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Apollo Theater and World Music Institute to Present 2014 AFRICA NOW Festival, 4/2-6

Apollo Theater and World Music Institute to Present 2014 AFRICA NOW Festival, 4/2-6

The Apollo Theater and World Music Institute present AFRICA NOW, a four-day music festival spotlighting today's African music scene. The second annual festival will feature a powerful lineup of artists who have drawn upon their roots for inspiration - and transplanted them onto the global music landscape. Africa Now will be anchored by a blow-out concert, April 5th, on the legendary Apollo stage featuring: Malian songstress Fatoumata Diawara; Senegalese trio Les Frères Guissé; and reggae/Afrobeat collective Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.

As part of the Apollo's 80th anniversary season, the Africa Now Festival further establishes the legendary Theater's longstanding role as a creative catalyst for Harlem, New York, and the nation and as a platform for culturally diverse artists. "We are absolutely delighted to present the second year of Africa Now with World Music Institute. Our program of artists showcases the amazing range of musical talent within the African music scene. Last year's sold-out Mainstage concert set the bar very high, and those who attend the festival know they can expect a world-class event, a great line-up, and an overall incredible experience." - Mikki Shepard, Apollo Theater Executive Producer "WMI continues to be at the forefront of creating exciting new formats that bring world cultures to NYC, and we are thrilled to be working with the Apollo on this latest venture. Africa Now is a wonderful way for audiences to dig into the diverse contemporary music scene in one of America's most iconic venues. I am still getting stopped on the street by people who attended last year's launch of Africa Now and can't wait for it to return." - Karen Sander, World Music Institute Artistic and Executive Director The Apollo Theater recently announced the public phase of a $20 million fundraising campaign to extend the nonprofit institution's role in fostering artistic innovation, supporting emerging artists, and deepening its engagement with audiences locally, nationally, and internationally. The 21st Century Apollo Campaign supports the growth of a variety of programmatic initiatives, including the Africa Now Festival.

Tickets are $45, $35, $25; Premium tickets are $65. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the Apollo Theater Box Office, 125th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212/531-5305 and Ticketmaster,
(800) 745 3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

Festival Schedule

Apollo Music Café: Africa Now! Featuring Fela! Band
Friday, April 4, 2014, 10 p.m.
Apollo Theater Soundstage

The Apollo Theater joins forces with Okayafrica for this special edition of Apollo Music Café to spotlight Africa's New Wave of progressive artists who blend traditional beats with futurist lifestyles. The evening will feature the Fela! Band with lead singer Sahr Ngaujah and musicians associated with the musical "Fela!" as well as special guest performers.

Tickets are $20; Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the Apollo Theater Box Office, 125th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212/531-5305 and Ticketmaster, (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

Apollo "Family Showtime" Performance
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 1 p.m.
Apollo Theater Soundstage

The beauty, power and richness of the music of Les Frères Guisses (The Guissé Brothers)
is rooted in the heart of Senegal's and West Africa's many diverse cultures and traditions. Natives of the Fouta region, in North Senegal, Alioune, Cheikh and Djiby Guisse are gifts of the same river that birthed the rich musical legacy of Ali Farka Touré, Kar Kar (Boubakar Traoré) and Seydina.

Tickets are $10; Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the Apollo Theater Box Office, 125th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212/531-5305 and Ticketmaster, (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

Apollo's Africa Now
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 8 p.m.
Apollo Theater Mainstage

Apollo Mainstage concert featuring: Fatoumata Diawara, the Malian songstress, adds an African spin to the concept of the female singer-songwriter. She has created her own distinct contemporary folk sound, inspired by Wassoulou tradition, jazz, and blues; Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars (SLRAS), one of Africa's most active touring bands, fuses traditional West African music with roots reggae, full of bubbling rhythms, irresistible hooks, and intricate dub elements; and Senegalese trio Les Frères Guissé, whose close harmonic singing primarily in Peulh and Wolof, swirls around the melodies of two acoustic guitars and subdued percussion - and mesmerizes the audiences they encounter. Hear how these artists have drawn upon their roots for inspiration and transplanted them into the global music landscape.

Tickets are $45, $35, $25; Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the Apollo Theater Box Office, 125th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212/531-5305 and Ticketmaster, (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

Apollo Music Café: Africa Now! Featuring Azania
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 10 p.m.
Apollo Theater Soundstage

The Music Café series celebrates Africa Now with Sierra Leone born singer Azania. With her captivating voice and powerful energy, Azania is a phenomenal performer and a joy to see on stage. Performing in over 800 concerts around the globe, she has sung everywhere from major music festivals such as the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival to performing for the Presidents of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Tickets are $20; Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the Apollo Theater Box Office, 125th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212/531-5305 and Ticketmaster, (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

Additional Festival Activities:

Africa Now! - Film Screening
Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
Maysles Documentary Center (343 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY 10027)

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars is a documentary film about Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars band, composed entirely of refugee from Freetown displaced to Guinea during the civil war of Sierra Leone. Free.

Africa Now! Late Night Jam with Shrine World Music Venue at Silvana
Friday, April 4, 2014, 12 a.m.
Silvana (300 W 116th Street)

Presented by Shrine World Music Venue, the late night jam features Allinor, Ghanaian born artist who blends western blues, reggae with traditional music to create a soul stirring, mood setting style of melodic rhythms. Tickets are $10.

Africa Now! After Party with Shrine World Music Venue at Shrine World Music Venue
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 12 a.m.
Shrine World Music Venue (2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.)

Presented by Shrine World Music Venue, DJ Madi Guigma (Mali) will DJ. Tickets are $10.

Everyday People Brunch Celebrates Africa Now! at MIST Harlem

Sunday, April 6, 2014, 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
MIST Harlem (46 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10026)

Co-hosted by Chef Roblè and Saada and, Everyday People is a monthly brunch party with a 90's R&B soundtrack. Music by DJ Moma. Brunch tickets are $30.

For exclusive photos, updates and more, use hashtag #AFRICANOW and follow the Apollo Theater:

Facebook.com/apollotheater
Twitter.com/apollotheater
YouTube.com/apollotheater
Instagram.com/apollotheater

ABOUT THE APOLLO THEATER: The Apollo is a national treasure that has had significant impact on the development of American culture and its popularity around the world. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D'Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom on the Apollo's stage. The Apollo Theater's new artistic vision builds on this legacy. New Apollo programming has music as its core, driving large scale and more intimate music, dance, and theater presentations. The Apollo will continue to present historically relevant programs, as well as more forward-looking, contemporary work. Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.

About WMI: The New York Times World Music Institute is a not-for-profit concert presenting organization founded in 1985 and dedicated to the presentation of the finest in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world. WMI encourages cultural exchange between nations and ethnic groups and collaborates with community organizations and academic institutions in fostering greater understanding of the world's cultural traditions. WMI works extensively with community groups and organizations including Indian, Iranian, Chinese, Korean, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Hungarian, Irish, and Central Asian. This has enabled it to be at the forefront of planning and presenting the finest ensembles from these countries.

WMI presents a full season of concerts each year in New York City, and arranges national tours by visiting musicians from abroad, as well as US-based artists. WMI's accomplishments and expertise in its field are recognized by major institutions throughout the US and internationally.

WMI has brought many musical, dance and ritual traditions to the New York stage for the first time, including Laotian sung poetry, folk music of Khorason and Bushehr (Iran), songs of the Yemenite Jews, Bardic divas of Central Asia, trance ceremonies from Morocco, music from Madagascar, and Theyyams (masked dances) of Kerala, South India. Many artists have been given their U.S. or New York debuts by WMI.

Pictured: From left: Mainstage artists Fatoumata Diawara, Les Frères Guissé, and Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.

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