Lingua Franca World Music Agency has been invited by Manchester venue Band on the Wall to provide local West African performers for the city wide three-month We Face Forward festival of West African contemporary art and music which was curated by Manchester City Council, Cityco and the Northern Quarter venue.
Throughout the summer Manchester’s museums and art galleries have displayed visual art by contemporary artist from West Africa and throughout that period local West African musicians, dancers and storytellers have performed and run workshops alongside the exhibitions.
Musicans have included kora player Jali Nyonkoling Kuyateh from the Gambia, master djembe player Sidiki Dembele from the Ivory Coast and PapaSam Alafia from Sierra Leone, who plays palm wine music. Dancers from West Africa have included Ghanaian Kuwor Sylvanus Kwashie, Sens Sagna from the Cassamance region of Senegal, Jokeh, a female Manding dancer from the Gambia and Cape Verdean dancer, Ana Maria Gomez Soare. Nigerian performance poet Abi Idowu has also entertained families with her Anansi storytelling.
Many of the performers also travelled to other venues and festivals on the We Face Forward Artbus. Lingua Franca World Music Agency was also commissioned to programme the main stage and performance workshops for the We Face Forward Closing Celebration in Piccadilly Gardens.