By Howard Pousner / email@example.com
Featuring some Brazilian rhythms, African funk and a tribute to the socially conscious music of Curtis Mayfield, the National Black Arts Festival will return to Centennial Olympic Park on July 14-18.
Just-announced highlights of the five-day fest include the Afro-Brazilian percussion group Olodum, vibraphonist Roy Ayers and the Common Ground Collective celebrating the legacy of the late Nigerian Afrobeat innovator Fela Kuti, singer Lizz Wright and a to-be-announced slate of vocalists performing “To Curtis With Love” at Symphony Hall.
Another notable show will be trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and a 16-piece band performing Gordon’s score to Oscar Micheaux’s 1925 film “Body and Soul.” That performance will be at the Rialto Center for the Arts. The Rialto, an easy stroll from the park, also will host two performances by Philadelphia-based Philadanco, “By the Way of the Funk,” choreographed by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bush Women Dance Company and set to the music of George Clinton.
After a year being based at the Woodruff Arts Center, the nomadic NBAF will settle in at Centennial Olympic Park for three years. “We don’t want to keep moving around,” NBAF spokeswoman Margaret Kargbo said. “We wanted a central location that people know is where the festival will be held.”
The International Marketplace featuring more than 100 artist booths will be based in the park, as will the Children’s Education Village (again exploring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy), a main stage and a music stage. Additional performers will be announced in coming months.
For more information, visit www.nbaf.org.