BEST PRACTICES OF APCULTURES+ : NETWORK FOR AFRICAN TALENTS

The project

The project was developed by focusing on historical partner activities, Ravenna Festival (Italy), Kulungwana Association (Mozambique) and Theatre du Chocolat (Cameroon) and by promoting the birth of a new festival in Senegal, the Takku Ligey. All activities were focused on African artist promotion in three specific ways: training, production and visibility in Africa and Europe.

In two years and a half, the project has proposed 81 events dedicated to introduce a new cultural offer. More than 600 artists were involved in the events and the audience reached almost 23,000 persons.

It is important to highlight the activities for young people, both in terms of training (almost 400 young artists have taken advantage from educational activities) and audience. The coordinated work of the partners has supported 25 new theatre productions. The project activities have been a starting point for young artists, which were able to present their work in different contexts and countries. In comparison with the expected results, more activities were realised and more artists were involved, broadening the beneficiaries and target groups (both audience and artists).

In many cases the "logo" and the support of the European Union / ACP Secretariat and the ACPCultures+ Programme has broken new ground and brought a new focus on creating institutional appeal for future activities. Lots of theatre and dance productions have been inspired by the relationship between technical and traditional themes with a new approach, sometimes with a little of European taste, but always preserving quality and originality. Orality, storytelling and traditional culture, for example, are the main themes of “Opera Lamb”, the last N.A.T. production, realised by Ravenna Festival and Takku Ligey.

New productions

Three important initiatives were born thanks to the N.A.T. project, in Mozambique, Senegal and Italy. In Maputo, the first “Youth Orchestra” of Mozambique was born, an unique and very ambitious project, came from an idea and the constancy of  Mrs. Eldevina Kika Materual, artistic director of the Kulungwana Association. It involves over 100 Mozambicans musicians and has already collaborated with other African youth orchestras.

In Dakar, N.A.T. contributed to the creation of the FESTEJ, a festival dedicated to the young audience and fully realised by young African companies from the capital and the suburbs.

The Ravenna Festival has decided to continue the promotion of African music and culture, suggesting to the Cultural Ministry an important project for the years 2015-2017 focused on the figure of Nelson Mandela.

Institutional building

One of the most important aspects of the N.A.T. project has been the institutional strengthening of the African partners to promote young talent. This work is the result of the synergy between the partners and the highly professional training delivered by European trainers. Local artists have played a very important role encouraging the return in Africa of professionalism and artistic personalities such as, for example, the oboist Eldevina Materula who developed an artistic partnership in Maputo. On the theatre and dance side the energies spent by Takku Ligey in Senegal led to the construction of important training and promotion moments for African talent, creating the opportunity for different artists to present their work in and outside Africa. Quite similar is the Théâtre du Chocolat’s path, which has always had a special consideration for children.

Reactions

“For the Ravenna Festival, the N.A.T. project had all the traits of an intense cultural adventure, a journey that our audience took together with us and the talented artists travelling across Italy and Europe to show and reveal the endless cultural and artistic heritage of Africa”, explains Franco Masotti, N.A.T. coordinator. “The project has also offered valuable opportunities for interaction between African and European artists, triggering a process of mutual improvement resulted in original, and not fortuitous, productions. For example “Regard sur le Passé”, with the griot Baba Sissoko and the powerful voice of Sekouba Bambino Diabate; the Classical Orchestra Afrobeat, who re-proposed the epic music of the legendary Bembey Jazz National; or the “Opera Lamb” a Takku Ligey Théâtre production, conceived by Mandiaye Ndiaye. The explosive force and the creative talent of Dada Masilo, Kareyce Fotso, Aly Keïta, Döbert Gnahoré, Fernando Anuang'a, and of all the artists involved in the N.A.T. project who joined the history of our festival, along with the big names in classical music, opera and jazz, left unforgettable memories and emotions”.

“For Kulungwana, the Network for African Talents has been very important for identifying young talent. The project allowed regional and international exchanges, involving young artists with different experiences. Kulungwana has developed a range of musical activities and started an important educational project in Maputo and the surrounding townships to teach music in public schools. Another important result of the N.A.T. project in Mozambique, has been the discovering and selection of young artists, which lead to the creation of the first symphony orchestra in the country. The exchanges allowed young students to be exposed to high standards of excellence and professional demands, reinforcing musical skills, personal discipline and rigour. The exchanges allowed us to introduce traditional Mozambican and African music into a repertoire of classical music, thus contributing to the dissemination of this type of music and demonstrating the universality of music and of classical instruments.”, commented Henny Amtos and Kika Materula of the Kulungwana Association.

For Etoundi Zeyang, director of the Theatre du Chocolat “thanks to the concrete and promising results of the N.A.T. project on detecting, training, creating and distributing talents, many young African artists can now live with their art”.

Follow-up

Several actions demonstrated the sustainability of the N.A.T. project. The Ravenna Festival will continue the promotion of African music and culture. The Festival received a support from the Italian Ministry of Culture to support a project for 2015-2017, focused on Nelson Mandela.

Each African partner will carry on hospitality of young artists, reinforcing the activities implemented during the 2012-2014 period.

Most of the 500 young artists and trainers involved in the project are involved in educational or productive projects.

Lastly, the show “Opera Lamb”, developed in the framework of the project, has made an international tour, ending in the Milan Expo in June 2015.

 

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August 19, 2016
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