MASA brings African stars to Abidjan

The ninth edition of the Market for African Performing Arts (MASA) kicks off in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Saturday 5 March and continues until the following Saturday 12 March.

Manu Dibango will perform at MASA in Abidjan. Photo: www.masa.ci
Manu Dibango will perform at MASA in Abidjan. Photo: www.masa.ci

Themed ‘re-invigorating the performing arts’, MASA's 2016 edition will see over 400 artist representing 68 countries across Africa and the Diaspora in music, theatre, comedy, dance and storytelling performing at the event.

The musicians selected to perform at MASA this year include talent from every corner of the continent, including: Marema (Senegal), Djmawi Africa (Algeria), Bantu (Nigeria), Eddy Kenzo (Uganda), special guest Ray Lema (DRC), Gaël Manangou (Congo-Brazzaville), Msafiri Zawose (Tanzania), Kunde Blues (Burkina Faso), Jenifer Solidade (Cape Verde), Kyekyeku (Ghana), African Groove (Guinea), Balla Moussa (Guinea), Naba TT (Mali), Amanar (Mali), Laetitia Zonzonbe (Central African Republic), Nteko (Congo-Brazzaville), Nelida Karr (Equatorial Guinea), Mawndoe (Chad), MadoJazz (South Africa), Mingas (Mozambique), African United (Morocco) and Zeynab (Bénin).

Manu Dibango (Cameroon), Bassékou Kouyaté (Mali) and Josey (Ivory Coast) performed at a special preview concert in Abidjan in late January and are also set to perform at the main event.

Cameroon will be particularly well represented at MASA this year. Besides Dibango, Macase, Krotal, and Danielle Eog Makedah (who a few days earlier will perform in Yaoundé at an event co-hosted by Music In Africa, ahead of their upcoming trip to Germany in April) are also expected at MASA, along with Sultan Hoshiminh, Sanzy Viany, Collectif HHD and Charlotte Dipanda.

Artists from the Diapora include G’ny (Guadeloupe), Thaïs Diarra (Switerland), Senaya (Canada), Ballou Canta (France), Awa Sangho (USA) and Capitaine Alexandre (France), as well as Saulo Fernandes and Ilê Aiyê from Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, the ‘guest city’ of this edition of MASA.

Local Ivorian acts on show will be Les Garagistes, Côrô Ouatt, Spyrow, Ba Banga Nyeck and Room Services.

Most of the showcases will be held at the Palace of Culture (Palais de la Culture) in the Niangoran Porquet Room from 7 to 9 March between 3pm to 6pm.

Beyond the music and other performances, MASA will also offer thought-provoking panel discussions. For example, ACPCultures+ will host a talk on regional cooperation and development for the performing arts on Monday 7 March from 10.30am to midday at the Palace of Culture. The discussion will explore the various tools, potential partners and communication strategies to develop a better regional cooperation.

“MASA is an unique platform to present the results, impact and best practices of the ACPCultures+ Programme,” said Léonard-Emile Ognimba, Assistant Secretary-General of ACPCultures+. “We are particularly happy of this cooperation that allows our organisation to develop closer links with the culture professionals.”

First conceptualized in the 1990s, MASA is the cultural platform for promoting African Performing Arts, supporting creativity and productions of excellence and facilitating the movement of artists and their works within Africa and throughout the world, while at the same time providing capacity building for artists and key professionals in the field of production.

This year’s MASA follows an impressive marketing campaign that saw the organisers host press conferences and promotional events as far afield as Brussels, Belgium in early December 2015 and in New York, USA in mid-January 2016.

MASA 2016 kicks off on 5 March with an opening ceremony at the Palace of Culture from 10am, following be an opening concert from 5pm featuring Ilê Aiyê, Adama Dramé, Doussou Bakayoko, Mylmo, Youglou Makers and Kedjevara.

For more information, visit the MASA website.

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