The Afrofunk Festival 2006: Benefit For Kids Affected By War and Famine in Darfur, Sudan, Kenya and Niger Expands to Three Nights Across Three Cities, July 27-29, 2006

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The Afrofunk Festival, which sold out its debut last July to critical acclaim, is the first and only Afrobeat Festival in the world. This year’s festival will feature electrifying musical acts from Guinea, Algeria, Kenya, Nigeria, Brazil and the Bay Area, all coming together to bring down the house while raising funds for Kids in Darfur, Sudan, Niger and Kenya whose lives have been devastated by war and famine. Once again The Afrofunk Festival will donate proceeds to Save the Children Emergency Relief Fund.

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The Afrofunk Festival, which sold out its debut last July to critical acclaim, is the first and only Afrobeat Festival in the world. This year’s festival will feature electrifying musical acts from Guinea, Algeria, Kenya, Nigeria, Brazil and the Bay Area, all coming together to bring down the house while raising funds for Kids in Darfur, Sudan, Niger and Kenya whose lives have been devastated by war and famine. Once again The Afrofunk Festival will donate proceeds to Save the Children Emergency Relief Fund.

The Afrofunk Festival will takes place July 27 to July 29th at the Independent in San Francisco, Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz and The Temple Bar in Santa Monica with rotating bands. The line-up includes headliner and festival producer Sila and the Afrofunk Experience (AFE) from Kenya. As a boy growing up in a village in Kenya, Sila used to give his clothes and food to other children who were less fortunate than him. Thirty years later, Sila transforms his compassion and concern into action with The Afrofunk Festival, a call for global justice, for hope, for love, and for everyone to take responsibility of the world’s problems. Sila has organized various fundraiser benefits for UNICEF, Save the Children Fund and The Red Cross. His goal is to inspire his listeners to find hope in their lives, and join him in his struggle to give the world a little more sunshine. Sila and AFE blend traditional African rhythms, Afrobeat, Afro-Latin, reggae and funk, resulting in an upbeat, multicultural celebration.

Also Appearing is legendary Kora master Prince Diabate from Guinea who has been called the “Jimi Hendricks of the Kora.” Diabetes’s concerts have earned him rave reviews from the New York Times, LA Times and the New Yorker Magazine. Diabate has evolved into one of the most innovative West African artists. He weaves elements of funk, rock and reggae into the fabric of his music and plays a wireless electro acoustic kora -- with special effects supplied from distortion pedals.

An Afrobeat heavyweight Jujuba features Nojeem Lassisi from Nigeria, who ranks among the world's elite talking drum players, and has toured the world and appeared on numerous recording with King Sunny Ade. Jujuba delivers an infectious, danceable and funky style of Nigerian Afrobeat and Juju music. The band combines dense rhythmical forms with articulate melodies and energetic soloing.

Dj Cheb i Sabbah enjoys a worldwide reputation as a magician of the dance floor, from the crowded confines of New York’s Knitting Factory, to nightclubs in his adopted home, San Francisco, to the likes of L.A.’s massive Getty Center, with its capacity of 4500. On stage, he improvises his show using pre-composed tracks and massive, projected visuals, interwoven and juxtaposed as the spirit moves him. Sabbah believes in presenting his one-of-a-kind works to audiences in person, just as he did in Paris in the 60s, with a stack of 45s in front of him.

Aphrodesia, who just returned from a from a month long tour in Africa where the highlight was being the only American band to ever play at Fela Kuti’s Shrine in lagos, Nigeria. Emerging in 2003 from the fertile San Francisco Bay Area music scene, Aphrodesia's highly original brand of ‘Super Aphro Beat’ and uncompromising political stance made them resist easy classification.

Albino, winner of the 2005 SF Music Award for "Best World Music", is a San Francisco Bay Area-based 12-piece Afrobeat ensemble that honors the fiery legacy of Afrobeat inventor Fela Kuti by melding tightly-crafted arrangements and jazz-tinged harmony with propulsive, high energy grooves. The band's members hail from such well known acts as Spearhead, CK Ladzekpo, and Hamsa Lila, among others.

Also appearing are local favorites Afrobeat Down, the all female Brazilian funk band Goddess of Funk, Dj Jeremiah (Liberia) and Dj Emmanuel Nado (Guinea). This year's Afrofunk Festival theme is "Bring Your Dancing Shoes."

THE CAUSE: KIDS OF DARFUR, SUDAN AND KENYA

UNICEF estimates that 3.4 million persons, equivalent to almost 51 percent of the total pre-conflict population in the region, have been affected by the crisis in Darfur, and that number is expected to increase as one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises continues to deteriorate. Some 1.87 million of this number are currently internally displaced. Approximately 1.4 million are children under 18 years of age -- while over 500,000 are children under five. Children are the hardest hit by this massive humanitarian crisis—those who survive are forced to witness this genocide day after day, unprotected. Hundreds of villages have been bombed and burned; water sources and food stocks have been destroyed, houses looted, families killed. Mosques, schools and hospitals have been burnt to the ground. And that’s only the beginning. UN reports that it is cutting in half its daily rations in Sudan's Darfur region due to severe funding shortfall. The ration will be half the minimum amount required each day. The cut comes as the UN said Darfur's malnutrition rates are rising again. Nearly 3m people depend on food aid after being driven off their land.

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Sila Mutungi