West African Culture Shines at the Parrish

Noella Wiyaala in a film still from the Ghana episode of “Afripedia.”
Noella Wiyaala in a film still from the Ghana episode of “Afripedia.”

The Parrish Art Museum will host a night celebrating the contemporary culture of West Africa with live performance from Guinea and 30-minute documentaries shot in Senegal and Ghana on August 11.

At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., the internationally renowned Guinean singer, choreographer and dancer, Ismael Kouyate will perform a 45-minute set of African music with his eight-piece band on the terrace. At 8:30 p.m. on large outdoor screens, two short films from the documentary series “Afripedia,” will play. This documentary series presents a young, urban generation of Africans who challenge preconceptions and stereotypes through art and activism.

“Having met so many amazing artists from West Africa — dancers, musicians, filmmakers and visual artists — I felt compelled to invite the creative visionaries to tell their own inspirational stories of Africa today,” Curator of Special Projects, Corinne Erni said.

“I’m thrilled to present a multi-faceted evening of West African arts and culture as it thrives both at home and in the diaspora.”

The films feature some of today’s most compelling and provocative emerging visual artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians, photographers and cultural activists from Africa’s largest metropolises.

“Afripedia: Ghana” features Accra’s Serge Attukwei Clottey, who takes the polluted environment as a source of his artistic inspiration, Abrokwah, Computer Man & Black Fire, acrobats who have become the most sought-after bicycle circus, Jojo Abot, a singer and fashion designer and Noella Wiyaala, an outspoken singer and performer.

“Afripedia: Senegal” spotlights some the country’s dynamic and well-known artists like photographer Omar Viktor Diop, fashion designer, Selly Raby Kane, cultural activist and blogger, Ken Aicha Sy and Khoudia Toure, who organizes high energy, urban dance circles.

“Afripedia” was initiated by Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe and initially self-funded, then later broadcasted by the television network in Sweden.

Ismael Kouyate will sing lead vocals with his band that combines West African root with soul, funk and international rhythms. Other members include vocalists, Electra Weston and Iris Wilson, guitarists Matthew Albeck and Richard Padron, percussionist Abdoulaye Touré, drummer Andy Algire, bass player, Ran Livneh and keyboard player, Takafumi Suenaga.

Kouyate was born in Guinea, West Africa, to a long line of griots — the oral historians who preserve history and culture through song, music and dance. His dance career began with Ballet Communale de Matam, which he joined at the age of 15 and was principal dancer for nine years.

This event is $20 and $5 for members, with advance reservations strongly encouraged.  The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, please visit parrishart.org or call (631) 283-2118.