Malian singer and songwriter Fatoumata Diawara. Photo by Aida Muluneh
Twenty years is a lifetime in popular music. Twenty years of a popular music event in South Florida is, well, unheard of. And then, there’s the Afro Roots Fest, still growing and still surprising as it launches its 21st edition. Two extraordinary vocalists, Mali’s Fatoumata Diawara and Mauritania’s Noura Mint Seymali headline this year’s Miami Beach program, a celebration of, as organizers put it, “the feminine spirit of world music.” The event, held at the North Beach Bandshell, is a collaboration between Community Arts & Culture, MDC Live Arts and the Rhythm Foundation.
“I wanted to focus on women in global music,” says Jose Elias, founder and artistic and executive director of Community Arts & Culture. “That is our theme this year. But the curatorial aspect of this show was a collaboration. You’ve seen the work MDC Live Arts has done, and the Rhythm Foundation have been the maestros of presenting world-class global music in this community for many years now.”