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African rhythms come to town

india Updated: May 14, 2010 23:29 IST

Hindustan Times
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An 'Africa Festival' with just five African countries may seem to be a bit of a cheat but the events promise Delhi an exciting two-day affair (May18-19). Says Virendra Gupta, the Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR): "There is very little programming initiative taken by some African countries. But we have always encouraged people-to-people linkages with the continent. The festival is meant to underline the importance Africa has for the ICCR."

The participating nations are South Africa, Rwanda from the eastern side of the continent, Nigeria from the west, Malawi, a country that chairs the Africa Union and Tunisia from North Africa.

On May 19, the Rwandan troupe performs in Lucknow. The next day Chandigarh gets the Tunisian group and Jaipur, the South Africans. On May 21, the Malawi artistes go to Hardwar and the Nigerians to Agra.

The highlight of the Delhi festival is the presentation of Ubuhle Besintu, a one-stop musical of all South African indigenous dances told against a contemporary backdrop. An 11-member traditional music group, Ifriga, from Tunisia brings a mix of rhythm, dance and trance, a collection of unique music of North Africa seeking the origins of ancient cultures that existed in the Ifriga region (Tunisia-North Africa) until the present day through Saharan and Berber music and songs. The Aka Kwacha national dance troupe from Malawi presents, among others, Msindo (a dance for elderly women of the Maseko clan of the Ngoni of central Malawi). Nigeria's 17-member group closes the festival.

Dance aficionados get a double treat this week. China brings to town on May 16, the well-known China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe. Since its birth in 1987, the group has toured more than 60 countries with its presentation of My Dream, a special music and dance ensemble by professional artistes with hearing, visual and physical disabilities. The artistes have a variety of other identities as well. They are common workers, farmers and students.

Africa Festival, May 18-19, Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg. Passes available at the ICCR office, Azad Bhawan, Indraprastha Estate.

China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe, May 16, 7:30 pm, Kamani Auditorium. For ticket details call 26881249 or log in to: