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The Rototom Reggae University celebrates the Africa Connection

By August 4, 2017Articles
Rototom 2017-Island Stage Magazine
Rototom Sunsplash will host an exhibition of the famous British photographer Adrian Boot that will join the Film Fest screening, the Rasta Seminars and the ACR meetings


In honour of its 24th edition, titled Celebrating AfricaRototom Sunsplash has curated a very special programme of events for the Reggae University, the will be in Benicassim August 12 to 19. Now in its eleventh year, the University will gather artists, producers, authors, academics and filmmakers for lively panel discussion. This will be interspersed with Film Fest screenings, wisdom and reasoning sessions in the Rasta Seminars and exhibitions of photography and art.

Saturday 12th August sees the world premiere of Goya winner Ángel Loza’s documentary ‘Wake up! What would you do to change the world?’, filmed at Rototom 2011. 

On Sunday August 13th, there will be a screening of Swedish documentary ‘FONKO’ focusing on the music of Nigeria. This perfectly sets the scene for the University panel hosting ‘From Africa With Fury: a dialogue with Seun Kuti’, son of Nigeria’s Afrobeat creator Fela Kuti alongside academic and author Michael Veal. Rastafari elder Ras Flako of the Nyabinghi order then opens the Rasta Seminars, bringing the focus to Africans in Jamaica during a talk titled ‘A Land Far Away–African Consciousness in Jamaica– the Slaves, the Rebels, The Rastafari’. 
Monday 14th of August commemorates the 40th anniversary of Ted Bafaloukos’ seminal reggae movie ‘Rockers‘ with a special screening. University attendees will then have the chance to meet one of the stars of Rockers in the flesh, as acoustic reggae collective Inna De Yard –including singer and Rockers actor Kiddus I and Cedric Myton from Congos- will examine ‘The Acoustic Soul of Jamaica’. 
Tuesday August 15th salutes the very first locally recorded Jamaican music with the national premiere of documentary ‘Pimento and Hot Pepper, the mento story’. The film includes footage of Toots Hibbert who appears on the Main Stage that day. Ras Flako and Ras Ibi will continue the Rasta Seminars with The Father of Africa: a look at the significance of Haile Selassie in African history and for Rastafari repatriation.
The University raises the tempo on Wednesday August 16th. The Film Fest will show the world premiere of Stéphane Delphin’s ‘Soul Rebels-The Untold Story of Dancehall’. Dancehall becomes interactive in the adjoining Reggae University session, Anything For You. Two dancehall hitmakers who started as child stars, Beenie Man and Nadine Sutherland are joined by veteran author and journalist John Masouri to recall their incredible careers.
Africa and Reggae come together as never before on Thursday 17th August. The national premiere of ‘Agadez. The Music and the Rebellion’ charts the story of Niger born Tuareg guitarist Bombino, who performs on Lion Stage the same night. Afterwards, ‘Africa Unite‘ is a chance to hear from the original Wailers, who perform on the Main Stage, in conversation with John Masouri, author of the book ‘Wailing Blues: Bob Marley’s Wailers’. 

Friday 18th August closes the Film Fest with a documentary about Rototom itself. ‘More than Twenty-Reloaded’ is a new updated edition of Tommaso d’Elia and Silvia Bonanni’s film on the festival. And who better to bring the University to a climax than a talk from African Reggae legend Alpha Blondy mapping the birth of his continent’s take on the music: Cocody Rock?

Ras Ibi will then lead the closing Rasta Seminar on Ital Food.

Exhibition by Adrian Boot 
In addition to the University sessions, Film Fest, Rasta Seminars and discussions by Spain’s Asociación Cultural Reggae, Rototom Celebrating Africa is proud to host a world class exhibition by veteran British photographer Adrian Boot, responsible for some of the most iconic photographs of Bob Marley, which form a part of his immortal legacy and the symbolism of the Jamaican legend.

Reggae: the Africa Connection, is the title of the exhibition, in Reggae University, that will present the work of this celebrated photojournalist, who has worked for publications including Rolling Stone and NME and shot album covers for Island Records.“Africa, more than any other part of the world, has for decades embraced Reggae music with great passion”, says Boot in a letter to the festival, “Marley, Peter Tosh, Steel Pulse, Third World, Jimmy Cliff and Burning Spear are regarded by Africans as the force that dismantled apartheid”.

The exhibition is devoted to the leading luminaries of Reggae and African music. It features images of Peter Tosh visiting Lagos, Benjamin Zephaniah meeting Nelson Mandela, Luciano at Goree Island Slave port, and Burning Spear with Thomas Mapfumo. Be sure to visit this stunning visual journey through the heart of the themes for Rototom Sunsplash 2017.

Get your tickets!

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