As September draws to a close, I'm getting geared up for a bunch of exciting events in October. I'm one of those people who plans her social calendar waaaay in advance and diligently researches to find Afri-love-inspiring events. Not always easy but definitely worth it! I thought that I'd spare you some of the time and effort and compile all the Africa and Diaspora related events that I find each month. I also hope to tap into the power of crowd-sourcing to create an even richer listing for all of us. I invite you to share the great discoveries that you make in your "yard" (see the bottom of this post for details). Enjoy!
Today, The Gambia celebrates Independence Day. The smallest country on the continent in size but a large melting pot of diverse cultural influences. Gambia was an important site for the transatlantic slave trade and it is believed that as many as 3 million slaves were taken from the region during that period alone. The fictional Kunta Kinte, the progenitor of all the generations in Alex Haley's book, and later TV series, Roots, was from the Gambia.
In celebration of this day, and in true TGIF! fashion, here are some sounds from Jally Kebba Susso who comes from a very long line of Manding griots from The Gambia.
Mali, specifically Bamako, is home to the Biennial of African Photography (Rencontres de Bamako – the site is en français and if you don't speak/read French, you can still enjoy the beautiful photos here.) Dubbed by Samuel Sidibé, Délégue Général at last year's event, as "one of the only places for African photography on the international scene," the event brought together 50 photographers and a handful of video artists from around the continent. You can read more about the 8th Biennial, and see more pictures, on the Nafas art magazine website (in English).
Perhaps more well-known for its music, with musicians carrying on and evolving the griot tradition, below is a taste of Malian music to celebrate today: