World rhythms at Nuits d’Afrique

Music Festivals and events
  • Festival International Nuits d’Afrique
  • Festival International Nuits d’Afrique
  • Festival International Nuits d’Afrique
Richard Burnett

Richard Burnett

Multi-cultural Montréal is a hotbed of world music year-round, but goes into musical overdrive during the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique. This year’s 38th edition runs from July 9 to 21, 2024.

Festival International Nuits d’Afrique

Montréal World Music Explosion

FINA was founded by legendary Montréal promoter Lamine Touré, who opened the city’s iconic Club Balattou in 1985. Congolese entertainer Dally Kimoko’s hit song Balattou à Montréal (which you can listen to on Spotify) spread the legend of Club Balattou where world-music superstars Papa Wemba, Baaba Maal, Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angélique Kidjo all made their North American débuts or early career-defining appearances.

Club Balattou also hosted the first edition of FINA in 1987. This year, several hundred artists from some 30 countries will perform in eight concert series at six indoor venues as well as on two huge outdoor stages set up for free concerts in the Quartier des Spectacles.

Festivalgoers can celebrate outdoors on the Parterre of the Quartier des Spectacles when free activities for the whole family are presented from July 16 to 21.

Festival International Nuits d’Afrique

Here are the festival's eight indoor concert series:

  1. Les Grands Événements Series

    The Afrique en Cirque by Kalabanté (Guinea, QC) theatrical show combines music, dance and circus arts at the Olympia Theatre (July 10), while reggae-dancehall fans will enjoy L’Entourloop (France) and Queen Omega & the Royal Souls (Trinidad) at MTelus (July 13).

  2. The Voix du Monde series

    Concerts in this series features outstanding voices dedicated to humanitarian causes: Alberto Salgado (Brazil), Youba Adjrad (Algeria, QC), Luiz Salgado (Brazil), Jimmy Belah Trio (Benin), and Pahua (Mexico).

  3. Les Incontournables series

    Concerts in this series feature festival favourites and stars in tune with their African roots: Bïa & Maracuja (Brazil, QC), Los Gaiteros de Ovejas (Colombia), the ever-popular Alpha Yaya Diallo (Guinea, BC), Team Salsa Sextet (Cuba, QC), and Zal Sissokho & Buntalo (Senegal, QC).

  4. Les Étoiles Nuits d’Afrique series

    Nine evening concerts featuring three outstanding artists performing three concerts each – Afirka (Algeria, QC), Andy Rubal (Cuba, QC) and A Mandinka rendezvous with Aboulaye Koné (Ivory Coast, QC). There will be unique collaborations with their special guests for a different experience each evening. All shows at Club Balattou.

  5. Prestige Series 

    Nuit de la Kora with Prince Diabaté (Guinea) and Diely Mori Tounkara (Mali, QC) headline Le Gésu (July 14), and Christian Obam (Cameroon) will transport listeners between Cameroon and Senegal and the origins of jazz and blues, at Club Balattou (July 16).

  6. Nuits d’Afrique Sound System Series 

    Mr. Touré! and guests Don Barbarino and Bellavi headline Le Ministère (July 12) while the Moonshine collective Club Sagacité will raise the roof at the Fairmount Theatre (July 19).

  7. Les Révélations Series 

    Kirá (Brazil), Kin'Gongolo Kiniata (DR Congo, QC), Rumba de Bodas (Italy), and Sia Tolno (Guinea) are exciting new faces of world music presented in this series.

  8. Global Beat Series Senegalese hip-hop duo 

    Def Mama Def champions social values and denounce conditions faced by women (July 11 at Le Ministère), the electric Afro-funk of Ibibio Sound Machine from Nigeria and the UK (July 18 at the Fairmount), and Mexico’s Boogàt will blend of cumbia, salsa, reggaeton and hip-hop (July 20 at Le Ministère).

Festival International Nuits d’Afrique

The Village des Nuits d’Afrique

Beneath the sun and stars, Nuits d’Afrique presents six days of free outdoor activities and concerts from July 16 to 21 on the Parterre du Quartier des spectacles and the Esplanade Tranquille.

The open-air dance workshops, the Cabaret Nuits d’Afrique, the children’s village, the Timbuktu Market and the Promenade des Saveurs food court are all back this year, while DJs will spin at Les Escales Tropicale on the TD–Radio-Canada stage between the final evening concerts. 

Festival International Nuits d’Afrique

The outdoor Les Grands Événements TD Series on the TD–Radio-Canada stage will draw big crowds to see international star headliners Bombino (Niger), BCUC (South Africa), Innoss’B (DR Congo), BIM (Benin), Takana Zion (Guinea) and Rutshelle Guillaume (Haiti).

The outdoor Femmes du Monde Series on the Loto-Québec stage on the Esplanade Tranquille highlights the powerful presence of women in world music with headliners The Burning BRASs Band (QC), Athenea Y Su Candela (Cuba, QC), Lavanya and the Dharani Project (India - Mali - Bangladesh - QC), the smooth kompa and Afro-pop rhythms of Modeline Raymond (Haiti, QC), the “Afrofuturistic” Les Aunties (Chad), and singer-songwriter Stéphanie Osorio (Colombia, QC).

The 38th edition of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique runs from July 9 to 21, 2024. Click here for dates and times of all shows.

Richard Burnett

Richard Burnett

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ+ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

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