Global African Music Festival Series

Dr. Karlton E. Hester, Artistic Director

Overview | Bay Area | Education | History


The Global African Music Festival Series is intended to be a joint venture involving musicians from around the world supported by private and public agencies within and outside the local communities. Performance is central to understanding and evolving the African music tradition. We propose using festival performance as a mechanism for galvanizing community involvement in "jazz," increasing economic opportunity for musicians, providing more appropriate accoustical environments for musicians to present their art, strengthening the Global African music community, and creating educational opportunities for students, the general public, and researchers. The core project of the festival series is the annual Santa Cruz Global African Music Festival.


Progress to Date:

Thus far the first Global African Music Festival of this series has taken place in Santa Cruz in April 2002, and next year's festival is planned for April 2003. One of our primary areas of focus is in establishing sister festivals in other cities. Dr. Hester has traveled to Savannah (GA), South Africa, and to Egypt to arrange for additional cooperative festival opportunities. Other locations under consideration are Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Ghana, Uganda and Paris.

As we consider additional locations around the world we have also developed a partnership with a travel agency capabale of facilitating travel and logistical arrangements. World Travel Vignettes has extensive experience in South Africa and Egypt travel is developing festival opportunities in both countries on behalf of our project. Prospective sponsors include the Cairo Opera House, Oberoi Hotels, University of Cape Town and the African Harvest North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town. Furthermore, WTV has been researching and identifying educational study opportunities to correspond with the educational goals of our Educating Tomorrow's Creative Scholars and Musicians program. This program will support the efforts of domestic as well as international festival locations.

The Santa Cruz Global African Music Festival:

The first annual festival was held in April 2002 (for more information Click Here). The artist lineup included the Sam Rivers Trio, Hotep Galeta, Mamdou Diabate (Mali), Thomas Mapfumo (Zimbabwe), Dr. Nelson Harrison, Obo Addy (Ghana), Twins Seven-Seven (Nigeria), Eddie Gale and Hesterian Musicism.

For the 2003 festival we will be presenting a Global African Music and Arts Festival/Symposium, scheduled for April of 2003. The events are being organized and directed by Dr. Karlton Hester and UCSC Art History professor Elisabeth Cameron in collaboration with Zook Beat and Dr. Nontsizi Cayou of Wajumbe Cultural Center in San Francisco. The festival/symposium will feature lectures, panel-discussions, interdisciplinary performances and work-shops that will show-case the work of our invited artists and scholars. Please check back soon for further details on the 2003 events.

Educational Programs:

In conjunction with each festival in the series, lectures, workshops, conferences and other education events focusing on significant issues related to global African music are presented. We seek to sponsor and promote performances and workshops by innovative Global African artists who incorporate historical, cultural, economic and artistic elements into their work, therefore an educational component is not only easily facilitated, but fundamental to the festival itself. A primary goal of the educational component will be to address informational deficiencies in the public's understanding of the Global African music tradition by conveying historical information through the artists themselves. There is a special interest in sharing this component with a wide range of young and under-served audiences in an effort to build an informed global community.

All festival concerts, oral histories and educational programs are recorded on digital video and audio tape for possible inclusion in the Living Encyclopedia of Global African Music. This component will be essential as we try to build a comprehensive online database of historical and contemporary activities in global African music.


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