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'Emerge in the West' African Festival 2014

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by Jen Legge (subscribe)
Canadian girl living and loving Melbourne. Mum, freelance writer and chaser of all experiences worth talking about.
African culture comes alive at street party in Footscray
As my adopted city and chosen home, I truly believe Melbourne is one of the greatest places in the world to live. My enduring love affair with Melbourne stays strong year after year because it delivers what I, and so many of its dwellers, crave. We have an insatiable hunger for vibrancy, cultural richness and authentic, colourful life experiences.

Our fine city offers unbeatable festivals and unparalleled events that provide true decadence of the senses. It's at these very events that we can temporarily escape and be transported to another sumptuous and spectacular world. A world where we can let go, get on the ride and let ourselves be absorbed into the mesmerising world buzzing around us, bursting with an exotic vitality.

Photo courtesy of Koné Express from Multicultural Arts Victoria website

On Saturday 17 May, be a part of the Emerge in the West Festival in Footscray and immerse yourself in the delicious, intoxicating sights, sounds and tastes of countries spanning across the African continent. Feel the magnetic musical rhythms that resonate deep within your chest, travelling down to your feet, willing them to move. Devour food as flavourful and savoury as the very spices it's made with. Behold fabrics and textures as rich and bright as the desert sun. All this, without the exorbitant intercontinental airfares! The Emerge in the West Festival is FREE.

Photo by Anne Harkin from Multicultural Arts Victoria website

Delivered by Multicultural Arts Victoria, in partnership with Maribyrnong City Council, Emerge in the West will pack a punch. This 'massive, feel-good street party' celebrates the emerging African cultures and talents in Melbourne's West and commemorates UNESCO'S World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Market and Food
Check out the bustling market place to see what's on offer or take a tour to local African restaurants to sample their mouth watering cuisine while enjoying African storytelling, song and spoken word.

Photo courtesy of Asanti Dance Company from Multicultural Arts Victoria website

Music performances
Your dancing shoes will go into overdrive as the uplifting, contagious rhythms are cranked from the Somali Peace Band. Afro-reggae tunes from the Blak Roots and the traditionally inspired beats of Koné Express will keep you moving. Famous Ethiopian and Sudanese singers, Bitsat Seyoum and Madup Chol, will also take to the stage.

Dance performances
If watching dancing instead of busting out the moves yourself is more to your taste, then be entranced by African youth dance crews Zero Degrees, Legacy Girls and Special Crew. The explosive Asanti Dance Theatre will showcase their afro-contemporary performance and workshop and Seble Girma will perform traditional Ethiopian dance with a workshop to follow.

Africa's Got Talent and Fashion Show
The Africa's Got Talent component of the day will feature a spirited performing arts competition and you'll also be able to feast your eyes on the finest contemporary Afro-Australian fashion as featured in the afternoon's colourful and high energy fashion show.

Film screening
The party continues on Tuesday 20 May at the Footscray Library with an African film screening. Featuring short films from across the African continent, the screening was curated by Mito Elias, a well established artist from West Africa.

Image from Multicultural Arts Victoria website

Multicultural Arts Victoria
Through their community programs and support, Multicultural Arts Victoria invites the broader community to nurture a deeper understanding of cultural diversity and it's values in order to live together better in this multicultural state we live in. They celebrate the important contributions of local newly arrived communities by, among other things, creating connections for artists and new residents from refugee backgrounds.
Information sourced from Multicultural Arts Victoria website

The City of Maribyrnong
As a resident of the City of Maribyrnong, I see the incredible cultural diversity here and what it brings to the fabric of the place. It's one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse municipalities in Victoria with over 80 language groups and 135 different countries of birth represented. The main countries of origin are Vietnam, China, India, United Kingdom and Italy. More recently there has been an increase of new residents from Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma.
Information sourced from Maribyrnong City Council website

Get to know the Africa of Australia. There is so much happening on the African food, music, arts and cultural scene. The Emerge in the West Festival is the perfect place to start.

Event Details
Emerge in the West Festival
Free entry
Saturday 17 May
12- 5pm
Nicholson St, Irving St, Footscray

African Film Screening
Free entry
Tuesday 20 May
Screening from 6 - 7:30pm (arrival and seating 5:45pm)
Footscray Library, 56 Paisley Street, Footscray

Multicultural Arts
The City of Maribyrnong
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Why? It's a real taste of Africa in Melbourne
When: Saturday 17 May 12noon to 5pm
Where: Nicholson Street and Irving Street in Footscray
Cost: FREE
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