Habari Africa Live Festival 2022
Fri Aug 5, 6 - 11 pm
Sat Aug 6, 12 - 11 pm
Sun Aug 7, 12 - 7 pm
at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Finally!! We are festing LIVE this year! We missed you all and hope to see you!
Batuki Music Society is proud to present the ninth edition of the Habari Africa Festival from Friday August 5 – 7, 2022. This multi-disciplinary African arts festival is free for all-ages and co-produced with Harbourfront Centre. Join us live in person for a weekend of exploration and engagement with the art and sounds of the continent through presentations that celebrate the uniqueness, wealth and diversity of African music, dance, film and arts.
Friday August 5
Stage in the Park
7:00 – 7:45 : Gloria Nankunda & Emanzi Dance Troupe
Gloria Gift Nankunda is a folk-soul Musician based in Toronto. Her soulful voice brings a delightful euphony of tales and melodies derived from her rich Ankole heritage in Uganda meshed with other African musical influences. A graduate of Toronto film school - Acting faculty, Gloria has immersed herself in this industry wearing many hats from actor, producer, host, and voiceover artist to setting up her own venture - Gisha Productions Inc. A content incubator, Curator & Brand consultant for production of TV, film, theatre & events. Founder Emanzi Dance Troupe – Traditional Ugandan Music & dance ensemble. She has performed on various stages including: - Muse arts Festival, African Music Week, Canadian Music Week, Small World Music Festival, Inclusive arts Festival, African Fashion Week, Comedy Store Uganda, Music Mondays, Habari Africa Festival, Milton Multicultural Festival and Canadian Asian Fashion Week. She considers herself a global African culture ambassador.
9:00 – 9:30 : Ethio Azmari
The Azmari are skilled at improvisation and play an important role in Ethiopian society, like the griots or praise singers of West Africa. ETHIO AZMARI features vocalist Sintayehu “Mimi” Zenebe, masenqo player/vocalist Abebe Fikade, drummer Bereket Gebrekirstos and dancer Yordanos Behonegn Nuri. Sintayehu ‘Mimi’ Zenebe is a talented vocalist and dancer, hailing from a musical family and known as the “Edith Piaf” of Ethiopia. She has been performing traditional music from a young age and has shared the stage with many Ethiopian artists and groups. Zenebe was the vocalist for U.K.’s Dub Colossus, touring internationally and recording albums released on Real World Records. She has perfected her skills as a vocalist, dancer and performer of Azmari songs. Since moving to Toronto she has performed at community events, weddings, festivals and clubs. Abebe Fikade comes from a long line of Azmari from the Gondar regions performing songs with traditional and contemporary themes. He is a masenqo (single-stringed fiddle) player, vocalist and composer, who performs the monochord music of the Azmari. Fikade has toured internationally on various tours arranged by Frances Falceto of the Ethiopiques music series. He has performed at the Habari Africa Festival, Sounds of Saba at Alliance Francaise, Ethiopia: A Musical Perspective at Glenn Gould Studio and Luminato festival, as well as various Ethiopian restaurants, community events, festivals and clubs.
8:00 – 9:00 : Okavango
Okavango African Orchestra is a musical ensemble created by Batuki Music Society featuring a cast of accomplished African-born musicians, singers and composers who now live in Toronto and Montreal: Daniel Nebiat (krar), Kofi Ackah (drums), Tichaona Maredza (mbira, guitar), Sadio Sissokho (kora, percussion), Ebenezer Agyekum (bass), Assane Seck (guitar) and Mabinty Sylla (dance). Okavango African Orchestra was awarded the 2017 JUNO for World Music Album of the Year for their debut self-titled album. The group released their second album, Africa Without Borders in 2019, which received nominations for the 2020 JUNO and 2021 Canadian Folk Music award. Okavango has performed in some of Ontario’s most prestigious venues including Glenn Gould Studio, Koerner Hall, Harbourfront Centre, Kingston City Hall, Isabel Bader Performing Arts Centre, Alliance Francaise Toronto, and the Aga Khan Museum. Okavango African Orchestra looks ahead on its continuing journey to an “Africa without borders… before the borders were created.”
9:30 – 11:00 : Dobet Gnahoré
GRAMMY-winner Dobet Gnahoré is one of Africa's hottest and most beloved talents. With her amazing voice, incredible dance moves, powerful presence, and colorful style, Dobet is a virtuosic singer, dancer, percussionist, and songwriter who has taken the modern Afropop sounds of her country in exciting new directions. Dobet Gnahoré is well-known for her jaw-dropping dance moves, powerful stage presence and emotional vocal style. Her father Boni Gnahoré is a master percussionist and artist who co-founded the legendary artistic collective Ki-Yi M’bock. Growing up in this creative setting was a utopian artistic experience for Dobet and a rigorous training ground that provided her with the skills in music, dance, theater and fashion that serve as her foundation to this day. Her new album Couleur, breaks with her past acoustic styles to create a fiery album filled with danceable grooves, electronic beats, nimble electric guitar lines and catchy melodies.
Saturday August 6
1:00 – 5:00 : African Village Crafts & Storytelling by Njacko Backo
Njacko Backo is a Juno-nominated musician, storyteller, and songwriter who has been performing for children and adults since his childhood in Cameroon. He has a lifetime of practice in capturing the subtlety of dance and storytelling with his music – an essential part of the African performing arts. His programs for children and youth draw on parallels and differences between Canadian and African family life while introducing a passion for the French language.
Stage in the Park
2:00 – 2:45 : IZimba Arts
IZimba Arts is a music and dance group specializing in Southern African traditional music, Gumboot and Township dances, Afro-fusion, and Workshops. The groups' founding members are Brian Moyo and Teddy Masuku, both multi-talented performing artists from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. IZimba Arts enjoys collaborating with different artists like Fumu Jahmez and Mcedisi Moyo, who share the same love for dance. IZimba Arts thrives to use music and dance to share the beauty of Zimbabwean culture and traditions.
7:00 – 7:45 : Adam Solomon
Adam Solomon "The Professor", as he is known in musical circles, is highly respected as a lead guitarist, composer and singer. He creates a unique sound that combines traditional African blues and jazz, spiced with East African rhythms. He sings in English, Swahili, and Mijikenda (the Nine Tribes from Mombasa on the Kenyan coast). Adam has been working on reviving the classic sounds of the legends of popular East African music, as an homage, as well as incorporating the traditional rhythms of his people. He has released a number of recordings and awarded a JUNO as a member of the African Guitar Summit, and has since been nominated for three more Junos.
9:00 – 9:30 : La Kora des Griots
Born in Senegal to a family of musicians, story tellers, historians, singers and dancers, collectively known as griots, Sadio Sissokho’s roots are richly embedded in the Mandingue culture. Born in Mali to a large family of griots, Diely Mori Tounkara followed in the footsteps of his musician father by becoming an undisputed master of the kora. La Kora des Griots unites these two masters around the majestic kora instrument to create a sound that contains Africa’s story of yesterday, today and tomorrow, a captivating expression of griot wisdom.
South Lawn Tent
3:00 – 3:45 : Ethio Dance Workshop
Yordanos Nuri will share basic steps of traditional dances of Ethiopia in this fun workshop for all-ages. Yordanos Nuri is a popular dancer and performer who specializes in traditional dances of Ethiopia. He worked at the Ethiopian Theatre in Addis Ababa for four years and performed with many groups for concerts, festivals and events. He has been featured in various music videos and since coming to Canada in 2015 he has been active in the Ethiopian music community.
4:30 – 5:15 : IZimba Arts Dance Workshop
Learn traditional and urban dances from Southern Africa with IZimba Arts in this high energy workshop for all ages. IZimba Arts thrives to use music and dance to share the beauty of Zimbabwean culture and traditions.
3:00 – 4:15 : La Rockeuse du Désert
Sara Nacer is an emerging filmmaker based in Montreal where she also works as a digital product manager at Bell Media. His first documentary film "Let them all go, shot in Algeria at the heart of the smile revolution, highlights the socio-cultural awakening of the young generation. Released in December 2019, the film broke records at the Cinémathèque Québécoise with several sold-out screenings and great media coverage. She won the LOJIQ prize for a promising filmmaker at the Vues d'Afrique International Film Festival and the prize for Best Documentary Film at the Festival Images et vie in Dakar. Her feature film “La Rockeuse du désert” was selected for the Tribeca Film Institute in 2017 and for an artistic residency at the Jacob Burns Film Center in New York. She is also producing a feature documentary selected for the Close-Up Initiative in 2020, an international development program for emerging filmmakers. Recognized in Montreal for her contribution to the promotion of cultural diversity, Sara has organized several events and produced several sold-out concerts, notably at Place des arts in Montreal.
5:30 – 7:15 : The Rumba Kings
The country formerly known as Zaïre, starting in the 1950s and continuing into the 1980s, was the vibrant musical heart of Sub-Saharan Africa, crammed with dancing bars and musical orchestras, bustling with record labels, and most importantly home to some of the biggest stars of African music such as Grand Kallé, Dr. Nico and Franco Luambo. Through the voices of an extensive array of Congolese historians, music experts, and a comprehensive cast of musicians that includes Congolese superstar Papa Wemba, world renowned saxophone player Manu Dibango, as well as the very last musicians that remain from that era, The Rumba Kings is an important tour de force for music lovers. The film also features never-before-seen footage of the historic performance of Franco Luambo and his OK Jazz orchestra for the 1974 Ali Foreman boxing match in Kinshasa, known as the Rumble in the Jungle.
8:00 – 9:00 : Dicko Fils
Moulaye Dicko, better known by his stage name Dicko Fils, is a popular Burkinabé musician who sings and plays the kamala n’goni. He has been awarded the Knight’s Order of Merit from the Ministry of Culture of Burkina Faso and the Golden Kundé award for Best Artist. Dicko Fils has released a number of successful albums through his career and toured in Africa, Europe and North America. One of his hit songs Denke Denke has over 2 million views on YouTube.
9:45 – 11:00 : Songs of My Mother
Batuki Music Society has curated Songs of My Mother to shine a light on the musical diversity and rich talents that these women artists possess. We hope it will help to inspire mothers, aunts, grandmothers, daughters and sisters to stand together and celebrate themselves as a major contributor to the arts and community. Songs of My Mother features JUNO award winner Lorraine Klaasen, the daughter of the renowned jazz singer Thandie Klaasen, and one of the few South African artists who have preserved the classic sound of ‘Township Music'. JUNO award winner Djely Tapa is a descendant from a long line of griots, and blessed with the voice of her mother Kandia Kouyate, a legendary Manding singer from Kayes, Mali. Mis Blandine is a singer and songwriter from the Democratic Republic of Congo, with music that encompasses sounds from her roots with afrobeats, R&B, jazz and pop. Born in South Sudan, Ruth Mathiang uses her voice to advocate for important social issues, her sound is a fusion of traditional African music with hip hop, afrobeats and reggae.
Sunday August 7
1:00 – 5:00 : Spin a Hand Drum Crafts – Blank Canvases
Our young participants will make a Hand Drum, which is a traditional African instrument, and very similar versions can also be found in Peru, India, China, and other parts of the world. In this activity, we will use upcycled matboards and beads on a string as drumsticks that will generate a perfect drum roll while their little hands spin the drum continuously. This noisemaker will allow our little participants to be enjoy being part of the celebration. Blank Canvases was founded with the mission to teach children about real local Toronto Artists. Using the authentic studio-based method of artistic creation, our trained Artist Educators engage students in activities that promote creative thinking and inspire them with civic pride in their city and communities. Our programme is based on the Ontario Ministry of Education Arts Curriculum with student centered facilitation. It includes best practices in Art Education reflecting open ended choice making, an encouragement of individuality, fostering expression, and a focus on process rather than product. Blank Canvases works with the Arts Resource Centre of the TCDSB and has an official board partnership with the TDSB.
Stage in the Park
3:00 – 3:45 : Mambo Chivero
Mambo Chivero is a Zimbabwean musician, singer, songwriter and teacher who plays a unique traditional instrument from Zimbabwe called Mbira (thumb piano). Mbira sound is penetrating and warm at the same time capturing the participation of the listeners and draw into its mood. The band also focuses on other areas of African heritage such as Afro-Reggae and Afro-Jazz, which allows listeners to be drawn into its rhythm and become immersed by the uniqueness of the music. Performances credits includes but not limited to: workshops at Toronto Afro Festival, Word on the street (Toronto), Kingston Cultural Exchange and Mosaic Moncton, New Brunswick, Carabram and Carassauga Festival.
6:00 – 7:00 : Sadaka
Sadakah means to give. Inviting our divine deities to give us the energy to spread blessings. Alubarika! Sadaka was created by Nigerian dance educator, performer and choreographer, Sani Abu Mohammed Allen of Ijovudu Dance International. Join master drummer Amadou Kienou and friends in a parade to the heart of Habari Africa. Everybody is welcome to drum, dance, clap and sing along!
South Lawn Tent
1:00 - 1:45 : DJ Moussa with Fumu Jahmez
DJ Moussa delivers an intoxicating mix of African music genres, joined by one of Toronto’s most popular dancers and choreographer Fumu Jahmez. Fumu Jahmez is multidisciplinary artist hailing from Democratic Republic of Congo. He is a dancer, singer, poet, song writer and more. His gospel influenced voice unites the traditional African rhythms with contemporary sound of today. His passion for dance brings the fire to the stage. DJ Moussa was born in Côte d’Ivoire and is considered the most versatile DJ in the African community in Toronto. He has developed a unique style of mixing different musical genres that include zouglou, coupe decale, makossa, mbalax, ndombolo, hi-life, naija, zouk, kizomba, salsa, hip hop and R&B. He has performed in many of the top clubs in Toronto, and across Canada and West Africa.
2:00 – 2:45 : Dance with BK by R.I.T.E. Workshop
Fusing traditional East African dance moves and rhythms with modern concepts and high-energy Hip Hop grooves. Your body and mind will find a rhythm to move, groove, slide, jump and shout! For the heart knows that music and moving will sweat out the small stuff. Beekaa Abraham is a dancer/choreographer/mover/actor/MC/radio host/hype man and martial artist from East Africa, Oromia. Dancing, learning, sharing, entertaining and bringing joy through movement has been his passion ever since he was a little boy back home. As an immigrant to Hamilton, he found art and culture as a way of building and bridging communities. He completed the Performing Arts Preparation program at Sheridan College. Which continued to direct him into performances, teaching and engaging activities. He is a freelance performer and a teacher of creative movement/dance in schools, community organizations, events and facilitates at Defining Movement Dance in Hamilton. He is also a member of The Parahumans, an interdisciplinary and experimental Dance Theater, based out of Hamilton and Toronto. He was host and MC for MATAPA’s Hamilton World Music Festival for multiple years. He was part of Hamilton Fringe Festival A.L.E.R.T (Artistic Leadership and Entrepreneurial Training) Program, where he collaborated and created a performance piece with the youth from The SPACE (formerly Ngen Youth Center) in Hamilton and Defining Movement Dance. This led him to the curation of R.I.T.E! (Rhythm Inspiring Transcultural Edutainment) projects, workshops and sessions in which engage the community to share, despite our differences in culture, colour, abilities and beliefs. You can catch him live on air Tuesdays at 6pm- 7:30pm on 933fm CFMU “Lace Up Radio”.
4:00 – 5:30 : Butterfly Band
Following in his father's footsteps, master percussionist Kofi Ackah has been a fixture in the African music scene in Canada for many years, having performed with many groups, and is a JUNO award winner and nominee for his work with the African Guitar Summit and Okavango African Orchestra.