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5th Annual Afrofunk Festival Brings Global Rhythms to Both Sides of the Bay

In it's fifth year, Afrofunk Festival has become one of the Bay Area’s most celebrated annual cultural events. The Afrofunk Festival’s mission remains the same: to bring love, peace, and understanding to the dancefloor, while expanding the global awareness of its audience.

This year, however, Afrofunk Festival is also expanding both its reach and its breadth, with shows on both sides of the Bay Area over a ten-day span, and a very special headlining set by Mali’s guitar-playing griot and Six Degrees recording artist Vieux Farka Toure. Best known as the son of the late legend Ali Farka Toure, Vieux stands at the crossroads of tradition and destiny. His 2007 remix album UFOs Over Bamako combined traditional guitar-based Malian folk music with state-of-the-art electronic beats. His most recent release, 2009’s Fondo, infuses electric riffs worthy of guitar-god status over a template rooted in African folk-blues, yet with an eye-opening contemporary appeal.

The Afrofunk Festival also features two shows—one in Berkeley and one in San Francisco—by Sila & the Afrofunk Experience, who are quite possibly the hottest world beat act in the Bay right now. Sila & the AFE’s critically-acclaimed second album Black President resonates with excursions into Afrobeat, reggae, samba, soukous, and James Brown territory, while frontman Victor Sila mixes socially-conscious political statements with personal affirmations of love and unity.

Rounding out the rest of the bill are Mission District-based local favorites Bayonics and Loco Bloco, representing the Latin side of the African Diaspora; Los Angeles’ premier Afrobeat revivalists Afrobeat Down; tropicalismo-influenced singer-songwriter Luke Top; and DJs Jeremiah and Walt Digz, spinning the hottest sounds from Rio to Timbuktu.

“This year with the Afrofunk festival, we are really emphasizing the global and universal aspects of Afro-groove. Afrofunk isn’t just African music, it represents the culture of the African Diaspora, both here in America and abroad,” said Maisha Productions co-Founder Victor Sila. Added fellow Maisha Productions co-Founder Jeremiah Kpoh, “We want to reach out to people all over the Bay and introduce them to these worldwide rhythms. Hopefully, they will be inspired to learn more about what’s going on around them.”

Continuing in the humanitarian spirit of past Afrofunk Festival h events, a portion of proceeds from this year’s show will benefit African charities helping underprivileged orphans and victims of war, famine, and AIDS. This year’s beneficiaries are Malawi’s Under the Baobab Tree and Uganda’s One Mama.

For more information on the 5th Annual Afrofunk festival, visit To learn more about the AFF’s humanitarian causes, visit or

What: 5th Annual AfroFunk Festival
Who/Where/How Much?: Sila & the Afrofunk Experience, DJ Jeremiah, July
14 @ Ashkenaz, $10-$13; Sila & the Afrofunk Experience, Bayonics, DJ
Walt Digz, July [email protected] the Independent, $15; Vieux Farka Toure, Luke Top,
DJ Jeremiah, July 18 @ the Independent, $20; Afrobeat Down, July 24 @
the Elbo Room, $10.

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