7th Annual Festival at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center Celebrates Jazz & Recognizes African Diaspora

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The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center presents the 7th Annual Sankofa Jazz Festival on Saturday, April 30, 2022 from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Headlining the family-friendly, celebratory event is the Christian Sands Trio, led by six-time GRAMMY nominee jazz pianist Christian Sands.

The Sankofa Jazz Festival highlights the diversity and vitality of the arts that have arisen from the African diaspora and showcases both local and emerging artists that embody the spirit of African heritage jazz artists. The accomplished Christian Sands Trio will highlight their wide repertoire, which draws from historic and contemporary sources, and will perform rousing reprises and selections from Sands’ album Be Water. Reflecting on his inspiration for the Grammy-nominated work, Sands noted, “It’s ubiquitous […] yet somehow intangible, able to change form or assume the shape of its surroundings.” The Trio’s performances underscore Sands’ inspiration, as well as his dedication to be “more open, more free [and] more flexible.”

The Festival will also feature Melton Mustafa, Jr., “Mustafa on Sax,” a two-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist and educator, in addition to Aniye Strachan, Robert Bradley, Arnitris Williams, Luis Disla, John Dixon, and HOT 105’s Rodney Baltimore.

“The Sankofa Jazz Festival celebrates the rich history of the African diaspora,” said Marshall L. Davis, the Center’s Managing Director. “This family-friendly event embodies African pride and culture, introducing our public to established and rising talent. This is not only an opportunity for our community to reconnect, but to share an appreciation for music that draws from jazz music traditions.”

The namesake of the Festival is the mythical “Sankofa” bird from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The Sankofa bird’s feet face forward, and its head tilts back, symbolizing the past’s vital role in moving towards the future with purpose.

“The Sankofa bird symbolizes the strength, hope, and wisdom of the African people,” added Marshall. “It brings to mind our collective future, and the timelessness of music is the perfect medium to illustrate the power of many.”

The Festival will also feature a gallery exhibit, local art for purchase, and food vendors. The gallery exhibit, titled “We The People,” honors prolific late Miami muralist, Oscar Thomas, on the 25th anniversary of his passing. The exhibit features three decades of Thomas’s work, a photography collection of his murals, and never-before-seen videos, in addition to a tribute showcase that highlights local and international talent inspired by Thomas’s legacy. The show will run through June 5.

The Festival is recommended for all ages. Tickets will be sold via Eventbrite until 6 p.m. the day of or until sold out. General admission and reserved seating tickets are available for $25-$45. VIP tickets are $75 and include reserved seating within the first four rows, reserved parking, and complimentary food and beverage.

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