African Music Event Helps MIF Celebrate 30 Years

Linking With Africa: Mobile International Festival

Linking With Africa: Mobile International Festival

The Mobile International Festival will mark their 30th anniversary with “Roots…The Journey” this fall, but the celebration begins on June 15 with “An Afternoon of African Music” at the Mobile Museum of Art.

The free program showcases the 30-member Wake Up Choir of Light Missions Pentecostal Church in Eight Mile. The choir is comprised of African immigrants from Burundi, Congo and Tanzania who compose and sing their own music in several languages.

“The songs come by inspiration,” said Anna Githinji who serves as a community liaison for the group. “The music is different because it speaks about their history, their culture, their faith, and their journey through many nations before they came to America. It is very rich music.”

Niyungeko Felix is the main choir leader for Wake Up, a name which Githinji said comes from the Biblical injunction to “arise and share the good news.” The Intensive Advisory Channel group, made of singers ages 15 to 25, from the same church will also share their music.

“The group was put together to make sure young people from Africa growing up in America don’t forget their culture and history and to teach them to respect their culture and their elders,” said Githinji.

Theola Bright will also spotlight African music with her vocal rendition of “Wade in the Water” from her new single release “A Thought was Heard.”

“I hope the community will gain a better understanding of African music, and a greater appreciation for Mobile International Festival, which has been instrumental in promoting the diversity of culture in Mobile for 30 years,” said Bright.

In addition to music, the event will include a presentation about primitive African art by Israel Lewis, III, who represents the countries Benin, Togo and Ghana in the Mobile International Festival each November.

“It’s different from European art,” said Lewis who at age 5 began learning the West African graphic art technique from his grandfather. “It has its own proportion and its own significance. Whatever is important about the person is exaggerated. For instance, if they are a leader, they might have a large head and a small body. Primitive people, before they used writing, they communicated through their art whether it was graphic art or singing and dancing. I’m real thankful and grateful the art was passed on to me. I passed it on to my siblings, my children, and my grandchildren.”

Alex Ikefuna of Nigeria will serve as the master of ceremony for the event which will begin and end with the songs of the Wake Up Choir.

“As MIF celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2013, we are proud to highlight some of the different countries that are represented at the festival,” said MIF executive director Bobbie Bayne. “We would like for the community to be able to experience the different cultures from the festival that they might not get to see when they visit us.”

The next special event to celebrate MIF’s 30 years will be “Journey to Turkey” on Sept. 29 at the Ben May Main Library. The Mobile International Festival will hold their 30th annual event on Nov. 23. For more information including festival times and ticket prices, visit

Source: Christie Lovvorn

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: