Cuba to Host Wemilere Festival on African Roots

Havana will host, from May 25th through the 28th, the 21st edition of the Wemilere Festival on African Roots, aimed at preserving the legacy of African ancestors and maintaining it alive in Cuba’s national identity. Dedicated to the presence of the Yoruba culture on the Caribbean island, the meeting will once again be held at the town of Guanabacoa, a place that keeps centenarian folk traditions, the legacy of the blend of African and Spanish cultures. The president of the event’s Organizing Committee, Jorge Luis Corona, told the press that the focus of the Festival will be the people, and that researchers, artists and people who practice African religions from seven nations –among them Nigeria, Senegal, Venezuela and Guyana- will participate.

In Wemilere, which in Yoruba language means “fiesta dedicated to the Orishas”, all artistic expressions will converge. Corona pointed out that the Concha Ferrant Gallery will welcome fine arts, with an exhibit titled “Lo africano en la Postmodernidad”, with the participation of graduates from art schools across the island. The Rita Montaner Culture Center will be the venue of the literary forum “Africa en nosotros”, which will analyze the incorporation of African cultural elements into Hispanic letters. Performances by the Cucalambe Folk Ensemble, whose work is dedicated to the preservation of Yoruba culture on the island, will be among the event’s attractions, stressed the president of the Organizing Committee.

Also hosting some of the activities of the event –carried out since 1989- will be the Rubén Martínez Villena Amphitheater and the Guanabacoa Municipal Museum.

The African component of Cuban identity gave the Cuban nation a strong culture of resistance, its multicolored artistic and philosophic heritage, and its miscegenation, since the times Lucumí slaves brought to the island the culture of West Africa in the 16th century.

For more go to http://www.ain.cubaweb.cu/idioma/ingles/2010/0515AfricanRoots.htm

Photo from 2009 Wemilere Festival at http://www.daylife.com/photo/07jcaHA8Ul52D

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