The African Festival of the Arts (AFA) Held each Labor Day weekend in Chicago, offers the best in entertainment from around the world, and this year is no exception. The historic Washington Park headliners are just one element of the renowned festival that offers a glimpse into the many unique treasures of the African Continent including African-centered offerings from across the globe.
According to a statement issued by the organisers, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey will headline the Nigerian Day Saturday Night Juju festivities.
Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey musical talent was recognized early on when he was asked to lead the band at his Methodist Primary School. After moving to Lagos in the mid-1950s he played in various other bands before starting his own, the International Brothers, in 1964. Soon they had a hit juju single “Ewa Wowun Ojumi Ri.” Though juju had been around for a while it was still highly influenced by Ghanaian highlife. Obey modernized the sound by adding the funkiness of Yoruba drumming, more Western-style guitars and drum-kits, and added multiple talking drums, where only one had been used before. That was the beginning of modern juju. As he says:
“It’s like cooking a soup. If you put in many different ingredients, it tastes richer and better” Juju Queen Bunmi Ajibade will open for Obey.
The theme of this year’s festival is Ruwadzano, which means ‘togetherness’ in the East African language of Shona in Zimbabwe. During this year’s event, AIH will recognize the impact togetherness has in relationships, in business, and in service to community by
recognizing those who embody the concept. This year’s Grand BaBa is WGN’s Robert Jordan and the Grand YeYe is Diane Dinkins-Carr.
Known for its themed entertainment featured on two stages each day of its four-day run, this year, Friday night will be Chicago Dance Night featuring tunes chosen especially for Chicago steppers; Saturday night is .
The African Festival of the Arts is one of the largest, and longest running festivals in the Midwest focused on African art and culture, and each year draws tens of thousands of people to Washington Park. The AFA is a four-day immersion into African culture and heritage as Chicago’s historic Washington Park is transformed into an authentic African village. Over 300 vendors and artisans will present artifacts, textiles, traditional crafts, and museum-quality art. Enjoy the African-influenced food, music, and dance traditions during an entertainment rich, family-focused celebration unlike any other in the Midwest