The pick of Focus and Network's arts and culture features
More arts features
Nigerian singer 9ice was named the Best African Act of 2008 at this year's MOBO awards. Whilst in London to collect his gong he popped in to the Network Africa studio to tell us more about his music.
Togo's King Nee Ade has been a journalist and presenter of live TV music shows in Togo but then he decided to craft his own vocal skills as a singer. His songs are starting to make him a household name in the country and he hopes to go far beyond his country's borders. When our Lome reporter Ebow Godwin met up with this rising star he found out that his main inspiration is Love.
K'Naan Warsama is not your average hip hop artist. No bling or 'gangsta' poses for him, though he's no stranger to guns. He learned to fire one at the age of eight, while living on his wits on the streets of Mogadishu until his mother got him out of Somalia. K'Naan ended up in Canada, learnt English, and became a rapper. He's currently on tour in the United States with a new album due out early next year. Namdi Moweta caught up with K'Naan in Los Angeles.
Fela Kuti, human rights activist, political maverick and creator of Afrobeat music has been dead for more than ten years, but he has been reborn in New York city. A dynamic off-Broadway production entitled "Fela" has got the critics excited and audiences battling for tickets. Leslie Goffe has more details.
A memorial service was recently held for one of South Africa's most creative talents. Actor, director, playwright and journalist John Matshhikiza suffered a massive heart attack at a restaurtnat in Johannesburg and died. He was 54 years old. The South African Presidency issued a statement calling him one of the country's most gifted sons. Jenny Horrocks looks back at his life.
Congolese superstar Awilo Longomba has just released his new CD. Reknowned for his unique style of techno-soukous, Awilo is currently on tour to promote his fifth CD - Superman - in the USA. Nnamdi Moweta caught up with him in Los Angeles and asked him why it took him so long to release his latest hit.
Alaa Al Aswany is possibly Egypt's most celebrated author. He shot to fame following the massive international success of his novel, The Yacoubian Building, which was later made into a big-budget Egyptian film. On a trip to London to promote his latest fictional novel, Chicago, he spoke to Bilkisu Labaran. The book explores how Egyptian and American lives collide on a university campus.
The Words and Pictures (WAPI) festival held in Accra, Ghana aims to provide a forum for creative youngsters to express themselves. This year, Ghanaian graffiti artists were given the opportunity to showcase their work. Christine Otieno visited the festival and spoke to some of the young graffiti artists.
In the Nigerian capital Abuja, dozens of Arts and Crafts entrepreneurs from across West Africa have been showcasing their wares at the first ever Regional Arts and Culture exhibition. Chris Ewokor went along to the exhibition.
A new wave of entertainment that's building fast in Nigeria is stand-up comedy. In Nigeria however, it is still a male-dominated industry, this is not the case in the UK where some of the most successful comedians are women of Nigerian origin. Gina Yashere and Andi Osho have been wowing the audiences with an act that plays on steroetypical image of Nigerians around the world and they hope to take their show to Nigeria later in the year. Ellen Otzen spoke to Gina and Andi about their shows.
The latest singing talent out of East Africa Omega Bugembe Okello, known as Omega, was spotted very early on in life. At the age of four she was invited to join the African's Children's Choir - a choir normally reserved for orphans. Originally from Uganda, Omega now lives in the United States of America and she's just released her first solo CD, Chiwomera Ememe, which in the Luganda language means "It is sweet to the soul". Nnamdi Moweta met up with her in Los Angeles during her promotional tour and she told him what impact joining the children's choir had on her interest in singing.
Every country seems to have a distinct style of popular music with new ones evolving everyday, but this has not prevented some musicians from getting into less popular genres, in order to carve out a niche for themselves. Tom Oladipo reports from Nairobi where musicians are using a fusion of traditional music to create their own unique musical styles.
The week-long 10th Pan-African Dance festival is taking place in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, bringing together traditional dancers and contemporary artists from 25 African countries. International musicians from the rest of the world will also perform at the event which is hoped to witness the successful blending of traditional and modern forms of musical expression. Geoffrey Mutagoma meets some of the artists.
Bilkisu Labaran takes a trip down memory lane with highlife musician Sir Victor Uwaifo.
The father of Ethio-jazz (Ethiopian jazz), Mulatu Astatqe looks back at his 40 years in the music business. He's been in the UK performing with the band, Ethiopiques, and he spoke toBilkisu Labaran about the highs and lows of his long career.
The small historic town of Grahamstown in South Africa's Eastern Cape, has been abuzz with activities marking the country's annual National Arts Festival.
End of Section