We all know the big respect that Rototom Sunsplash Festival always showed for Africa creating an program of the African Village that offers music, reflection, learning and dance. African Village represents the more rebellious side of the reggae world, a revolutionary genre that has always been united to Africa and the African cause. This link once again make itself obvious in the 26th edition of the Rototom Sunsplash festival, which has included some interesting changes in one of its most dynamic spaces, without losing its essence. Show, debate, discover and share is the challenge, as well a drinking in the diversity of a continent that fills Benicàssim with vitality. From August 16 to 22, African Village, and the voices that represent it, take centre stage. The Senegalese human rights author and activist Mamadou Dia heads the African Village for the first time, focusing on some of the most important issue that currently matter to the populations of African both internally and externally. All this, with an extra dose of critical thinking, comments Dia, for whom the fact that a reggae festival incorporates a space “to bring Africa closer to Europe and shorten the distances that still separate us” does nothing but “enrich it even more“.
Ataya represents the biggest change in the area. A focal point of direct and close dialogue evolving around the tea ceremony -traditional in the central strip of the continent, from Senegal to Ethiopia- offering space of discussion to prestigious Africans and Afro-descendants, such as the activist Sani Ladan, the writer Desirée Bela-Lobedde and the journalist Lucía Mbomio. Together each day they will discuss, from 16:00 in the shelter of Ataya, the challenges of African dignity from the perspective of cyber-activism -in the talk We will occupy the NET on August 17-; the anti-racist campaign #Wearemore (Sunday 18), which will be present at Rototom along with other initiatives that have sprung up all over Europe, such as the German #WirSindMehr or Love music, hate racism movement in England.
On August 19, it will be the turn of the session Let’s Talk Politics that accepts the challenge of analysing who represents the African and Afro-descendant communities and how they do so. Building a legacy for the new generation (Tuesday 20); Decolonizing the mind and Sustainable Initiatives to create a more dignified, responsible and supportive society (August 21 and 22, respectively), complete the program of debates during the Ataya.
The dancers Makady, Indee Style and Flora (African Dancers Crew) will bring the modern dance moves, with Cumba from Senegal giving a more traditional flavour to the area’s African dance slot, every afternoon from 18:30 to 20:00. They will fuse the day with the dusk perfectly, welcoming in the sonic universe of African Village, which this year offers a musical journey through Ghana, Angola, Senegal and Ethiopia with six leading bands on the bill and DJ sessions at the rhythm of afrobeat and coupé-décalé until dawn.
Every day (except August 22), from 21:30, the African Stage will be the only active stage after the first concert of the Main Stage. A musical epicentre of which the Guinean-Spanish singer Marga Mbande will raise the curtain on August 16, presenting Moulema Beats, a project with electronic sounds, uptempo and touches of afrobeat that also includes the percussionist Jordi Anchobeta Sanz and the DJ and beat maker Ches. On Saturday 17, the Ethiopian vibes will be brought by Qwanqwa, bulwark of experimenting with traditional Ethiopian music and with several festivals and two European tours to their name.
The sounds of Ghana take the African Stage on August 18, with one of the country’s leading bands set to take the international scene, Fokn Bois, that will play their first concert in Spain at Rototom Sunsplash. Their ascendance has been marked most recently by their collaboration with the singer of Blur and the Gorillaz, Damon Albarn.
On August 19, from the same rhythmic universe will be Kwame Ghana High Life. While, on Tuesday the 20th will see Noche Afribuku take the stage, with another of the powerful shows for this year’s edition: the Guiss Guiss Bou and the DJ set with Celeste Mariposa, who will also perform for the first time in Spain on the African Stage.
The sets of the African Disco will play through dawn at the festival with Dj Douds(Senegal), the area’s resident, who will be joined on Saturday the 17th by N’Zinga(Spain / Nigeria); the Spanish Dj Diego Armando (Sunday 18); Celeste Mariposa(Portugal, August 20) and Betto Snay from Angola (Wednesday 21).