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Hastings' World Music Festival

Written By Hannah Collisson

Grammy Award-winner and Radio 3 World Music nominee Dobet Gnahore is headlining this year’s AfriKàBa Festival, Hastings’ annual celebration of African and Caribbean culture and heritage.
Known for her energetic stage presence, Dobet, from Ivory Coast, is a rising star of contemporary African music, singing in seven languages and in many musical styles from her native pop music ziglibiti through to Congolese rumba and Cameroonian bikoutsi.
She will be performing at the White Rock Theatre on October 12.
On stage, Dobet is a whirl of passion and motion as a musician, dancer and choreographer.
Her wild, acrobatic moves will be flanked by two of the UK’s most innovative African dancers - Kwame Obeng and Landing Manneh.
During the course of AfriKàBa Festival, which runs from October 3 to 12 there will be a packed programme of activities and events for all ages spanning music, art and theatre, taking place at venues around the town.
As well as music from Dobet Gnahore, Grupo Lokito will bring Afro-Cuban music and salsa to The Stade on October 4 as part of the annual Stade Saturdays programme.
Their music is a fusion of contemporary Congolese Soukous, and Salsa, spiced up with Afro Cuban rhythms,  with African dancing thrown into the melting pot.
The concert at 7.30pm will be followed by an after party at Taipan restaurant on the Hastings seafront (57 White Rock).
An African and Latin dance workshop will be led by local dancer Sharadarae Kasumu on October 4. Sharadarae specialises in contemporary street dance as well as traditional African styles that encompass Samba, Reggae, Flamenco, Maculele, Milonga, Tango, Salsa, Afro Cuban and Afro Brazilian.
For younger festival-goers, an afternoon of story-telling will take place in Bohemia Walled Garden on Sunday, October 5.
Led by Sharadarae Kasumu and Mary Dawson, participants will help to create a story featuring mystical flying birds, talking tigers, semi-friendly crocodiles and laughing hyenas.
At Hastings Museum on the same afternoon will be interactive storytelling from the Dende team with calabashes, talking shells and other surprises.
Spanning the festival will be the exhibition “Mysogyny is Suicide” by HKBFiNN, performance poet and recording artist.
Running from September 22 to November 30, it will include photographs and poems collected from his journeys around the world, with the exhibition set to a soundtrack of collected sounds from Madagascar, Japan, Martinique and France.
HKBFiNN’s new work “Amplifier”, billed as the world’s first spoken word opera, will be performed at the museum on October 10.
Taking as its subject matter the lives of three Africans seeking solace in the city, the work includes elements of poetry, voice and guitar, and a feature length film to tell the story.
In another strand of AfriKàBa Festival, speakers Gus John and Ted Cantle will debate the question of multiculturalism and what it means to be British, on October 8 at Sussex Coast College.
For information, prices and timings visit

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