Bozar gives African diaspora in Europe the mike


With the day-long event Afropean+, Bozar wants to spotlight the cultural contributions of the African diaspora in Europe

Photo by Alexandra Huddleston

Most events free

Reggae star Alpha Blondy tops the bill at Afropean+, a day-long event at Bozar in Brussels that puts a spotlight on the African diaspora in Europe and the contribution it makes to the cultural landscape. In addition to concerts by established and new performers, there will be films, debates, play readings, a craft fair, children’s entertainment and exhibitions.

The musical line-up has a distinctly West African flavour. Alpha Blondy hails from Ivory Coast, bringing his local take on mainstream reggae. Sekouba Bambino cut his teeth with Guinean legends Bembeya Jazz National and continues in the group's afropop tradition with a touch of Cuban style thrown in.

Nzimbu Project brings together veteran pianist Ray Lema of Congo-Kinshasa with singers Ballou Canta and Fredy Massamba from across the river in Congo-Brazzaville. They perform with Brazilian guitarist Rodrigo Viana, producing a mellow and soulful acoustic sound. Finally, urban pop singer Pegguy Tabu pays tribute to celebrated Congolese rhumba singer Tabu Ley Rochereau, his father.

Throughout the day, young artists from the African diaspora in Belgium appear at the Brussels Talent Show. The aim is to attract the attention of programmers and agents, and to reach out to new audiences.

You will need tickets for the concerts, but the rest of the day is free. The programme includes documentaries and fiction films set in Congo, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Mali. Pride of place goes to Colour Bar by Roland Gunst, which explores the mixed-race director's identity crisis being treated as white in Africa but black in Belgium.

Meetings range from a symposium on cultural entrepreneurship in Brussels’ African diaspora, and a debate on the role of women in Africa and Europe. Between times, check out the exhibition Timbuktu Renaissance, arts and crafts at the market, and sample food from across Africa.

17 January at Bozar, Brussels

Brussels Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar)

The cultural house Bozar is one of the foremost arts centres in the country. Its multidiscliplinary approach to the arts makes this federal cultural institution unique. It organises both large exhibitions and plays host to everything from classic orchestra concerts to Balkan music festivals.
Building - With eight levels, the Bozar building was designed in the 1920s by famed Art Deco architect Victor Horta, who envisioned it as a bridge between the lower and higher parts of the city. It has been listed as a partially protected monument since 1977.
Director - Director-general Paul Dujardin is credited with breathing new life into the centre from the early 2000s onward. Under his leadership, the building was intensively renovated while the previously fragmented offer of cultural activities was streamlined and expanded.
Money - The centre derives more than half of its revenue from its box office. Its budget is additionally supplemented by structural subsidies from the federal government and project-based subsidies from the Flemish and French Communities.

orchestra concerts per year


exhibitions per year

240 000

visitors to spring exhibitions in 2013