Totó ST, Elenco Da Paz and Souñou Yon take the stage for Africa Night in the public square, Plaza del Pilar (Guanarteme)

  • The concert, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of ‘Casa África’, will take place this Friday, 7 July, starting at 20.30 hours (free entrance)
  • The Festival opens its 26th edition with four concerts held simultaneously on four islands

The Festival Canarias Jazz&Más Heineken kicks off this Friday 7 July with eleven nights of concerts featuring some of the best musicians of today. Tenerife, La Graciosa, Gran Canaria and La Palma are the island venues for the initial concerts to be held simultaneously at this 26th edition, which brings together in its programme 46 concerts featuring 26 musical ensembles distributed on six islands, with a first-time experience for La Graciosa; figures that summarise the hectic activity which will fill theatres, auditoriums, and public parks & squares with musical entertainment from 7 to 23 July.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria starts off its own particular marathon of concerts with Africa Night, this Friday 7 July, at 20.30 hours, in the public square – Plaza del Pilar de Guanarteme (free entrance). There will be performances by a group which is now based in Gran Canaria, Souñou Yon (Nuestro Camino/Our Path), and two groups from Angola, Totó ST & Elenco Da Paz, selected winners at the annual music contest Vis a Vis, which was held this year in Luanda. This concert will also serve to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the existence of ‘Casa Africa’, one of the festival’s sponsors.

 

Totó ST is the artistic name taken by Serpião Tomás, born on 20 March 1980 in Luanda (Angola), in the suburb of Samba. He was raised in a religious family, and came into contact with gospel music from an early age, his mother & aunts being members of the church choir.

A few years later, he began to play music by some outstanding Angolan & Brazilean artists and also started taking an interest in other types of styles, principally in those that were from the USA and other places in Africa. With the passing of time, and thanks to a gift from a good friend, he got interested in playing the guitar, and began composing his first songs with the help of this instrument, which ended up becoming an inseparable companion on his travels.

In 2005 he participated in a contest designed for young talent, Estrela ao Palco, organised by Radio LAC, in which he managed to get into the final ten best contestants. From then on doors started to open for him, among which was “AF-Entretenimentos”, where he recorded his first disc, titled Vida das Coisas. The disc features mainly instrumental numbers of guitar & percussion with melodies and rhythms of Angolan music.

Since then his career has been progressing towards more western sounds, including references & influences of jazz, soul & funk music. In these recent years, he has recorded two more discs, titled Batata Quente (2008) and Filho da Luz (2014) and has also participated in two editions of the Luanda International Jazz Festival (2009 & 2014). In addition, he was the winner at the Angola Music Awards in the category Afro Jazz/ World Music.

 

Elenco da Paz is a group founded by musicians Fogo de Deus, Pai Gasilhas, Manda Chuva & Negro 5 in the year 2015 with the intention of transmitting a message of social integration in the Angolan capital, Luanda. In the year 2016, they received a prize at the Angola Music Awards in the ‘kuduro’ category for their composition Só Mexeram (Arroz com Feijão). It was also the song of the year on Angola National Radio.

Currently, Elenco da Paz features its founder members, although the group also includes the participation of up to fifteen musicians & dancers who all contribute to its success, both commercially as well as serving as a link between the different social classes in Angola, which, after all, was the main purpose of the project.

Fogo de Deus (Domingos Lopes) was born in 1984 in Malanje. He is considered to be one of the best kuduro dancers around. He began taking a keen interest in this traditional Angolan dance at an early age, under the guidance of Tony Amado, one of its first cultural promoters & driving force. With the group ‘I Love Kuduro’ he began travelling around the world and this paved the way to join ‘Os Kuduristas’, with whom he toured Europe and the USA for more than six months.

Manda Chuva (Domingos Martins) was born in 1979 in Kwanza Sul. Another great figure in the realm of kuduro dancers, as a result of early training he received with Virgílio Fire & Sebem while travelling throughout the country. Like Fogo de Deus, he formed part of the groups ‘I Love Kuduro’ and ‘Os Kuduristas’ and later started out on his own career as a singer.

Negro 5 (Amadeu Correia), born in Luanda in 1984, is considered to be one of the forerunners of modern kuduro. He began his career as a dancer & animator in the Luanda discotheques, until he formed his own group, ‘Negro 5 & Chupetinha’, quite an entity for modern Angolan music; touring various countries on the continent, from Tunisia, Guinea, Portugal to France. He also participated in the project ‘Millionario Record’ and at three editions of the International Festival “I Love Kuduro”.

Pai Gasílhas (Pedro Rosada) was born in 1991 in Bie. A new generation kuduro artist, he was tutored by Fogo de Deus & Máquina do Inferno. Concerning his track record as a dancer, he formed part of the choreographic troupe for vocalist Pai Diesel, which inspired & motivated him to adopt his role as singer.

Souñou Yon is a new group by the Thioune Brothers formed in 2015 and it traces a new path towards the fusion of traditional music, zouk love, jazz, blues and soukaous (Nigerian music), with the incorporation of new musicians and instruments like the bass & electric guitar. In this spectacular adventure, African rhythms played on drums feature strongly with dancers & acrobats taking their place on stage to fill the show.

Souñou Yon (Nuestro Camino/Our Path) gives us an insight into the musical adventure that the Thioune Brothers started years ago, with the participation of international musicians like the German artist Torsten Winkel. The group will be gong shortly to Senegal to record their first videoclip which forms part of their new disc.

The group’s members at this live performance are Khali Thioune (vocalist & Spanish guitar), Malle Sarr (kora & percussion), Ndiounga Niang (tama, sabar, drums & percussion), Bakary Bodian (percussion), Torsten Winkel (electric guitar), José Carlos Cejudo (bass), Chago Miranda (electric guitar) & Alba Aceytuno (saxophone).

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