Africa Week Dalston returns May 20-26

Africa Week Dalston returns May 20-26

AFRICA WEEK FESTIVAL: Senegal’s soul-sensation Abdoulaye Samb will be performing alongside on Africa Day

ON 25 MAY, 1963, the Organisation of African Unity was formed between newly-liberated African nations. Over 50 years later, Africa Day is still celebrated around the world, not least in Dalston, the cosmopolitan beating heart of Hackney.

Africa Week Dalston is a grassroots festival bringing together contributions from local venues, established talents, emerging artists and the community to celebrate and explore the African and Diaspora influences that make up Dalston’s community fabric.

Kicking off on Monday, May 20, the event series features nightly performances of the gripping play Hoard at the Arcola Theatre, written by Bim Adewunmi and directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr, before things crank up a notch heading into the weekend with Lord Ambassador Sound System vs Lionheart Sound at The Jago on Friday 24.

On Africa Day itself, Saturday, 25, May, the spirit of liberation and togetherness will be in full flow around Gillett Square.

Family-friendly fun and games for the Dalston Children’s Festival – including hula hooping with Marawa’s Majorettes – will be complemented by a performance from Senegal’s soul-sensation Abdoulaye Samb, along with open mic performances and African heritage books and readings from outside the Vortex Jazz Bar.

SCREENING: Fallou Gallas Dia and Cheryl May Ndione in AMAA-nominated short film Fallou (Image: Matilde Damele)

The celebrations continue into the evening with Dalston Highlife – a party across the square at Studio I AM, immersing guests in a world of African rhythms selected by Kodjovi Kush (Afrospot). Short film screenings including Black Stars of Highlife and Fallou – the Dalston-based production nominated for an Africa Movie Academy Award – will be screened alongside artwork from Natasha Muluswela, with the food from the BBQ. The open invitation extends to guests who want to contribute music, films and artwork.

Africa Day wraps up with Coco Maria, Flamingods, Palo Santo Disco and Lex Blodin lining up afro-infused worldly vibes at TRC Dance at Club Makossa, before the grand finale on Sunday 26. A hotly anticipated Church of Sound invites Johannesburg’s dynamic collective The Brothers Move On to share their take on the legendary works of Batsumi and Molombo, as well as highlights from their own back catalogue.

For more info, and to get involved by sharing a performance, film, art piece or favourite song, visit

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