20 Oct - 19 Nov

Introducing the World Cultures Festival 2017 – Vibrant Africa (Hong Kong)

Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department since 2005, the biennial World Cultures Festival has explored a number of fascinating regions and enabled audiences in Hong Kong to enjoy their creative brilliance in the past. This year, the World Cultures Festival heads to Africa, one of the cradles of civilisation, to showcase some of the continent’s most distinctive artists and music, dance and theatre productions in a line-up that is set to take Hong Kong by storm from 20 Oct to 19 Nov.

“African artist of the century” Youssou N’Dour from Senegal and his soaring vocals open the festival with his group, Le Super Étoile de Dakar, while closing performance Mandela Trilogy pays tribute to South Africa’s monumental hero in a stirring folk opera presented by Cape Town Opera.

Photo Credit: Youssou NDour Officiel

Other fascinating musical encounters include: the Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa; “Africa’s premier diva” Angélique Kidjo from Benin; the first female kora virtuoso Sona Jobarteh from Gambia/UK, who fuses West African sounds and western classical music; and the Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar from Morocco, inheritors of a remarkable artistic tradition reaching back over 1,000 years.

For dance fans, Tlé (The Sun) from Burkina Faso transmits both passion and joy in a panoply of West African drumming and movement. The “mother of contemporary African dance” Germaine Acogny from Senegal/France, now over 70 years old, will also perform two signature solos: Somewhere at the Beginning and Mon élue noire-sacre # 2 (My Black Chosen One).

Mandela Trilogy. Photo Credit: Cape Town Opera.

And there is the rare opportunity to see African theatre in Hong Kong. Two autobiographical works provide thought-provoking insight into journeys through turbulent eras in different countries: A Woman in Waiting by eminent South African actress Thembi Mtshali-Jones, and Split/Mixed by Rwandan actor Ery Nzaramba.

A Woman in Waiting by Thembi Mtshali-Jones and Yaël Farber. Photo Credit: Peter Dagenais.

The innovative interactive Strelitzia encompasses a soul-searching account of the Nigerian people. In contrast, the award-winning Kenyan play, A Man Like You, tackles international relations and extremism, imparting a humanist perspective on different worldviews. Members of the local arts scene are involved as well. The Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies and the International Association of Theatre Critics (Hong Kong) will hold play readings to build deeper understanding of Africa’s contemporary theatrical landscape through a variety of powerful scripts.

In addition, a lot of inspiring extension activities await, including meet-the-artist sessions, talks, workshops, exhibitions, an outdoor carnival, and outreach performances in shopping malls and schools.

Prepare for a dynamic encounter with a multicultural powerhouse of the arts in all corners of our city. Welcome to “Vibrant Africa”!

To find out more about World Cultures Festival, click here. Visit Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s website here.