Six years after the first Sounds of Africa Exhibition captured the hearts and imaginations of a spellbound London crowd, the visual feast featuring some of the greatest names in African music returns, this time leveraging technology to create an immersive, 3D, virtual experience.
The initiative (@soundsofafricamusic) is dedicated to celebrating, showcasing, and archiving the very best of African music through the curation of photos, artefacts, and music. From some of the most iconic costumes to instruments and photographs, the Exhibition has brought the culture to the fore, being a pivotal part of the African music wave sweeping the world.
This year, the Exhibition’s theme Women in African music; using powerful imagery to highlight, celebrate and empower the challenges faced by women within the industry.
From Angelique Kidjo to Fatoumata Diawara, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Aziza Brahim and Nhlanhla Nciza, Niniola, Becca, Victoria Kimani and more, the event will display the essence of these performers, showcasing their fire and flame, their smooth sounds, and persistent, undeniable rhythm.
Just as important, this virtual event will celebrate the many unsung women behind the scenes. From backup dancers and singers to agents, costumiers, managers and fans. The women who fill out stadiums and concert halls, buying tickets, validating their favourite artistes, and transforming the African music scene into a globally appreciated phenomenon.
The studio house of Michael Tubes Creations(@michaeltubescreations) will be behind the Exhibition offering the eye-catching visuals. For almost a decade, Michael Tubes has carefully curated and documented the African music scene around the world using the powerful medium of photography. Tubes is renowned for capturing the essence of motion and has been hailed by many as one of the best contemporary documentary photographers in the UK today. In conjunction with Sounds of Africa, MTC will be exhibiting the beautiful artistry of African women in music.
This Exhibition will showcase the rich tapestry of Africa and its traditions within the contemporary music scene by engaging new audiences as well as Africans across the diaspora, allowing them to experience the wealth of sounds, styles and passions behind the continent’s foremost female performers.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. In music, as with many art forms, women’s endeavours are often overlooked, treated with more levity than the efforts of their male counterparts. To buttress this, the event will be dedicated to three amazing female African artistes who passed in 2020. Kodak, a talented dancer to the stars, Nicole Thea, a 24-year-old YouTube star, and finally, dancer Drey from the famous D3 Dancers. Indeed, this Exhibition not only shows the vast talents across the continent, but also the hard work behind the scenes, the unseen factors that burst forth into sight, song and sound that is uniquely female artistry.
Other than the visual journey, the Exhibition will also cover pivotal topics in the form of panel discussions, tackling ways of enhancing the visibility of women and their work on the music scene. The topics will cover issues such as women in leadership in African music, creating equal opportunities for female artists in a male-dominated music industry, and strategies for having more female decision makers in African music.
The Exhibition will be online, and can be found on soundsofafrica.org. It will run from the 1st May to 31st May, 2021.
You can follow previews and highlights on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #womeninafricanmusic #soaexhibition