By John Owoo
(At large in Aarhus – Denmark)
Afro Pop singer Noella Wiyaala last week mesmerized fans at the Danish city of Aarhus with a magnetic stagecraft during the 2016 edition of the Pan African Arts Festival (PANAFEST).
Clothed in a charming costume made from African fabrics, she engaged the audience at the Aarhus Botanical Garden with a dramatic fusion of sounds that sent them on a journey through some distinct but very closely-knit territories, which they are without doubt familiar with.
Alongside elements of tribal folk music, the concert was fittingly firm, trickily woven and tranquilly penetrating – and provided a solid platform for the promotion of rhythms and a soulful voice from the Upper West Region of Ghana.
African Footprint Legends (AFL) took the stage by storm with a curious blending of ritualistic rhythms with highlife. Employing a combination of Western and traditional instruments from Ghana and Burkina Faso, the group surprised the audience with music that is contemporary, but with it’s heart firmly embedded in traditional Africa.
With musicians and dancers from Denmark, Ghana and Burkina Faso, AFL turned the stage into a music groove – and elation suddenly became an infectious commodity – moving from artists to the audience, audience to the artists and eventually from musician to musician.
In a related concert at NY V 58, a performance hall in downtown Aarhus, Ghanaian reggae star Shasha Marley – who is noted for his Franciscan Friar-like costumes – swayed the cheering crowd with his charismatic voice and an incredible stage presence.
Full of energy, Marley who was joined by Ghanaian and Danish musicians, displayed a real sense of creativity and absolute skill as reggae fans among the audience applauded, danced and joined in the singing.
Also on stage at NY V 58 were the Rasta Mizizi Family (Kenya) and Shungu Afro Beat (Denmark) while the Botanical Garden also hosted DJs, acrobats, poets, storytellers, art, crafts and food exhibitions as well as fashion shows.
Yves Afro Events organized and presented the festival, which was supported by Aarhus Kommune, Goodness Photo, Reach Out For A Child, House of Kente, Little Sir & Madam and AVANU.