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Hundreds Of Artists Congregate In Abidjan For Pan African Arts Festival

posted 11 Mar 2014, 06:18 by Mpelembe   [ updated 11 Mar 2014, 06:18 ]

The annual Market for African Performing Arts Festival took place in Abidjan, where more than 400 dancers, musicians and artists gathered to promote their crafts. It's the festival's first year back after a seven-year hiatus.

 ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (REUTERS) - After taking a six-year hiatus, the Market for African Performing Arts or (MASA) drummed up excitement when it came back to Ivory Coast this year.

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Artists such as the group 'Tambous du Burundi' or 'Burundi Drummers' put their skills on display at the event, which brings together musicians, dancers, actors and more from all over the continent.

Yacouba Konate who runs MASA says it's not an easy event to organise and they had to overcome various challenges.

"The difficulties we had to face were essentially financial. We had to look for funds, and we got them little by little and above all very late. This influenced our ability to mobilise all the bands that were on stand-by and it was brought to a type of fever pitch last week when it came to sending the tickets and putting the bands on the road," said Konate.

According to MASA organisers, more than 480 performers attended the eight day long festival.

One of them was Yamoussa Camara, the founder and manager of the Mandigo Circus in Guinea.

"As Africans we, of course, would like to tour in Europe but to tour in Africa is already magnificent, it is the real goal because being recongnised at home is really tremendous. MASA is a great opportunity, that is what we are here for, to show our cultural heritage and our ambitions too because the job we are doing is not easy at all, we see that Europeans are getting support from their governments when in Africa the Mandigo Circus is not supported, said Camara.

This year three new disciplines were added to the normal line-up of dance, music and theater; stand-up comedy, storytelling theatre and fashion.

"We have included fashion as one of the disciplines because it is a living art; because we think that fashion, with the business it generates through textiles, crosses through "Haute couture" [high fashion] and through the promotion of our textile heritage has its place at the MASA," said Maurice Bandama, Ivory Coast Culture Minister.

The theme for the week was "the performing arts faced with the challenge of the digital age."

Both performs and professionals at the market hoped that they can get utilise digital opportunities and capitalise on new opportunities to market and promote African artists.