One of Afropop’s dearest organizational siblings is Montreal’s Nuits D’Afrique Festival, one of the biggest and best festivals in North America celebrating the music of Africa and the African diaspora. It gathers musicians from across the world and also invites groups from Montreal and Canada’s diverse communities. What began in the snug 150-seat Club Balatou now commands downtown Montreal’s Place des Spectacles over two weeks.
One very cool aspect of the show is the Syli d’Or award. Now in its 12th year, the “Golden Elephant” is given to a Canadian artist playing “music of the world.” A pool of 36 artists begins and is narrowed down by votes. Eventually the semifinalists’ performances are voted on by, among others, Afropop staffers. Even artists who don’t go on to win have a higher profile for having competed.
“These showcases give artists the tools to succeed. They get a video from it. They get professional pictures. They get a CD. It gives them a website,” Nuits d’Afrique general manager Suzanne Rousseau said. “It gives them the tools to promote themselves internationally.”
This year’s winner will be announced on Thurs., April 26. Tune in to Afropop then to find out who won. So far we have zouk/kompa bands, South American rhythm groups, Afrocumbia, Mandinka reggae and even some bossa nova/fado music. The last round of semifinalists will be announced tonight.