Monday, May 9, 2011

Spyda the dj

Being a DJ from the Caribbean, I always appreciate when I get opportunity to play music from the Caribbean for people from all over the world.  I am also a lover of music period so I love to play all genres of music.  For this event, the Caribbean – African connection in music and culture has always been pretty obvious to me and it never gets old.  I've travelled to Africa as well so this is a great honor when I know there are so many other talented Dj's in the city.  I always challenge myself to find something new and fresh to discover and present to the people when mixing the music.  Most people think being a DJ is just about playing some songs but it's a lot deeper than that.  I get into the theme, the concept, the venue and most importantly, I get into the people.  I’m really looking forward to “African Underground” at the Smithsonian.   I’ll be side by side with Farafina Kan so I know it’s going to be awesome – a great venue, great performances, and great people always make for a great vibe. I’ll be there ready to rock the crowd in the "African Underground".

Diallo Sumbry for Farafina Kan

"Africa Underground” at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art is going to be a great event.  Farafina Kan performs traditional West African music, dance and song by way of the Djembe orchestra and much of what we do is represented in the museum visually so it’s a great match.  Even folks not familiar with what we do specifically can't resist the temptation to dance once they hear the drums and the African feeling gets under their skin.  Being of the hip-hop generation, we love to mix our traditional music with hip hop, reggae, go go, live deejaying and other forms of contemporary music to give us a unique approach to traditional West African Dance and Drum.  We’re excited to be there and to share the stage with Spyda makes it that much better – he’s our DJ of choice whether we’re playing or not.  I strongly advise everybody reading this to get your tickets and make sure you bring your dancing shoes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Carnival in the Caribbean is Africa in the Atlantic

Many elements of Caribbean Carnival combine aspects of European pre-Lenten celebrations, with the spirit and soul of African celebrations, both past and present.

Throughout the Caribbean -- whether English, French, Spanish, or Dutch -- Africans have infused these rites of extravagant display with the sounds, sights, tastes, and rhythms of Africa that joined those of European and indigenous peoples of the Caribbean to create joyous occasions for masquerade, song, and dance that temporarily transformed the streets of Caribbean cities into pulsing crowds of moving bodies.

Take for example Pitchy-Patchy, a masquerade whose multi-layers of strips of brightly colored cloth recall the ancestral ensembles of Yoruba peoples of West Africa. And the vision of Moko Jumbie stilt dances riding in the sky above the throngs evoke the floating masked spirits of the Upper Guinea
Coast of Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

A date for your diary - Don’t miss the second installment of Africa Underground on Friday, May 20 where we will celebrate West Africa and the Caribbean and experience a real African vibe!……

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On sale!

The next Africa Underground is set for may 20th from 7-11pm. The theme for this is West Africa and the Caribbean.

In the meantime, please enjoy a video from the inaugural event.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Christelle S. Gorman, Chair, African Advisory Committee

What Africa Underground means to you and what it means to the Diaspora
Why does it appeal to you? Why do you think it's a great event to attract new and old comers to the museum? 

Africa Underground is a cultural mosaic.  It is a unique opportunity to experience African and Brazilian culture, fashion, art and music.  It is a great way to network, reconnect with old and new art and most importantly, connect with new and old friends.  To the diaspora, it is a positive way to promote Africa, to shine the light on the beauty, the diversity, the culture, the food and music of the African continent and uplift its roots throughout the world.

This is a great event for new and old comers to come and enjoy breathtaking exhibitions such as “African Mosaic” which showcases the sculpture “Toussaint Louverture et la vieille esclave” created by famed Senegalese artist Ousmane Sow and “artists in Dialogue 2” which shows an artistic and cultural dialogue between an African Artist (Sandile Zulu from South Africa) and a Brazilian Artist (Henrique Oliveira).
I am particularly looking forward to dancing to the beat of African and Brazilian music, perfecting my samba moves, enjoying African wine,    Come and Enjoy dance performances, refreshments, drinks and Afro-Beat/Brazilian tunes spun by internationally acclaimed DJ Adrian Loving and DJ Munch.  This event will leave you with a deeper appreciation of art, music and culture. It's an event you will not want to miss!!!! Come and celebrate “la joie de vivre”.

Christelle S. Gorman (Côte d’Ivoire), Chair, African Advisory Committee, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

Monday, February 14, 2011

DJ Munch, DJ for Africa Underground

“Being a DJ for Africa Underground on Feb. 18 is a thing of beauty for many reasons. I get a chance to play those select tunes in my collection that I love, but seldom play out at most gigs and it challenges me to discover and rediscover the copious amounts of musical flavor birthed from the Diaspora. Like many of my musical peers, I take pride in digging' deeper into the music so that what the listener hears is a raw, honest and thoughtful selection that speaks to general lovers of the culture as well as aficionados who know the real deal.”
DJ Munch, DJ for Africa Underground, Feb 18.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Seward B. Cooper of the African Diaspora Advisory Committee

Africa Underground provides a unique experience for visitors of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Throw out all your ideas of a typically quiet and reserved museum visit. This EVENT will take you on a cultural excursion of African and Afro-Brazilian infused performances, great music, food and drinks. I am excited for others to experience the overwhelming connection and pride felt from visiting this amazing place. Who wouldn't want to party at a museum? If you have not visited or experienced some of the breathtaking art work housed at the museum, we urge you to join us! 

Seward B. Cooper ( Liberia )
African Diaspora Advisory Committee

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Asmara Sium, Chair, African Advisory Committee on the Diaspora

At a very basic level, a Diaspora is a group of people who share an ethnic or national identity and live outside of their “ancestral” homeland. However, if one should delve deeper, a Diaspora community shares more than a national or ethnic identity and location.  It is a coming together and forging of (new) cultures and ideas deeply rooted in both our ancestral homelands and in our experiences as a community living outside of our ancestral homes.

This is evidenced by, among many things, celebrations that exhibit conduct indicative of a two-way cultural diffusion, one created within the Diaspora. The Africa Underground event hosted by the Smithsonian African Art Museum on Feb 18 is a manifestation of cultural diffusion.  It is a meeting of cultures; a coming together of what is great in both African and Brazilian cultures, set to music, entertainment, dress, food, and beverage. It speaks to who we, in the Diaspora, see ourselves as; a community with connections to multiple places and times throughout history.
Asmara Sium (Eritrea), Chair, African Advisory Committee, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Adrian Loving, DJ for Africa Underground

“Africa Underground is an amazing opportunity for a DJ to musically curate an experience for
a larger audience. I am excited to present a wide range of Afro-Brazilian inspired house, Baile Funk
and Afrobeat in context with superb art in the museum. My history of presenting music in clubs, lounges
and experimental spaces has prepared me to create a special atmosphere for this unique event.” Adrian Loving, DJ for Africa Underground, Feb 18.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gathoni Kamau on Africa Underground

I love learning about cultures, about how diverse we are as people yet have so much in common.  Africa is diverse and unique in many ways and I am excited that the national museum of African Art would host an event that highlights yet another aspect of the myriad beautiful cultures and peoples of Africa.  Sharing what you love with others is always a joy and forms a bond. It’s wonderful to see, taste and experience the pulse of Africa in a positive light.  I can’t think of a better place for the Diaspora to embrace and celebrate with Washington DC, a city rich with cultures from all over the world; Africa Underground!

Gathoni Kamau (Kenya), Outreach Coordinator, African Advisory Committee, National Museum of African Art

Monday, February 7, 2011

Director Cole introduces Africa Underground

“At the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, we look forward to launching" Africa Underground," an exciting way to celebrate the ties between Africa and the African Diaspora, and for our museum to continue a vigorous conversation with communities in the Diaspora. 

It is particularly significant that our first " Africa Underground" event focuses on the African continent and Brazil at a time when through our exhibition, "artists in Dialogue 2," there is an artistic and cultural dialogue going on between two artists, Sandile  Zulu from South Africa, and Henrique Oliveira from Brazil.

Do come to Africa Underground where you will enjoy art, food, music and dance of Africa and Brazil, and leave with a deeper appreciation for the diverse and dynamic visual arts of the continent that is the cradle of humanity.” -- Dr. Cole, Director, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.