News Release from the Festival – Montréal, May 25, 2016 – It’s been 30 years already! This year, Montréal’s Festival International Nuits d’Afrique is celebrating its 30th birthday – a historic edition to mark three decades of world music in a big way!

Today more than ever, the Festival is the North American gateway for music from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, 30 years of bringing audiences to discover top international artists such as Youssou N’Dour, Amadou and Mariam, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Papa Wemba.


For this anniversary edition, the Festival holds in store for you an even bolder, more diversified and more innovative program. It will reflect the breakout of current musical trends and will also present the top legends of world music who have marked these last three decades. Among them are Algerian musical icon Rachid Taha, Haitian musical monument Tabou Combo and Cuba’s emblematic Orquesta Aragón.


And to embody the spirit of this 30th edition, the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique pays tribute to Manu Dibango, an emblematic artist who has marked the history of world music and of the Festival, playing the role of godfather many times.

July 12 to 24, 2016, will be 13 days of festivities, of original concepts and of special events that await the public. More than 700 artists from 35 countries. More than 110 concerts and activities, eight series of shows featuring every trend in world music, at six venues in downtown Montréal. Not to mention, from July 19 to 24, six days of concerts and free activities in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles!

***For this historic edition, the Festival is innovating***

For the first time in its history, the Festival will issue the Prix Nuits d’Afrique pour la francophonie, to Manu Dibango. Through his career and his personality, the father of world music presents a unifying vision of the French-speaking world and of the cultural diversity shared by the Festival. This award, created specially for the 30th birthday, will be recurrent and will be issued to an artist in each future edition.

At each edition, the Festival welcomes artists who stand out for their voices. This year, a new series is dedicated to them: “Les Voix du Monde” (Voices of the World).

Marking three decades, three Stars. The Festival is adding three extra concerts to the series “Les Étoiles Nuits d’Afrique” (Stars of Nuits d’Afrique).

With 30 candles on the cake, Les Disques Nuits d’Afrique will be issuing not one but two compilations of pieces by Festival artists. It’s a matter of keeping the highlights of this edition – and of earlier editions – alive all year long!

Another big new feature: on its 30th birthday, the Festival will be adding a sixth day of free activities and concert events, outdoors on the Parterre of the Quartier des spectacles. For the occasion, the Village des Nuits d’Afrique has been expanded and enriched. The public can discover the new ESPACE AGOR’AFRIQUE on the adjacent Îlot Clark (at Clark and de Maisonneuve), offering 10 times the activities for the entire family, including the SPHÈRE NUITS D’AFRIQUE – more than 40 daytime activities and an original immersive  experience delving into the Festival’s history in the evening.

From July 12 to 24, 2016, Montréal will shake to the beat of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique!


The “GRANDS ÉVÉNEMENTS” (Great Events) series, presented by ICI Musique, welcomes the top stars of world music. It gathers artists who have left a significant mark on world music history and no longer need presenting, with their fame on the international stage.

•    At the Metropolis, officially opening the Festival on July 13, celebrate 30 years of raï with Rachid Taha; on July 16, Haitian kompa mainstay Tabou Combo; at the National on July 18, the interpreter of the “New Soul” phenomenon, Franco-Israeli artist Yael Naim.

Manu Dibango meets the new generation on July 18, at the Théâtre Fairmount. The father of world music passes the torch to Montréal’s new artistic generation. On stage, artist-ambassadors Veeby, Élété and Rookie Rook will perform new world music sounds and will pay tribute to him. Manu Dibango will be the guest of the Syli d’Or 2016 grand prize winner, the Cuban group Proyecto Iré. A unique evening event reflecting this 30th anniversary!

On the LOTO-QUÉBEC big stage, artists who have been part of the Festival over the last 30 years: Jab Jab (Trinidad/Québec), Jah Cutta (Jamaica/Québec), K’Koustik (Guadeloupe) and Lorrain Klaasen (South Africa). The Groupe Musical Cour des Grands (Dem. Rep. Congo/Québec) will pay a special tribute to Papa Wemba. The cream of Congolese musicians in Montréal, under the direction of Getry Mavambu, Tabu Ley Rochereau’s drummer for 20 years, will pay tribute to the flamboyant nightingale, the global ambassador of Congolese rumba.

papa wemba

Papa Wemba

In the evening, the TD Great Events, presented in en collaboration with ICI Musique, will take centre stage, featuring world-class artists.

On the LOTO-QUÉBEC big stage, starting at 9:30 p.m.

• July 19, Mexican Institute of Sound (Mexico) will mix cumbia and chachacha classics with vocal samples and modern scratches.


• July 20, Afrique en Cirque – with Les Productions Kalabanté (Guinea/Québec) will display the broad diversity of African arts through rhythmic sequences, daring acrobatics and explosive percussions.

• July 21, Les Ogres de Barback (France) – Their concerts are great celebrations, with Gypsy-tinged alternative rock, warmly imbued with world beats.

• July 22, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars (Sierra Leone) – A musical style proudly anchored in their roots, open to the world, driven by a message of love and peace.


• July 23, Orquesta Aragón (Cuba) – THE institution of Cuban music. THE benchmark in Latino music. Legendary!


• * Grand closing concert * July 24, Meiway & Zo Gang (Côte d’Ivoire) – An original brew of various folklores from southern Côte d’Ivoire dressed up in modern sounds, Maiway’s zoblazo is a percussion-based beat that is danced to … with a white handkerchief. You better believe it!

The “RÉVÉLATIONS” series features the new ambassadors of world music. Talented artists, among the most promising, are coming from the four corners of the world to present the effervescence and new colours of world music.

•    At the Théâtre Fairmount, the public can discover the vintage Afro-funk of Vaudou Game (Togo) on July 12; an atypical meeting of cultures offered by BKO Quintet (Mali) on July 13; the young winner of the 2015 Prix Découvertes RFI, Elida Almeida (Cape Verde) on July 14. At the Club Balattou, the pairing of desert blues and Mississippi blues with Faris (Italy/Sahara) on July 19 and the 2016-2017 Révélation Radio-Canada, Ilam (Senegal/Québec) on July 21.



The “PRESTIGE” series at the Gesù is imbued with charm and elegance. In a special place, the audience is conveyed to a genteel world to experience magical moments, where emotion rubs shoulders with grace.

•    Spectators will be beguiled by the intriguing Ana Alcaide (Spain/Mediterranean) on July 23; and by the age-old musical heritage recited by Morikeba Kouyaté (Senegal), a seventh-generation griot, and Zal Sissokho (Senegal/Québec) during the Nuit de la Kora (Night of the Kora) on July 24.


The “URBAN AFRICA” series, presented by CISM, is dedicated to deconstructing myths associated with this far-away continent. Blended pop and percussive hip hop showing these artists’ ability to appropriate the beats Africa has inspired, with flair and personality!

•    On the program: At the Club Balattou, the progressive maloya of Grèn Sémé (Réunion) on July 12; the percussive hip hop of A2VT (Somalia/Tanzania/Congo) on July 13; and the uninhibited African reggae of Dakka (Côte d’Ivoire/Québec) on July 18. At the Théâtre Fairmount, the return to sources of the sparkling Inna Modja (Mali) on July 15.


The “NUITS D’AFRIQUE SOUND SYSTEM” series, presented by CISM, will be taking over the Sala Rossa. It shows just how much world music is an infinite source of creation. It forms the Montréal hub of world 2.0.

•    As headliners: Canicule Tropicale joins the famous British DJ and Soundway Records (UK) founder Miles Cleret on July 16; and Montréal reggae-sphere benchmark Pull-Up Selecta, will bring together Krak in Dub (France), Dirty Dubsters (Ireland), The Goods Soundsystem (Québec) and the Pull-Up Selecta Crew (Québec) on July 23.


The “ÉTOILES NUITS D’AFRIQUE” (Stars of Nuits d’Afrique) series is the night-time concert get-together at the Club Balattou starting at 11 p.m. Nine events, each one-of-a-kind, centred around three host artists and their guests. Exclusive gatherings, a blending of cultures. Free concerts for all festival-goers holding a ticket to a Nuits d’Afrique show.

Three decades, three Stars! On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the Festival offers a third series of Stars, to be celebrated well into the night!

•    Salamate Gnawa (Morocco/Québec), July 12, 13 and 14. African origins with Salif Sanou, known as “Lasso.”  From Morocco to Algeria with Abdelhak Benmadjbari. Salamate Gnawa & Friends.

•    Gotta Lago (Côte d’Ivoire/Québec), July 17, 18 and 19. Nations tribales with Maxime Éthier. Acoustic Africa with Sadio Cissokho. Zouglou Ambassade with Bobo William.

•    Senaya (Guadeloupe/Senegal/Québec), July 20, 21 and 24. Urban groove with Drê-d and Élété. Afro with Seydina N’Diaye and Zal Sissokho. Caribbean-Africa with Vovo Saramanda and Jean-Christophe Germain. This will put a fine end to the Festival on Sunday, July 24.



“VOIX DU MONDE” (Voices of the World) series, at the Club Balattou

In solo, duet or trio performances, their voices are the instrument of their art. Extraordinary voices for an original series!

•    To be discovered: Nano Stern on July 14, the “top young Chilean songwriter-composer of his generation,” according to Joan Baez; Kareyce Fotso (Cameroon) on July 17, the spiritual daughter of André-Marie Tala; and Daby Touré (Senegal) on July 20, taking an insightful, authentic, sincere and touching look at Africa.

Rendez-vous Mandingue with Adama Daou and special guests (West Africa /Québec), on July 16 at the Théâtre Fairmount – The full power of Mandinka identity will explode on stage in a fireworks of energetic drums, hypnotizing instruments, frenetic dances and ancestral costumes, led by storyteller, percussionist and balafon player Adama Daou.





From July 19 to 24, the Parterre of the Quartier des spectacles and the Îlot Clark will come to life and take on the look of an Africa village, with an additional day and a new family-oriented space that festival-goers are sure to appreciate!

The Nuits d’Afrique Village, on the Parterre of the Quartier des spectacles, has been expanded and enriched. A sixth day of outdoor activities and concert events, free of charge. A unique atmosphere and an explosion of activities are on the program.

The days will move to the sound of world beats. More than 450 singers, dancers and musicians will take turns on the LOTO-QUÉBEC big stage.

Early in the day, OPEN-AIR WORKSHOPS offer an array of activities, oriented to learning traditional instruments as well as African and Latino dances.

Audiences and families take over the grassy areas, savour tropical-flavoured ice cream and enjoy food and drink with tastes from around the world. Some will do business at the fabulous TIMBUKTU MARKET, where merchants compete in inventiveness to seduce the public with flamboyant clothing, jewellery, musical instruments and other treasures from distant origins. Not to forget DISQUES DU MONDE, the only shop in town offering an exclusive selection of world music albums.

At the heart of the Nuits d’Afrique Village, the public can discover the new ESPACE AGOR’AFRIQUE on the Îlot Clark (at Clark and de Maisonneuve). This oasis, specially designed to celebrate the Festival’s 30th birthday, comes to life between each show on the big stage and provides for unique gatherings with artists, storytellers, singers, musicians and dancers.

Exclusively this year, the Nuits d’Afrique Sphere will bring together a quantity and variety of activities unmatched until now. More than 40 activities – stories, songs, mini-concerts, ICI Musique DJ sets with Catherine Pépin, Samito, participatory workshops, a retrospective exhibition and an invitation to travel by TV5. And in the evening, “Nuits d’Afrique 360,” an immersive multi-sensory experience resembling a time machine, will enable the public to relive the passion of earlier editions of the Festival.

The Children’s Village, with its renewed formula, will provide an enlarged area dedicated to families. It will give toddlers their own world beat experience, with activities suited to them, including highly acclaimed make-ups by Allison.


Unlike other years, Les Disques Nuits d’Afrique is putting two original compilations on the market this year, to relive the highlights of this edition of the Festival … and of previous ones!

2016 compilation – Vintage Afro-funk from Vaudou Game, fiery cumbia from Mexican Institute of Sound, progressive mixed Mandinka from BKO Quintet and the haunting, luminous voice of Yael Naim will stand alongside Tabou Combo, the legendary group from the Pearl of the Antilles, as well as the Cubans forming the emblematic Orquesta Aragon, and much more!

Retrospective compilation – Many of the artists presented during the Festival’s 30-year history have become legends. Tiken Jah Fakoly, Rokia Traoré, Youssou N’Dour… This retrospective compilation will bring three decades of festivities and discoveries back to life, through the successive generations that have shaped world music.


Find essential tools on all Nuits d’Afrique digital platforms. Download the Nuits d’Afrique mobile app for iPhone and Androïd. Learn more about the Festival at the website, on the Twitter feed and on the Productions Nuits d’Afrique Facebook page. Remember to tag us #nuitsdafrique and @nuitsdafrique in all your comments on the Web.

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