Magazine article New African

Singing in the Rain: Long on the Sidelines of the London Scene, a New Edition of Africa Utopia Firmly Places Black Culture in the Mainstream

Magazine article New African

Singing in the Rain: Long on the Sidelines of the London Scene, a New Edition of Africa Utopia Firmly Places Black Culture in the Mainstream

Article excerpt

While the issue of immigration and migration continues to dominate Britain's post-EU Brexit debate, little attention has been given to the fact that one of Britain s largest immigrant communities comes not from the EU but from West Africa. The presence of Africans in such large numbers has often been ignored in the country's cultural discourse, but as increasing numbers of British Africans are making impressive international careers, their impact on British society can no longer be dismissed.

And to celebrate this fact, London's South Bank brought back this year its hugely successful late summer festival entitled Africa Utopia. Curated by Hannah Azieb Pool, Africa Utopia was a welcome celebration of the contribution that African are making to the cultural landscape, both in Britain and elsewhere.

The festival included such gems as only the second South Bank performance by the extraordinary Chineke! Orchestra, Britain's first professional orchestra featuring Black and Ethnic Minority musicians. This year Chineke! featured one of their former members, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason as soloist, as Mason had recently been crowned as the BBC's Young Musician of the Year, the first musician of an ethnic minority to win this prestigious classical competition. …

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