MOBOKA FESTIVAL PRESENTS:
THE 1ST GAM-AFRO-LATIN FEST
Gam-Afro-Latin-Fest is an annual festival organised by Mboka Festival of Arts, Culture and Sport. The first festival will be held in Banjul in November 2024.
Banjul is the capital city of the Gambia. It was named Bathurst during colonial times. The city sits on an island where the Gambia River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Its colonial buildings include the National Museum, dedicated to Gambian culture and history. It has a colourful bustling market, the lively Albert Market. The city's main entrance is marked by the immense, columned Arch gateway.
Sharing knowledge and experiences is the best way to bring understanding and therefore positive development among peoples of the world. Although this can be done through various platforms using modern technology the Mboka Festival for Arts Culture and Sport was to do it in the “old fashion-traditional way”, to visit and exchange with each other to have face to face understanding of our cultural experiences. We decided that an Afro-Latin Festival which enhances dance to build a peaceful world.
As Nelson Mandela puts it: “It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.”
Part of this drive is to experience the Sense of Community Spirit that make our souls yearn for PEACE. The revival of our dying community spirit especially of those of us living in the so-called West, with the notion of a “ME-ME” culture, we hope, by attending such cultural experiences, this will translate into positive cultural values that makes our world a better place to live in and to visit. This is our goal!
The Mboka Festival Team with the GAM-AFRO-LATIN-FEST team have for years, travelled around the world. We have seen, we have discovered and we decided that the place to make this experience a reality is the smallest mainland country in Africa, … The Gambia.
In The Gambia we have a welcoming people who respect their elders we see an extended family set up that live through hard and good times helping each other we see a diaspora that loves their home;; above all we see a PEACE loving people. In their greetings they will say “kaira-be” meaning: Are you at peace? (Mandinka local language) and the answer “Kaira-doron” meaning: Always in peace. It is frowned upon when you do not greet people in this country and you keep on doing it anytime you meet people. This is a constant reminder of the need for PEACE in our world.
So whenever you meet someone in The Gambia please greet them with:
In Mandinka: Kaira-be (Are you at peace?), Reply: Kaira-doron
In Wolof: Naka nga deff? (How are you?), Reply” Mangsi jaama or Jaama Rekk (at peace only)
In Fula: Tanaa alaa? (How are you?). Reply: Jam tun (at peace only)
Banjul, a thriving cultural city in the past, wants to recapture its thriving cultural music and dance past through an GAM-AFRO-LATIN-FEST making it an international world music and dance hub. Just like you have the St. Louis Jazz Festival on the island of St. Louis which was the first Capital of the French colony of Senegal (1673-1957) and had similar futures to that of the capital city, Bathurst (now Banjul) as the administrative and economic centre during colonial times.
Contemporary music in The Gambia and particularly in Banjul, was highly influenced in the 60s by Afro-Latin Music from Rumba, Cha-Cha-Cha to Salsa.
A famous Gambian Salsa singer, musician and composer in the limelight during the 60s was Laba Badara Sosseh. Sosseh was born in the capital on 12 March 1943. His family relocated to Dakar because of his father's work at the airport, and Sosseh engaged Dakar's musical scene. As a founding member of Dakar's Star Band, he shared the limelight during 60s with several future members of Orchestra Baobab. Sosseh died in Dakar on 20 September 2007, after many years of performances which took him around the globe. Apart from Laba Sosseh Banjul produced many other musicians such as Pa Touray, Ousu Njie Senior, Musa Ngum, Edu Hafner, Ousu Lion Njie, Lie Ngum, Malang Gassam and Senemi Taylor. It produced well known worldwide music promoters like Oko Drammeh.
It is also well known that most Senegalese musicians like Youssou Ndour lived in The Gambia and played in Banjul to gain the fame they have today. Banjul during that period was the Mecca of the Senegambia music scene. The city was a hub of young, talented musicians towards stardom and a vibrant city of bright lights with famous nightclubs like City Pride, Chetta 2 (a floating night club), and Sahara Night Club. Bands that played in these nightclubs were Super Eagles, Supreme Eagles, Alligators, Karantaba, and Gelewarr. We intend to bring back the nostalgia of those glory days by reintroducing where it all started - with AFRO-LATIN MUSIC at GAM-AFRO-LATIN FEST!
The home of the festival is the only 4-star hotel in Banjul at the newly refurbished ALSARAYA ATLANTIC HOTEL. It is also the only place in Banjul that has all the comfort, space, and facilities that are needed for the various activities required for the festival.
Leading up to GAM-AFRO-LATIN-FEST we will celebrate the artistic performance and demonstration of Gambian, African diaspora and Latin American artists in the visual, literary and performing arts at the hotel and Gambian landmarks such as ARCH 22 and the museum at the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
We salute you in POWER with the words of Marcus Garvey:
“We should say to the millions who are in Africa to hold the fort,
for we are coming 400,000,000 strong.”