Africa at the Fringe

Every August, Edinburgh, Scotland is taken over by 100s (maybe 1000s) of arts and cultural events courtesy of various festivals. These include the Edinburgh International Festival and more famously, the incredibly diverse Edinburgh Festival Fringe – claiming to be "the largest, and greatest, arts festival in the world". There's just one week of this year's programme left but I thought I'd round up some of the Africa-related events to whet your appetite for the possibilities next year. 

Comedy

Andi-Osho

Andi Osho: All the Single Ladies
August 3 – 29, £5.00 – £14.00 
Following her hit 2010 Edinburgh debut, Andi (Channel 4's Stand Up for the Week) dissects the pitfalls of dating in this brutally honest and totally hilarious stand-up show. 

Bruce Fummey – My Afro Celtic Angst
August 4 – 28, free 
Scottish African, growing up seemed different. Bruce looks back on: mischievous schoolboy, playful physics teacher, parenting and Ghana. What next? 


Dance and Physical Theatre

Africa, Heart and Soul
August 8 – 21
Traditional Zimbabwean dance, music, rhythm and song. A wonderfully life-enhancing experience of culture and exuberance from the colourful heart of Zimbabwe. A fusion of beauty, irresistable movement and melodies to invigorate the spirit and soul. Presented by Grassroots Theatre.

 

Soy-de-Cuba

Soy de Cuba
August 4 – 29, £10.00 – £15.00
Red hot from Havana! Mambo, Salsa, Reggaeton! Surrender to the rhythms of Cuba. A legendary Salsa band – spectacular Cuban dancers. Passionate, unbridled infectious entertainment. The hottest high-octane dance party on the planet! Get ready to Rumba!
[I've included this because of the show's exploration of the African roots of Rumba] 

Exhibitions

Zimbabwe Sculptures
August 3 – 28, free
Vhukutiwa Gallery returns for its ninth exhibition of sculpture, presenting a haunting range of work, all with a remarkable tactile quality of evoking a world, part natural, part spirit-orientated, from some of the finest sculptors of the world. 

Music

Seckou-keita

Antonio Forcione (featuring Seckou Keita and Adriano Adewale)
August 15 – 19 
The Fringe's favourite guitarist launches his first new album in five years. Joined by internationally renowned Kora player, Seckou Keita, from Senegal and Brazilian percussionist, Adriano Adewale. Three musicians, true masters. Prepare to be amazed, enchanted and entertained. 

Remind Me (Fatalima): Samba Sene and Diwan
August 9 – 17
Engaging fusion of Senegalese traditional rhythms and grooves, with touches of reggae, latin, funk, rock and blues. Exploring the traditional grooves mid-week, with full on dance-beats on Saturday. 

Samba Sene and Diwan: Africa Calling
August 3 – 22, £10.00 
Exuberant Afrobeat/Mbalax fusion with touches of ska and rock. Original songs with impassioned vocals, infectious guitar licks and irresistible dancebeats. World party music with a Senegalese soul. 

 

Soweto-Entsha

Soweta Entsha
August 3 – 28, £7.00 – £14.50
A true miracle of the township. Four boys with voices of gold. Entsha in Zulu means new. This remarkable group are a joyous discovery from the beating heart of Soweto. Great music, inspirational harmonies, fabulous dance, unique African a capella. Unmissable. 

Theatre

David Leddy's 'Untitled Love Story'
August 5 – 29, £10.00 – £17.00
Multi award-winning 'site-specific genius' (Scotsman) and 'theatrical maverick' (List) presents serene, elegant, innovative meditation on Venice, love and loss. [Starring actress Adura Onashile] 

 

Dream-Pill

Dream Pill
August 4 – 28, £6.00 – £9.00
Meet Tunde and Bola, nine years old from Nigeria. Two girls sex-trafficked to London share with you their child's-eye view of the journey they have taken, the people they have encountered and their strange ways. 

Mad About the Boy
August 3 – 28, £6.00 – £10.00
Boy. Dad. Man. A lyrical tussle of will and minds. Written by Gbolahan Obisesan. 

'Master Harold' … and the Boys
August 6 – 9
South Africa, apartheid, a story of the coming of age of white teenager, Hally, who is torn between his father's opinions and the life-affirming lessons of his surrogate fathers, black waiters Sam and Willie. 

Rituals
August 4 – 15
Rituals, a musical and inspirational journey through community-driven healing processes following traumatic and violent experiences in Zimbabwe. This piece incorporates dances and songs, as done during the ritual ceremonies of many tribes during cleansing ceremonies. 

Zambezi Express
Cancelled
Award-winning tale of a boy from the back streets of Zimbabwe returns. Multi-layered African beats, a cappella vocals and wildly dynamic 20-strong company throwing heart and soul into a dizzyingly high-energy succession of jumping, jiving and acrobatic numbers. 

(All excerpts taken from the Fringe programme)

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I had the wonderful opportunity to experience a small slice of what's on offer over the past few days. I came with no expectations and I definitely hope to come back to more fully explore Fringe, one year soon!

Did I miss any? Did you see any shows? How were they?

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Image sources: Andi Osho, Soy de Cuba, Seckou Keita, Soweto Entsha, Dream Pill

2 thoughts on “Africa at the Fringe”

  1. Oh man – this line up looks fantastic! I’ve wanted to visit Edinburgh for such a long time this with a line up like this, I might just have to pull my act together for next summer! Thanks for sharing.

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