The Arts Council of New Orleans, in partnership with AfricaNola and the Preservation Hall Foundation is presenting the 2nd annual Celebrate Africa Day Festival. This significant event takes place at the Arts Market of New Orleans Saturday, March 30th from 10:00am to 4:00pm in Palmer Park at the corner of S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne Avenues. Celebrate Africa Day at the Arts Market of New Orleans strives to promote, preserve, perpetuate and encourage the music, culture and heritage of African and African-American communities in Louisiana.
Celebrate Africa Day at the Arts Market of New Orleans Performance Schedule:
11:30am - African story time at the Kids Tent
12:00pm - Second Line thru the park led by: Preservation Hall Jr. Jazz Band
12:15 – 1:00pm - Performances by Preservation Hall Jr. Jazz Band
1:30 – 2:30pm - Performance by Africa Brass
2:30pm - African dance performances by Jamilah Peters Muhammad
2:30pm -African story time at the Kids Tent
3:00 – 4:00 pm - Drum circle and workshop with Luther Gray
Celebrate Africa Day at the Arts Market of New Orleans will focus on African music, culture and artistry as well as their connection to Louisiana. West African melodies and rhythms serve as the basis for much of New Orleans music and our market schedule will include musical performances that celebrate this aspect of our rich musical culture. The Preservation Hall Jr. Jazz Band consists of aspiring young musicians ages 10-17 and under the mentorship of AfricaNOLA they have developed a musical style that integrates West African music, New Orleans brass, and jazz. The Preservation Hall Jr. Jazz Band has played alongside their mentors at Preservation Hall as well as the New Orleans Superdome and the world-famous Carnegie Hall. They will lead a second line parade through Palmer Park to kick off our performances for the day. They will then do a spirited set of traditional and African jazz. Market attendee participation is highly encouraged!
Our second ensemble, Africa Brass represents the most innovative, globally-inspired marriage or brass and drums. To envision the sound of Africa Brass, close your eyes and imagine the sound of West African drumming connecting with American Jazz and ultimately falling in love with New Orleans brass. Africa Brass’ music has been described as powerful, moving and spiritual – bridging the cultures of two continents and eight centuries. The Louisiana Weekly recently described Africa Brass as “expressively modern” and “forward thinking.” Africa Brass has excited audiences with performances at major musical event, including Congo Square’s New World Rhythms Festival, French Quarter Festival and New Orleans Afrikan Film and Arts Festival.
Jamilah Peters Muhammad will honor us with a brief dance performance – demonstrating the power and grace that encapsulates African dance traditions. Ms. Muhammad, fondly known as “Mama Jamilah,” is a certified nurse practitioner and professional dancer who currently works as a community health consultant. She leads health-oriented programming throughout the community that encourages individuals to “dance their way to wellness.”
The final musical component of Celebrate Africa Day at the Arts Market will consist of a drum circle lead by Luther Gray. Mr. Gray is the founder of the Congo Square Foundation as well as the musical group Bamboola 2000. His musical style incorporates New Orleans, Caribbean and African roots. His hour-long workshop will include an open drum circle and a historical perspective of West-African drumming in a modern day context. All are invited to join in and bring their own drums, bells, shakers and music makers!
Under the kids tent children of all ages will be invited to make their own African-inspired crafts and noise makers. Our children’s programming for the day will also include an African-themed story corner presented by the New Orleans Public Library.
Celebrate Africa Day at the Arts Market of New Orleans will be a unique opportunity for all ages, ethnicities and economic levels to come together in Palmer Park and experience African culture, music and dance. New Orleans would not be the city it is without the contributions of its African ancestors, this event will recognize and celebrate those contributions and continue to keep African heritage and culture alive.