Africa Utopia

Things to do , Festivals
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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'This is Not Black'

The third edition of the weekend celebration of Africa and the African diaspora, featuring music, debates, comedy, arts and crafts, dance and fashion, as well as a market and street-food stalls.

The many musical highlights include legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen with guest musicians Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté; the return of Senegal's Orchestra Baobab for the first time in three years; a rare gig from West African singer Kassé Mady Diabaté, and the launch of Europe's first Black and Minority Ethnic classical symphony orchestra Chineke!, with a performance of Philip Herbert's Elegy in Memory of Stephen Lawrence. There's also visual art, including the first UK solo exhibition from South Africa's Dineo Seshee Bopape.

Family activities and workshops are mostly free. Look out for African Social Dance lessons (Sep 10) Tavaziva Dance's workshops and performances (Sep 13) and Afro Dance Xplosion's sessions (Sep 13).

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5 / 5

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Kishma S

Africia Utopia hosted the debut performance of Chineke! – the UK's first professional classical orchestra made up entirely of Black and Minority Ethnic musicians.

The concert was sold out and it deserved to be; it was simply amazing.

The pieces played were well chosen and well played. Elegy: In memoriam - Stephen Lawrence was hauntingly beautiful and touching as you would expect but my personal favourite was the upbeat Ballade for orchestra, Op.33.

Wayne Marshall provided an energetic performance conducting the show but Tai Muarry was simply amazing, using her entire body as she played the lead violin.

For £20 for a seat in the stalls for that level of entertainment there was nothing to fault.