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Spirit of Africa Presents Virtual One-Day Festival Streamed Live from Senegal

Festival features visual arts, music and dance on May 14 at 3 p.m.

SEATTLE (May 5, 2022)Seattle Center Festál continues with Spirit of Africa, a unique one-day virtual event streamed live from La Mer à Table in Dakar, Senegal, produced in partnership with Thione Diop and Inspired Child. The festival takes place on Saturday, May 14 at 3 p.m. and is available on Facebook and YouTube.

Host DJ CocoJean brings an upbeat style that energizes the rhythm and flow of the festival as he introduces and interviews artists. Performers include Bakalama Danse, Dady Thioune, Bolero and Nandy’s Band.

The mission of the Spirit of Africa Festival is to foster a climate of belonging, and increase positive perceptions, understanding and appreciation of the art, culture and people of the African diaspora.

Bakalama Danse, now in its 50th year, comes from the disciplines of movement, music and percussion. Its diversified activities revolve around traditional African songs and dances. Bakalama, meaning “calabash,” represents unity and rootedness in the Diola culture. Dady Thioune is a Senegalese artist, author, composer and interpreter, who makes word music. With opportunities to evolve among great musicians and especially with the musical school of the street, Dady Thioune has been propelled to the front of the Senegalese musical scene.

Bolero (Rene Sowatche) is a musician and guitarist from Benin. He discovered his love of Senegal in 2014 where he settled for a musical adventure. Bolero And The African Groove is his own Afrojazz Project. Their music is a mixture of traditional rhythms to form fusion-jazz tunes. Nandy Tamba Melo De Barros is a Caboverdian singer who decided to pursue her studies in Dakar, where she still lives.

“Spirit of Africa is an opportunity to celebrate Seattle’s communities across the global sphere, emphasizing how we can ensure out One Seattle approach goes beyond city lines,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Seattle has ties in many communities, and Spirit of Africa is a great example of how Seattle reaches outside out stretch of the Pacific Northwest.”

This year marks the 16th annual Spirit of Africa festival and performances will be posted online for future viewing after the festival’s live stream.

“Festál is all about celebrating cultures that make Seattle the diverse city it is,” said Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams. “Seattle Center is excited to help produce an event streamed all the way from Senegal for our Seattleites.”

More information is available on Seattle Center’s website.

About Spirit of Africa and its Producers
Thione Diop is a Seattle-based percussionist from Senegal, West Africa who tours internationally, teaches at the University of Washington, and is the founder and co-producer of the annual Spirit of Africa Festival in Seattle. Inspired Child is an art, science and heritage organization, founded by Monique Franklin, whose mission is the transference of craft from those who are experienced to those inspired to learn. This is Spirit of Africa’s 16th year as a festival. Information on the festival is available at inspiredchild.org/spiritofafrica and seattlecenter.com.

About Seattle Center Festál
Seattle Center Festál cultivates a deeper understanding of the cultures and ethnic diversity that contribute to the rich vibrancy of the Pacific Northwest. This unique series links together 24 free festivals presented on weekends from February to November, each with its own cultural focus, identity, and range of engaging activities. 2022 commemorates the 25th Anniversary of Festál, ushering in a new era of hybrid programs during this anticipated return to in-person events. Seattle Center Festál is where the world will gather to celebrate the people, the places, the stories, the traditions, and the next 25 years of innovation. Seattle Center Festál is produced in partnership with 24 different community groups and supported by 4Culture, City of Seattle, and Seattle Center Foundation. Festál is also part of the ArtsFund Cultural Partners Network.

About Seattle Center
Seattle Center is celebrating 60 years with all that is “New, Now, and Next” as Seattle’s hub for arts, sports, community events, and cultural festivals. Originally built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the dynamic 74-acre campus has transformed over the years to respond to, reflect, and represent the region’s ever-broadening community. Seattle Center and its iconic International Fountain are often referred to as the “Heart of Seattle,” serving as a treasured community gathering place where the local, regional, national, and international visitors come together every day. Today more than 30 cultural, educational, sports and entertainment organizations reside on the grounds, along with a diverse variety of public programs and thousands of events attracting more than 12 million visitors each year. At Seattle Center, part of Uptown Arts & Cultural District and home to Climate Pledge Arena, our purpose is to create exceptional events, experiences, and environments that delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities. Activities at the Center generate $1.864 billion in business activity and $631 million in labor income.


Photos, b-roll, and pre-event/event-day interviews with festival producers, performers, and special guests are available upon request.

Meghan McLaughlin, meghan.mclaughlin-c@seattle.gov

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