunteering on the day and throughout a year, as well as financially by buying a badge or more.
Shezal’s last word « come and enjoy the day, share the event, share the news. »
See Teaser and link of the event below to share extensively!