Monday 29 June 2020

Festival Eritrea: A True Cultural Melting Pot!

It is that time of the year again, and the fact that it has been raining heavily makes it even more of a special occasion. I am talking about the Eritrean Festival.  Annually in the last week of July and the first week of August Festival Eritrea is celebrated in the Asmara Expo ground for seven days and nights. The festival area is a location to witness the culture, tradition, music and dance of all ethnic groups in Eritrea.

The festival which was officially opened last Saturday by the President accompanied by Ministers, PFDJ heads, regional administrators, Army commanders, other governments’ officials and religious leaders, has so far been attended by visitors from all walks of life. As this is a unique occasion for fostering national unity and the sole location embracing the culture, tradition, music and dance of all nine ethnic groups in Eritrea, it is a must visit occasion during the summer.

Kids wait for it with enthusiasm, Inventors toil for it the whole year, regional administrations prepare for it for the better half of the year, and tourists flock to Eritrea just because of it.

As a kid, as each summer approached, besides to playing soccer and not doing homework, the Eritrean festival was among the many other things I looked forward to. The festival gives you a sense of belonging, home is usually were you most feel comfortable and the Expo ground for seven days of summer is to a great extent, home to all nine Eritrean ethnic groups, inventors, different institutions, national associations and many others who are eager to show their ethnic groups characteristics and in the process prove the harmony Eritrea possess.

In a world characterized by religious segregation and interethnic conflicts, Eritreans, despite their diversity, have managed to live in harmony for hundreds of years. The multi-ethnic Eritrean society reflects different languages and cultures and as diverse as it may be, it is as harmonious as its marine biodiversity.  The festival brings all aspects of the Eritrean natural, cultural, historical and archaeological heritages to one place so all Eritreans, from home and abroad, can enjoy them in spirit of unity and fervent patriotic feelings.

Over the last six days, each of the administrative regions (which is homes to several ethnic groups) on top of its life styles and cultural shows, has represented its core historical and natural endowments. One needs only to visit a regional pavilion to learn everything there is to know about a particular region.

All six administrative zones accordingly are set in a regional pavilion of their own, decorated in all their splendour with images, exhibition and cultural programs.

Outside the regional pavilions the scene is entirely different. Replicas of houses and tents of all Eritrean nationalities and their living styles can be visited. Proudly representing their lifestyles, women crouch by open fires cooking or churning milk in goat skin leather bags as men tend after farming tools. Each group also has its own group of performers who play and sing all day long.

Tigre women swing their braided hair, while Afar women dance with the curved knives. The Rashaida girls in their finely embroidered traditional dresses welcome visitors to their huts while youngsters from the Bilen group concentrate on the sword dance. The impressive dance styles of the Hidareb and Kunama are not to be forgotten, last but not least Tigrigna ethnic group play their famous long pipes, as women and youngsters with traditional haircuts perform the typical round dance.

Speaking of hair-cuts and hair-dos, all nine ethnic groups have different hair styles that differ from age to age and gender to gender. It is quite remarkable the significant meaning each haircut has based on specific age, sex and ethnic groups.

This national festival, which one foreign visitor once aptly called Eritrea’s cultural bonanza, provides a ground not only for interaction between local communities but also for encouraging the integration of local cultural traditions in to the boarder of national picture.

Festival Eritrea which traces its roots to the early 1980s during the years of the armed struggle for liberation has had an enormous impact on the preservation of Eritrean heritage and national identity, becoming a model for similar events held by Eritrean communities across the world.

For kids it is time to go out with their parents or older siblings to have fun, take a picture with Tom and Jerry, eat a bite of Eritrea’s finest food and take a turn at the swing set or slide. For the elderly it is a moment to once again proudly witness Eritrea’s continuous harmony, for participants it is a chance to earn extra bucks, for the Eritrean diaspora it is a joyful opportunity to be among their people and experience being Eritrean first hand, while for Eritrea it is simply a bestowed blessing to have its harmonious diverse population in one place being what Eritrea is best at, celebrating being Eritrean.

•By Natnael Yebio W

•culled from

Sunday 28 June 2020

Rhodes Medieval Events

Medieval Festival: every year at the end of May takes place the famous Medieval festival of Rhodes that represents life of those times. Join us to watch Medieval fights, medieval feasts and a lot more from actors that wear traditional Medieval costumes, with armors and swords, Medieval dancers and stilbots, listen to Medieval music and imagine that you live in the Medieval Rhodes of knights of St. John. Of course all this would be nothing without tasting the cuisine of the knights , with traditional cheese, bread and beer.

Stawberry festival: takes place in the village of Paradisi next to the airport of Rhodes and is an opportunity to try local strawberries, local deserts , accompanied by traditional music and dancing events.

European Music Festival: at the end of June in the Palace of the Grand Master and the City Hall square of Rhodes the famous festival of European classical music takes place, with famous artists and dancers from all over Europe. The city center is transformed into an open stage of musical events.

Watermelon festival: in the mid of July in the village of Apollakia and of course at the end of watermelon harvesting, locals organize a small event to launch their products made out of watermelon, such as jams, desserts .

Assumption of Mary: at 15th of August in the village of Kremasti we honor one of the greatest religious events, the assumption of Mary, or as we call it the Easter of Summer. At that day Kremasti village becomes the center of the island with thousand of people arriving from all over the island to light a candle in the name of Holy Mary. Also except from the religious part of this big event you will also find a small feast outside the church with local tastes and small producers showing off their merchandise.

Giapraki festival: in the mid of August,  in the village of Salakos, in order to celebrate the end of grape harvesting, the locals dedicate a day to serve all the guests with the famous “Giapraki” (stuffed vine leafs with rice and pork meat). If your way brings you there , make a stop and try this traditional plate.

Wine festival: at the end of August in the small village of Empona, we celebrate the vintage of wine. The feast starts of course with wine tasting, accompanied with traditional dishes and ends with singing and dancing with local artists.

Walnut festival: usually takes place at the end of September when the walnuts are ready to be harvested in the small village of Dimilia. The locals prepare a big feast and they serve traditional walnut deserts.

•By Nikostakis

•culled from

Thursday 25 June 2020

Equatorial Guinea Culture People Food and Festivals

Equatorial Guinea Culture

In the late 15th century, the Portuguese colonized the area that makes up what is known today as Equatorial Guinea. The Bantu migrated there in the 17th and 19th centuries. The Portuguese eventually handed the territory to the Spanish in 1788, and until 1959, the country was ran as the protectorate of Spanish Guinea. The colony was granted full independence in 1968.

Equatorial Guinea Culture

Equatorial Guinea’s first decade of freedom was dark because of the incompetent and brutal rule of the president, Macias Nguema. In 1979, Lieutenant Colonel Teodoro Obiang, his nephew, overthrew President Nguema through a military coup. Conditions initially improved after international aid was administered and the country became a part of the Franc Zone of the CFA.

Obiang continued to oppose the creation of a fair political system in the 1980's while continuing to establish his position through repression. This led other countries—Spain, in particular— to stop sending support. In 1991, a democratic constitution was finally created. Equatorial Guinea’s first multi-party legislative elections were conducted in 1993. Unfortunately, boycotts at the poll influenced and intimidated voters, but Obiang’s PDGE (Partido Democratico Guinea Ecuatorial) earned most of the positions. Placido Mico Abojo was the most recent leader of the opposition, who was imprisoned in 2002 for allegedly planning a coup against the president.


The mainland’s culture is heavily influenced by ancient rituals and songs, while Bioko Island is ruled by colonial Spanish traditions. Music and dance is at the core of Equatorial Guinea, and they are treated by the natives as religiously significant. Traditional musical instruments include xylophones, big drums, the small thumb bamboo-made piano called, sanza, the harp, and the wooden trumpet. The literary culture is mainly about legends and myths passed down by word of mouth.

Equatorial Guinea has no official religion, but its people are mostly Roman Catholic, while a small percentage of the population practicing animism. Many ancient customs have been preserved by the Bubi. One of the nation’s most famous celebrations is the abira , which is performed to drive evil away by cleansing the community. Traditional dances like balélé can be seen throughout the year and on special occasions like Christmas.

•culled from


The Statue of Alagemo in Ijebu Land

The yearly Agemo festival of the Ijebus which they do every July to celebrate and welcome fresh yams into the land has been nullified due to COVID-19 measures in the country. 

The Ijebus are fondly called Omo Alagemo merindinlogun (16). Here are the names of the 'Agemos' and their locations:

(1) Tami (Odogbolu)
(2) Olumoro (Imoro)
(3) Serefusi (Igbile)
(4) Posa (Imosan)
(5) Moko (Okun)
(6) Alufe (Ijesa Ijebu)
(7) Onugbo (Okenugbo)
(8) Ija (Imosan)
(9) Lasen (Oru)
(10) Magodo (Aiyepe)
(11) Bajelu (Imuku)
(12) Lubamisan (Ago Iwoye)
(13) Petu (Isiwo)
(14) Ogegbo ( Ibonwon)
(15) Idobi (Ago Iwoye)
(16) Nopa (Imushin)

Other Agemo priests that do not perform dancing rites are: Onijagbori (Imosan), Adie (Ago Iwoye), Ogi (Idogi, Ijebu Ode).

Saturday 20 June 2020

Why Oregon Is America՚s Indie Music Mecca

Music to your ears: Portland is Oregon's musical epicentre CREDIT: GETTY

From the blues and garage rock sounds of Eugene to the hipster alt-rock of Portland, Oregon’s music scene is a barrier-breaking bastion of innovation and adventure

The Pacific Northwest has historically developed its own style of music, born of its distance from other centres imposed by its vast geography and topography. It took its own individual route, not only from the tributaries that fed into rock ’n’ roll, but also with its own internal currents, flowing differently from some of the less rugged and more populous regions. But it has certainly been making its mark as the years have rolled on. 

Both this relative isolation and being less exposed to the grunge wave, have proved in time a blessing for Oregon, which has in recent years emerged as a force in music. There is a peculiar quality to Oregonian music, characterised not so much by genre – although folk-pop variations make up a prominent strain – as by sensibility. Rather like wildlife in remote islands, the music of Oregon has evolved largely untouched by developments elsewhere. 

Hills: Eugene, Oregon, is hometown to Paul Revere
and the Raiders and Tim Hardin CREDIT: GETTY

The state’s most celebrated musicians tend to have a stubborn independent streak, expressed not in belligerence, but in a staunch disregard for fashionability – ironic, as its musical epicentre, Portland, is often derided for that very trait. In part this is due to two out-of-state musicians, drummer Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, guitarist of acclaimed Olympia trio Sleater- Kinney, whose satirical comedy series Portlandia put it on the map in an original manner.
A notable exception – certainly to the part about belligerence, if not independence – came about with the Northwest’s hardcore punk scene of the 1980s, from which grunge eventually grew. Washing tin may have claimed the spoils, but Oregon was its ground zero, with Portland trio Wipers beating the path so many punk and then grunge acts would follow. Although less influential, their city-mates Poison Idea were likewise a force in what became a movement. 

Before this, Oregon’s shining moment in American pop had been a brief flourish as an outpost of 1960s garage rock. The Kingsmen’s 1963 cover version of Louie Louie was one of the early, defining recordings in the style – raw, rudimentary, and so far from intelligible that it was investigated by the FBI, which suspected it of subversive obscenity. The song was recorded almost simultaneously by the more sophisticated Paul Revere and the Raiders, a group who, after beginning their career in Idaho, achieved nationwide successes when they relocated to singer and Eugene native Mark Lindsay’s home state. 

Eugene, Oregon, is hometown to Paul Revere and the Raiders and Tim Hardin CREDIT: GETTY

Eugene, Oregon, has also been home to such cult figures as folk singer Tim Hardin, best remembered for his exquisite song Reason to Believe, guitarist Zoot Horn Rollo of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, and Georgia-born blues-rocker Robert Cray. In a curious twist, another Eugene-based musician, former Cray sideman and solo artist Curtis Salgado, was credited by John Belushi with inspiring the idea for The Blues Brothers. 

But it was Oregon’s largest city, Portland, that would truly blossom as a pop-culture centre in the 21st century. The first stirrings came in the last decade of the 20th, with the international success of the late and much lamented Elliot Smith, a singer-songwriter of deep, melancholic refinement; spiky indie rockers Modest Mouse; and rambunctious psych-poppers the Dandy Warhols, all of whom exhibited that counter-intuitive single-mindedness, an instinct to go against the grain. Perhaps the most emblematic Portland band is one whose confrontational name and avant-garde eclecticism have conferred on them, if not fame, then a certain notoriety: Jackie-O Mother******. 


Experience Oregon՚s live music scene

Holocene, Portland

In a state where guitars predominate, and in a town where indie is king, Holocene (founded by San Franciscans with a love of Berlin) is an oasis for devotees of all things electronic. It is, however, by no means strictly an EDM club – it hosts diverse gigs and covers hip-hop and bubblegum pop.

The Space Concert, Salem

Since the demolition of Portland’s Satyricon, the semi-legendary venue where Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love first met, the state capital’s pokey, low-slung bar and vegan eatery, hosting often lively weekend gigs, is probably the best claimant to the title of “The CBGB of the Northwest”.

The Know, Portland

Even the smallest, loudest dives hereabout are proud to feed you. The Know (its name reflecting a particular aspect of the Portland scene – either you do, or you don’t) boasts an extensive, inexpensive menu, and a line-up of punk and metal acts that will rattle the fillings you chew with.

Pickathon, Happy Valley

Now two decades old, this most Oregonian and, specifically, Portlandish of festivals is charmingly unabashed about reflecting its environment – a hip, eco-minded, uncrowded, small- scale, indie-inflected late summer gathering spread around a farm just outside the city.

The W.O.W Hall, Eugene

As if the initialisation were not wonderful enough, better still is the realisation it stands for Woodmen of the World. This 19th- century community hall, saved from destruction in 1975, is still communally operated as a performing arts centre, a regular draw for rock and rap acts.

Mississippi Studios, Portland

Billing itself as run “by and for musicians”, and with a reputation for excellent acoustics, this venue occupies a former Baptist church, the upper floor of which is an Airbnb apartment. Below, you will often find well-recognised names playing at strikingly reasonable ticket prices.


Their successors have included some outstanding and equally idiosyncratic acts. Gossip, an incendiary dance-rock group fronted by LGBT advocate Beth Ditto, found a literal and spiritual home in Portland during their peak years; their Standing in the Way of Control is one of the great polemical pop tunes of its era. 

M. Ward, in addition to being one half of the almost self-parodically quirky duo She & Him, alongside Zooey Deschanel (who actually plays the archetypal hipster instrument, ukulele), is an Americana favourite. Perhaps the pick of the bunch is rococo, literary-minded indie-folk band the Decemberists, who from their third album Picaresque (2005) onwards have displayed a marvellous freewheeling sense of adventure. And if Oregonian music has a defining characteristic, that is it.

•By David Bennun

•culled from

International Festival of Drums and Traditional Arts to Commence in April

Head of the International Festival of Drums and Traditional Arts Intesar Abdel Fattah said that the 7th
session of the festival would run from April 20-27th, revealing that the Egyptian Reda Troupe for Folk and Circus Arts would participate.

Abdel Fattah added that the festival follows the selection of Egypt’s president as the chair of the African Union (AU).

Qalyubiya’s Shubra al-Kheima area will host one of the festival’s activities for first time, she noted.

The Festival will honor Ambassador Abu Bakr Hefni Mahmoud, former chair of the AU Paul Kagame, Hayat Ali Hassan, the late Dr. Botros Ghali.

Poland, Nigeria, Greece, Maldives, Mexico, Jordan, Colombia, Armenia, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, Burundi, India, Saudi Arabia, Guinea, Senegal, China, Indonesia, Congo, Sudan, Palestine will also participate in the festival.

The drums festival was founded in 2012 by Intesar Abdel Fattah, expert of culture and arts in the Ministry of Culture and General Manager of Al-Ghouri Arts Center.

Abdel Fattah is responsible for the establishment of several arts groups, such as the Egyptian Arts Troupe.

He has received awards at several national and international festivals. He is also the founder of several other cultural events in Egypt such as “Sama3” Festival for Spiritual Music.

•By Al-Masry Al-Youm

•culled from

Wednesday 17 June 2020



Over nine-tenths of the population in Djibouti is Muslim. Nearly all adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam. Some Christian religions are represented in Djibouti, including Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

95 percent of the people practice the Islamic religion. In Djibouti Religion, there is no constraint on the practicing of other religions.

Arabs are the first settlers in the country dating back in 3 B.C. and in 825 B.C. the religion of Islam was introduced. The French occupation of the country in the 1800s up to the late 1900s introduced Christianity to the country, but Islam still remained the religion practiced by the majority of the Djibouti people.

Religious festivals are very much observed in the country. Islam and Christian festivals are celebrated as national holidays in the country. During these religious festivals, especially for the Muslims, people wear traditional clothing as a sign of sincerely celebrating the festivity.

When it comes to the deceased, all bodies are buried, whatever religion he/she practices. There is no cremation in Djibouti. The Afars and Issas believe, however, that the souls of their dead rejoin their ancestors.

Drinking, smoking or eating in public during Ramadan, the month of fasting, is forbidden for all, including visitors.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and there is not widespread discrimination against other faiths.

The government generally respects the individual's right to practice their religion even though proselytizing is not allowed. 94-99% of Djiboutians are Muslim, the remainder being mostly Christian.


Because of the many influences, Djibouti is a mixture of ancient and modern. Language is one of the major components of the Djiboutian culture. The multi-ethnic and multi-lingual population speaks Somali and Afar as their main languages, but the official languages are Arabic and French.

When not dressed in western clothing such as jeans and t-shirts, men typically wear the macawiis, which is a sarong-like garment worn around the waist. Women typically wear the dirac, which is a long, light, diaphanous voiledress made of cotton or polyester that is worn over a full-length half-slip and a bra.

Language is one of the major components of the Djiboutian culture. The multi-ethnic and multi-lingual population speaks Somali and Afar as their mother tongues, but the official languages are Arabic and French. Modern and Standard Arabic are also spoken, while good portions of the population also uses Ta’izzi-Adeni Arabic, Amharic, Omani Arabic, Greek, and Hindi.

Music also plays an important part in Djiboutian life and the two main ethnic groups both have their own traditions. Afar music is similar to the folk songs of the countries in the Horn of Africa like Ethiopia, but has distinct Arabic influences. The country’s  musical tradition goes back to the nomadic days of the Afar people, when they traded goods with China, Egypt and India. Oral literature is also musical, and you may hear songs of war, praise, boasting, and for weddings. Somali folklore has a strong influence and their songs are mainly pentatonic, unlike major heptatonic or seven note scales. Djiboutians use different instruments like oud, bowl lyre and tanbura.


Djibouti lies in northeast Africa on the Gulf of Aden at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. It borders Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. The country, the size of Massachusetts, is mainly a stony desert, with scattered plateaus and highlands.

Central and south Djibouti is covered by a stony desert and scattered volcanic plateaus crisscrossed by deep, time-worn troughs, some with shallow salt water lakes.

There are no significant rivers in Djibouti. Djibouti is, in essence, a vast desert wasteland. From the narrow coastal plain, the land rises in the north to a small series of mountains.

At 23,200 square kilometers, Djibouti is the third smallest country in continental Africa, after Swaziland (second smallest) and Gambia (smallest). Djibouti is just a little smaller than the state of Massachusetts.

One of the famous lakes located in Djibouti is Lake Abbe. This lake is also famous as the place of the discovery of Australopithecus skeleton Lucy. It was founded during the Afar depression in 1974. The lake is also known for its limestone vents and flamingos.

Taxi fares in Djibouti increase 50% after sunset.

The Danakil Desert is a lowland geothermal region which covers much of western Djibouti. The Danakil Desert extends into Ethiopia and Eritrea. Erta Ale is a volcano that settles in the Danakil Desert.

•By Frank Walker

•culled from

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Oklahoma's Music Roots Run Deep

Almost as soon as Thomas Edison invented a way to record sound, Oklahomans were stepping up to the microphone. These days, Carrie Underwood, All-American Rejects, Toby Keith, Hinder, Rascal Flatts and The Flaming Lips are putting Oklahoma on radio playlists. But look back on every decade for the past 80 years, and native Oklahomans were burning up the national airwaves.

In 1924, a former member of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, Billy McGinty, assembled a group in Ripley that would become the first nationally popular Western band, Otto Gray and the Oklahoma Cow Boys.

Shortly after that group's rise, a young songwriter from Okemah named Woodrow Wilson "Woody” Guthrie practically invented 20th century folk music with his "Dust Bowl Ballads,” odes to American workers and an honored staple of American music, "This Land Is Your Land.”

Guthrie's influence cast a long shadow, influencing generations of folk and rock singers, but the homegrown evidence of his legacy is seen in the current "red dirt music” of Oklahomans Cross Canadian Ragweed, the Red Dirt Rangers, Kevin Welch, Bob Childers, Travis Linville, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, and Gene Autry of Ravia, the "yodeling cowboy,” became a country icon, movie star and baseball team owner. And when Nashville needs fresh talent, Oklahoma is its best farm team. The best-selling solo artist in pop music history is Yukon's Garth Brooks, selling 120 million albums from 1989 to the present and popularizing country music around the world and beyond stylistic borders. Reba McEntire of Chockie was the queen of country music in the '80s and '90s, pulling down 18 No. 1 singles and selling 50 million records.

From the mid-1970s, when he was performing with Guthrie fiddle legend Byron Berline's band Sundance and moving on to front Pure Prairie League, Oklahoma City's Vince Gill has wowed audiences with his mellifluous vocals, superb guitar work and stellar songwriting. In 2006, Gill partnered with the great pop songwriter and Elk City native Jimmy Webb ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” "Wichita Lineman,” "MacArthur Park”) to write a new state anthem titled "Oklahoma Rising” to celebrate the Oklahoma Centennial.

These days, some of the biggest country stars in the business hail from Oklahoma, including Moore's Toby Keith, who released his latest hit disc, "Big Dog Daddy,” this year on his own label, Show Dog Nashville. Ada's Blake Shelton hit it big in 2001 with "Austin” and has continued his swift rise in Nashville, Tenn..

Bryan White of Lawton and Ty England of Oklahoma City both enjoyed huge success in the mid-'90s, and former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn, one half of Brooks & Dunn, is one of Music City's hottest songwriters and in-demand collaborators today.

Then there is Carrie Underwood, the Checotah native who won "American Idol” in 2005. Since then, she has transcended her win on that talent show, racking up multiplatinum sales for her debut compact disc. And Rascal Flatts, which has the No. 1 country album on the Billboard charts this week, "Still Feels Good,” features the guitars of Picher native Joe Don Rooney.

The success of today's stars would be unimaginable without the groundbreaking work of Oklahoma City's Conway Twitty, Ray Wylie Hubbard of Soper, Jean Shepard of Pauls Valley, Gus Hardin and Joe Diffie of Tulsa, Ada's Mae Axton, "Hee Haw” host and guitar stan

dout Roy Clark of Tulsa, Hank Thompson of Oklahoma City, Roger "King of the Road” Miller and Sheb Wooley from Erick, and Western swing guitar legend Spade Cooley and Henson Cargill of Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma can currently boast three hugely successful rock acts on radio. Oklahoma City's aggressive pop-rock band Hinder swept onto the charts last year with "Lips of an Angel,” becoming a massive national success both on radio and in the concert business. Since its release in 2005, Hinder's "Extreme Behavior” has sold more than 2 million copies. And All-American Rejects from Stillwater can boast two platinum discs, including their latest, "Move Along.”

In terms of critical success and worldwide renown, The Flaming Lips are psych-rock legends and some of the most gifted musicians and performers in current alternative rock.

Oklahoma was an early breeding ground for jazz, blues and their child, rock 'n' roll. The state was a hub for some of the best swing bands in the region in the World War II era, which brought the great jazz guitarist and Oklahoma City resident Charlie Christian to the attention of Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. In the '50s and '60s, Stillwater's Chet Baker became an idol for his cool trumpet style and sweet alto voice.

Oklahomans were at the forefront of rock in its 1950s beginnings. Just before rock took off, singer Patti Page became a superstar with straight pop hits such as "(How Much is That) Doggie in the Window” and "Tennessee Waltz,” and Kay Starr had a sizable hit with "Wheel of Fortune.” Mae Axton helped spearhead rock 'n'roll by writing Elvis Presley's 1956 hit "Heartbreak Hotel,” and Oklahoma City's Wanda Jackson became Presley's touring partner and rockabilly's first female star with hits such as "Let's Have a Party” and "Fujiyama Mama.” In the '60s, Hoyt Axton, son of Mae, wrote "Greenback Dollar” for the Kingston Trio, "Never Been to Spain” and "Joy to the World” for Three Dog Night, and "The Pusher” for Steppenwolf, among others.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Lawton-born Leon Russell became one of the top session musicians, songwriters and performers, playing on a huge number of hit records beginning with Phil Spector's girl groups and having giant solo hits with "Lady Blue” and "Tightrope.” His presence in Tulsa gave rise to such artists as smooth pop-rock singer David Gates and Bread, blues-rock legend J.J. Cale, country-rock songwriter Steve Ripley and power-pop icons Dwight Twilley, 20/20 and Phil Seymour.

Recent decades saw the rise of great vocal bands such as the tight R&B group The GAP Band from Tulsa ("Party Train,” "You Dropped the Bomb on Me”), Oklahoma City vocal group Color Me Badd, and Tulsa's Hanson, a trio of brothers who helped spearhead the late-'90s teen-pop scene with "MMMBop.”

Other Oklahomans who kept the world rocking include Tulsan Carl Radle of Derek and the Dominos; Eric Clapton sideman Jamie Oldaker; Miami's Steve and Cassie Gaines, who went on to join Lynyrd Skynyrd; and Norman's contributions to alternative rock, The Chainsaw Kittens and The Nixons.


•culled from

Festival: LES FEUX DE BRAZZA (The Lights of Brazzaville)

You will be forgiven if you arrived in Brazzville with an expectation to see the city’s skyline lit up with an explosive and dazzling fireworks display at night during the celebration of  Festival: Les Feux de Brazza. Indeed the name “Feux de Brazza” (Lights of Brazzaville) seems to suggest that, but instead of dazzling pyrotechnic displays, the festival blows you away with an explosive and energetic performances of traditional music.


Following the success and popularity of FESPAM (Festival Panafricain de Musique), the need to create a cultural event, more focused on traditional music inspired the birth of Festival Populaire et International des Musiquées Traditionnelle popularly known as Feux de Brazza.

Founded by Gervais Hugues Ondaye in May 2005, Feux de Brazza was established to safeguard African traditions so that future generations will continue to be aware of the continent’s rich culture. Initially a 3-day event, the festival has since been expanded into a 7-day, week-long international event in recent times.

After the second editions in 2006, Les Feux de Brazza has been hosted biennially to alternate with the older FESPAM. The festival hosts groups of African artists, musicians, dancers, painters and researchers in various performances, workshops, competition and presentation of prizes.

The term feux de Brazza (Lights of Brazzaville) comes from the logs of firewood which are lighted usually by the Minister of Culture to kick off the festivities. According to the organizers, the ancestral tradition is symbolized by the flames (light). Les Feux de Brazza is a challenge to the younger generation to preserve Africa’s exciting culture of music and dance.

Following a series of explosion that rocked the capital in March 2012, the fifth edition of Les Feux de Brazzascheduled for August of that year was cancelled. However, the festival returned in 2014 with the theme “The African Musical Instrument and Its Role in World Music,” and was hosted from the 2nd to the 8th of August.

•culled from

Sunday 14 June 2020

Peace Festival Seeks to Unite Congolese

Congolese Culture. © Google

Musicians gathered this weekend in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, for the Amani Festival, a three-day event that promotes peace in Africa’s Great Lakes region. Tens of thousands of music fans will see artists from around the region perform.

GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — For the third straight year, Goma is playing host to the Amani Festival, an event that brings people of Africa’s Great Lakes region together through music.

The Great Lakes region experienced a rash of violent conflicts over the last 20 years, including the Rwandan genocide, civil war in Burundi and internal and cross-border conflict by armed groups in DRC.

The three-day festival, which began Friday, is named for the Swahili word amani, which means peace.

Festival promoter Eric de Lamotte says he is committed to advancing peace in the community.

“We intend to offer a festive space, allowing people to divert their attention away from everyday problems and the effects of war,” he says. “The people of the Great Lakes region will meet and think about a better shared future.”

There are 36,000 tickets available for the festival.

Kelvin Batumike, a cultural entrepreneur from Goma, says the festival is an opportunity for large-scale advocacy.

“All sections of the population will be represented,” he says. “Artists have the opportunity to express themselves and show that despite the war, Goma is a better place to live.”

Promoter de Lamotte says organizers worked to bring culturally attractive artists who share the same goal of promoting peace and reconciliation through dance and singing. Local artists will perform alongside featured artists from the region, including renowned Senegalese artist Ismaël Lô, Nigerian hip-hop, reggae and soul singer Nneka, Congolese singer Werrason and Zao, a popular Congolese artist and humorist from Brazzaville.

The festival slogan is “Playing for Change, Singing for Peace.”

“We believe that the culture, generally speaking, can become both the expression and the driving force behind a new society,” says de Lamotte. “Change will only come out of peace, unity and sharing.”

•By Ley Nwera

•culled from
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