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.
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
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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:
This piece is hosted by LIFT, London Premier Festival of International Performance, at the Place 17 Duke's Rd, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9PY. See below for Link
In Search of Dinozord is a very intense political piece touching on the violence of the Congo Regime since the years of Sese Seko Mobutu up to now. It is an immersive and intimate experience which gives a face and a voice to Congolese nationals who have fallen in the trap of being statistics, whose sufferings are invisible to the international community.
Different stories are told; one of a friend who no longer is and dreamt to change African litterature; one of Vumi who was emprisonned with other political prisoners in Congo, who escaped and is now referred to, in the piece, as the last seed. "Seed, I am the last". This story is not fictional but real and it is documented with photos projected on stage while actors dance and mourn the absence of their friends, yet refusing to let go of the torn dreams for a better Congo.
Faustin Linyekula starts the journey alone with his face painted in white clay which for the Bantou people is the color of death and the other world. He delves into his childhood memories attempting to make sense of the agony of his people and to resurrect from the ashes hope and a new man.
The dancers from Studios Kabako master the dance technicality of Central Africa in a contemporary fashion, its codes, giving the sense of a continuous flow of life through the circular movement of their hips amongst ruins, violence and loss. It will conclude in a solo piece, fusion of jazz and blues, where the dancer would evolve effortlessly through breakdance and popping into a new man. The powerful Live vocals by the South African singer and actress, Hlengiwe Lushaba, embody the search of meaning and freedom through art of an African nation "once" in chains, desillusioned, forced to adapt and rebuild their lives in a forced exile. She sings from the depths of her soul.
"Where day meets night, agony meets birth" these words can be read on the screen.
As Faustin Linyekula and Vumi would conclude in the talk following the piece, "Congo is an open market for everyone and it belongs to multinational companies today. It is convenient to keep Congo as a war zone and messy so that they can get cheap minerals. We should all be concerned...
The last performance in London is tonight at the Place, not to be missed.
Ne Kunda Nlaba, Congolese filmmaker, talks to me about his journey producing films during a coffee break in Brixton Lounge
While his passion for art has been evolving from young, it is in 2007 that Ne Kunda Nlaba chooses to focus on cinematography. According to him, filmmaking is the fusion of all the arts such as music, dance, photography, acting and others. Yet, his experience in Kinshasa, Congo, was that " creativity was there but resources were scarce". Creative Africans were confronted with the fact that although rich in ideas, investors did not support them financially. Ne Kunda observes that there is a work of valorization of the African cinema which is necessary in order for African investors to understand the value of producing films as an art and industry which could, in turn, encourage its development. According to him, the old paradigm needs to change. Since cinema has existed in Africa, the sources of funding almost came exclusively from Europe and filmmakers solely relied on foreign grants to carry out a project. This culture must change and we must apply different economic models to attract local investments..
Therefore, it is a year after his arrival in London that Ne Kunda Nlaba would have the opportunity to achieve his first short film. See below for the complete filmography of Ne Kunda Nlaba:
1. "The next" (2009), short film
2. "The Steel Pan" (2010) documentary
3. "Living without living" (2011) Documentary of 16 min
4. " Honey Bondowe" (2012), his first long-fiction film
5. "Abeti Masikini: The Battle of a woman" (2015) Documentary film
6. "Kimpa Vita: the Mother of the African revolution" (2016) documentary film
A committed artist, Ne Kunda Nlaba is often inspired by his own experiences and environment; as for example the documentary Living without living, which speaks of Congolese refugees waiting for regularization of their stay in England; or Kimpa Vita, the mother of the Kongo resistance to the western invasion and colonialism, yet occulted by history. He would say "Through this documentary, I wanted to trace the life of the mother of the African revolution" Kimpa Vita" her fight for freedom, against slavery and the massacre and deportations of the people of the Kongo, as well as the restoration of the Kongo kingdom …" Ne Kunda Nlaba is a filmmaker who wants to use art for change.
For more info on the project Afro Beat, please continue to read below:
Ne Kunda Nlaba's new project "Afro Beat" is a long-fiction film in pre-production in which he is the producer, director and screenwriter. With Afro Beat, Ne Kunda wanted to work on a project representative of the African diasporas in England. Afrobeat is a musical genre that is increasingly gaining fame and notoriety and which is in phase with a younger public. Through Afro Beat, Ne Kunda brings a message tackling racism, discrimination, the difficulties that the minority communities may face in order to find a job at the height of their qualifications or ambitions, which often lead them to pursue other professional activities to make a living. And such is the plot of the film. Mala, a law graduate is destined for a career as a lawyer but chooses dance and choreography after failed attempts to find a job in Law firms. By borrowing money to Cahsman to start his business, he will confront impossible situations orchestrated by the latter in order to compel him to sell drugs for him. His only way out: win a great competition of Afrobeat to reimburse Cashman.
Ne Kunda Nlaba invites us to take part and contribute to this project through crowdfunding. Afrobeat is a movie of positive representation of the Afro Community and which puts to contribution a young talented cast. The objective of the campaign of Crowdfunding is to raise £30,000, which represents less than a quarter of the budget of the film amounting to £100,000.
For more info, see the link below: