Day of African Culture

August 05, 2023

The Arvada Center and African Leadership Group are thrilled to present the fashion of Oumou Sy and music of Baaba Maal in a Day of African Culture! 

Art is a rich expression of community, identity and culture - a way for all of us to share our stories and our heritage with each other and the world. This Community Celebration and Concert features the design of Oumou Sy, "Senegal's Queen of Couture," and music from Baaba Maal, one of the country's most celebrated musicians with opener Fata El Presidente

Event Schedule

3:00 pm: Community Celebration - Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges with a joyous celebration of music, food, drinks, games and much more on the Amphitheatre Plaza. Free to attend - no ticket needed! 

4:00 pm: VIP Reception

5:30 pm: The fashion designs of Oumou Sy - A free fashion show in the Arvada Center's Main Stage Theatre, featuring the work of internally known Senegalese designer Oumou Sy on multicultural models. Free to attend - ticket required. 

7:30 pm: Baaba Maal concert - In the Arvada Center's beautiful Outdoor Amphitheatre, hear the music of Senegalese singer-songwriter Baaba Maal. One of Senegal's most famous musicians, you can hear his music on the Wakanda Forever sound track and on his recent (April 2023) album Being. WIth opener Fata El Presidente!

Together, let's Break Barriers and Build Bridges among all people with a joyous celebration of Senegalese art, fashion, music and food! 

About Baaba Maal:

"I never thought I would stay in one place and doing one thing every day in my life. This is why music is a really good opportunity for me to go away, first, like a young person, like going on an adventure..."

- Baaba Maal to NPR about his new album "Being"

Baaba Maal is a Senegalese singer and guitarist born in Podor, on the Senegal River. The singer and guitarist belongs to the semi-nomadic Fulani people. He first left his homeland of Fouta, in the river valley region of northern Senegal, almost 40 years ago, to perform music hundreds of miles away as a teenage boy scout and he has been a wanderer ever since. “It’s part of my culture,” he says. “The songs travel from village to village, from country to country. It’s something natural to my tribe and this part of Africa.”

His most recent album The Traveller, which features the British poet Lemn Sissay and members of The Very Best and Mumford and Sons, is both a new direction and a powerful summary of his life’s work: a rich and moving celebration of seeing new places, meeting new people and making new music together. “When you travel you learn things that would have taken you years to learn in one place,” Baaba says. “You learn about the different corners of life.”

The Traveller’s themes of communication, reconciliation and responsibility chime with Baaba’s work as an activist who has campaigned for women’s rights, HIV/AIDS awareness, debt relief, climate issues and education. He is a Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Program and a global ambassador for Oxfam. For Baaba Maal, music and activism are interwined because they are both about building bridges and encouraging mutual understanding. 

About Oumou Sy:

Oumou Sy is a Senegalese fashion designer frequently referred to as "Senegal's Queen of Couture.” She designed the wardrobe for the Senegalese singers Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour, and has won various awards at international film festivals for her costume designs.

In 1998 Sy was one of the three African fashion designers to win the Principal Prince Claus Award. As a master of technical, modern and traditional design, she taught at the Beaux Arts in Dakar Milano orGenève before opening Leydi, her own international school in Dakar. Her students come from Sénégal, Africa and western countries. 

Sy's design work features a collection of costumes inspired by African Queens and Kings, which will be on display at the Arvada Center through the month of August. 

Fashion Designs of Oumou Sy

Videos

About African Leadership Group

ALG advocates for the entire African Immigrant Community – across national origin, tribes, and language – to ensure continuous improvement to immigrants’ quality of life. Since its inception, ALG has organized multiple community events, engagements, and discussions with programs focused on key issues, such as education, career and job opportunities, Business Development, Immigration, Political and Community involvement, and many other activities regularly reaching thousands of individuals in the local community.

In 2021, the Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, issued an honorary proclamation establishing the month of August as African Immigrant Month in  the state of Colorado. The 8th Annual Afrik Impact celebration features a Youth Empowerment Event July 28th, a Community Cultural Event & Concert August 5th, an Education Forum August 10th, a Business Summit August 17th and concluding with our annual Gala, our main event on Saturday, August 26. The theme this year is “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges."

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