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Featuring top emerging talent from Melbourne's West, across two stages, Emerge in the West 2015 is an exciting new festival that will see Nicholson Street, Footscray come alive with African music, culinary experiences, art, fashion, crafts, textiles and more!
Presented by Multicultural Arts Victoria, in partnership with Maribyrnong City Council Festival City Program, Emerge in the West will take place on Saturday 16th May from 1pm to 7pm. The event aims to empower and create connections for artists and communities from refugee backgrounds, and to celebrate and acknowledge the important contributions of local newly arrived refugee and emerging multicultural communities.
The main stage will feature The Lalibelas, Melbourne's newest Ethio-Jazz band, with its unique fusion of traditional Ethiopian music, jazz, Afro-funk, soul and Latin rhythms.
Nicholson Street will also resonate with music by East African reggae/pop singer and songwriter Nhatty Man, performers SKAAKI with their digital reggae dancehall dub and African influenced vocals, up and coming hip hop talent from Phoenix Youth Centre's Raw Elements, a community program engaging young people in rap music, and Somali Peace Band, led by master musician Abdi Mohamed Abdi. The brilliant JAzmaris, a nine piece Ethio-jazz ensemble, will also perform, and Royalty Noise will ignite funk, soul and hip hop rhythms.
FASHION Victoria University's iconic MetroWest venue will feature an Afro Chic fashion hub and an exhibition of clothing, jewellery, and accessories by local designers, curated by Vissolela Ndenzako, documentary maker and blogger of 'Beauty and the Black Woman'. Vissolela has also coordinated a fashion show of contemporary Afro-Australian designs.
DANCE The street stage will feature a variety of dance acts including Zero Degrees, an innovative young dance group inspired by South African house music, L2R Next Gen, a grass roots Not For Profit cultural organisation which employs hip hop dance as a vehicle to engage youth from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and traditional Ethiopian dance workshops by Sinit Tsegay. Marvel at the mind bending contortion of circus and physical theatre performer Teame Ersie.
FOOD The restaurants on Nicholson Street, including popular local Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurants, will offer many specials with many delicious African dishes to enjoy, and two marquees will feature Ethiopian Coffee and Sudanese Tea Ceremonies by Saba's Health Foods.
LITERATURE AND THE SPOKEN WORD MetroWest will host a forum and book launch for 'Curfew's Children' by esteemed poet, playwright and novelist Kabu Okai-Davies. The forum, presented by the Afro-Australian Student Organisation (AASO), will be a youth-led debate with the author, exploring the issues and themes brought to light by the book, along with migrant expectations, intergenerational and cultural conflicts experienced by young African migrants to Australia, and possible strategies to address these issues.
Soreti Kadir will also feature with her passionate speaking style and unique perspective. Being of Oromo heritage, but having spent most of her life living in Melbourne, she is constantly trying to navigate a more detailed and in depth understanding of how the diaspora can influence and shape the future of the African continent.
Building on the growing number of emerging artists and cultural entrepreneurs involved in Emerge in the West since 2011, Multicultural Arts Victoria partnered with African Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services (AAMEYS) and the African Think Tank will invite 25 successful small business owners of African heritage to establish the first small business association in Australia for Africans.
ARTS AND CRAFTS Enjoy the weaving demonstrations by Papua New Guinea bilum artist Vicki Kinnai, art by South Sudanese artist Mary Anwat, and face murals by PNG-Australian artist, theatrical stylist and educator Ella Benore Rowe. Participate in craft workshops by Yarraville resident Cape Verdean Mito Elias .
TOURS Atakilty Woreita with MAV's Artistic Program Manager and Founder of the Emerge Festivals Anita Larkin will lead two guided walking tours to the diverse traders on Nicholson Street who will be offering specials on the day. Nicholson Street traders offer a diverse range of products and services, including rare African textiles, original African hair art, and unique Ethiopian pool, to name a few.
Emerge in the West is a not to be missed event on Saturday 16th May between 1pm and 7pm on Nicholson Street, Footscray, between Paisley and Irving Streets. There is free parking on nearby streets, easy access by tram and it is only a 5 minute walk from Footscray Station. The event is FREE.