03 April 2018
FLORIDA KEYS — The annual Afro Roots World Music Festival has celebrated the evolution of African culture by featuring some of the best performers from the Caribbean, the Americas and Africa during the last two decades. For the first time in its 20-year history, Afro Roots Fest is to travel to the Florida Keys for a variety of events from late April through early June.
The regional tour includes a full slate of attractions Saturday, April 28, at Islamorada’s eclectic Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, 151 Morada Way between mile markers 81 and 82, home to the popular monthly Third Thursday Art Walks.
The outdoor site is to transform into an entertainment emporium 3-10:30 p.m., featuring African dance and percussion workshops, a global instrument show-and-tell program for kids and families, vendors and more.
Live music performances include the “tropidelic” sounds of Nag Champayons, Miami-based Cortadito, with their son montuno brand of Cuban music, and the Colombian-Caribbean folkloric music of Grupo Barrio Abajo.
Admission to the daylong Islamorada event is free but a $10 per person donation is suggested. Attendees of all ages are welcome.
The festival continues in Key West with Tomas Diaz and the Sound Boutique performing live Thursday, May 17, at the Green Parrot Bar, 601 Whitehead St.
Friday, May 18, a free, family-friendly event is planned 4-7 p.m. at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St. Musicians Jude “Papaloko” Thegenus of Haiti and Senegal’s Morikeba Kouyate are to host a cultural workshop and lecture, as well as a show-and-tell of artistry and instruments.
The talented pair is to perform together in a music concert set for 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19, also at The Studios. Papaloko, a Haitian visual artist, activist and musician, is to exhibit his vocal talents along with songs of the drum, while Kouyate, who is known for his electrifying performances of rich spiritual music, plays the West African kora, a 21-string instrument.
General admission tickets are $38 per person, $30 for TSKW members and $55 for VIP tickets. Advance ticket purchases can be made online at tskw.org/20-years-of-afro-roots/.
The festival’s final Florida Keys stop is in Key Largo from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center, mile marker 104 bayside.
Attendees can enjoy dance and drumming workshops and food and craft vendors as well as music. Performers include Louis Leslie Marcelin, a roots music artist known as Sanba Zao in the Haitian community, and Toto Omana, a Congolese singer and guitar wizard from Kinshasa.
Also expected to appear are Cuban rhythm masters Los Herederos and the 305 Street Band presenting a mashup of big band, funk and hip hop. Event tickets are $20 per person.
Festival information: AfroRootsFest.com or #ARWMF20
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS
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