The first annual Pan African Festival concluded with a concert by K’NAAN at First Avenue on Monday evening, August 11. During the six days of festivities, replete with African and African immigrant contributions, the host venues added their American flavor to complement the focus on Africa.
Of particular note was an event held at Altered Esthetics, a community art gallery that embraces diversity of idea, medium, and artist. Located in an area zoned for mixed-use in Northeast Minneapolis, Altered Esthetics provided a location for DEMO to team up with both The Rake and Jazz88 for their monthly Gallery Grooves event.
Well over 75 patrons visited the gallery on Thursday, August 7th for complementary jazz, wine, and art, as displayed by dozens of artists both local and world-wide. AE’s current exhibit, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” included work by African sculptor Rabi Sanfo.
Kristin Henning, publisher of the Rake, an online news, events, and commentary magazine, remarked on the good happenstance of DEMO looking for a venue host at the same time as the Rake was looking for a location for their own music-infused event.
Their collaboration brought a visual as well as audio presentation by Drums & Art, a collection of musicians headlined by Wallace Hill. Kevin Barnes of Jazz88 introduced the Advanced Percussion Ensemble. The assemblage brought in various djembes, cowbells, and a small balafon. Their captivating first set lasted three quarters of an hour leaving the audience mesmerized with the polyphonic sounds they produced.
Stepping in between Drums & Art’s two sets with a more familiar style of American jazz, was guitarist John Penny. Along with friends, Penny played his Afro Brasilian inspired tunes as patrons enjoyed a variety of wine donated for the event.