Afro beat is back at Festival Mundial

June 2008 -

Once again in 2008, the annual Festival Mundial in Tilburg will probably receive broadcasting attention from the public networks in the Netherlands. This is highly encouraging. The programme for this large-scale world musical festival looks promising. My personal favourite is the performance by Seun Kuti, the great Fela’s second son. Afro beat seemed to have disappeared, but it has made a strong comeback in recent years and I can't wait to see Seun's performance.

He sings his father's repertoire and also performs with his band, Egypt '80. Seun plays not only Fela Kuti's songs, but also his own compositions in the same spirit as the Afro beat with which his father acquired world fame. Concerts like these usually last four or five hours, but the festival programme makes that impossible. However, the many smells, colours and sounds at Mundial certainly justify its formula.

I am also curious to see Shantel and his Bucovina Club Orkestar. This popular Frankfurt DJ is a big hit with his Balkan beats, but can he do it live as well? Since Manu Chao produced their cd Dimanche à Bamako, Amadou and Mariam have acquired star status. They will be there with a very large band. I recorded a cd in the past weeks with Mapacha from Kenya, together with the New Cool Collective. The main reason for the cd is to support Mapacha during its current tour throughout the Netherlands.

So I know these guys, but I am nevertheless curious to see how they do on stage performing for the massive Mundial audience. For the record, what I love about Festival Mundial is the fact that I don't know most of the performers. This is because a large part of the programming comes from Mundial's partners, who are active on all the world's continents. That makes it especially exciting.

Jan Douwe Kroeske is a producer and makes radio and television programmes for Dutch broadcasters. Festival Mundial takes place June13 - 15, 2008 in Tilburg.