Launch of the Folklore Festival

This past Friday we gathered at Leano Restaurant to witness the launch of the inaugural Folklore Festival which is set to take place on Saturday, 1 October 2022. Welcomed by the soulful sounds of singer, songwriter and guitarist Le Mpendulo, the tone for the evening was set.

Le Mpendulo serenading the audience with songs from her EP titled Itjhada.

The Folklore Festival set to take place at the National School of the Arts on October 1st, is a celebration of African culture, customs and community; with a diverse Pan-African creative offering from North, South, East, and West Africa. The festival seeks to revive our appetites and appreciation for storytelling so that we, as Africans, can regain our footing as a cultured folk.

Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared and preserved by a particular group of people. It is inclusive of the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth, the form of tales, sayings, dances, proverbs, jokes and music captured through various art forms.

Pilani Bubu (Founder: Folklore Festival)
Pilani and the Folklore Ensemble

Now, in the first set of the evening, Pilani Bubu accompanied by the folklore ensemble, took the audience on a journey to a world all too familiar through a recollection of African folktales from her album Folklore Chapter 1. The jazzy soul singer cultivated a sense of community with the audience as she took us back to ancient times and indigenous practices with songs Qongqothwane and Qula Kwedini. The multi-faceted musician coloured her set with spoken word that had the audience mumbling in accord before inviting Leomile onto stage to seal the set.

Leomile captured the audience with her mystical performance of Linanabolele

Pilani set the stage ablaze in her second set alongside Muneyi and Leomile, as she previewed her upcoming album Folklore Chapter 2. This album has been inspired by Pilani’s personal journey and experience with African Spirituality and indigenous knowledge. Through this album the award-winning songstress aims to archive the conversations she has had with God and her ancestors in dreamscapes, so that they may live on to nourish the psyche of an African child for generations to come.

Muneyi giving a heartfelt performance of Mbebo Yo Shashata

In the middle of the second set Eskom did what it does best, but not even load shedding could dampen the spirits of the jubilant patrons in attendance as they continued to sing with so much joy and passion until the generator kicked in. In that moment song bound them together in love and grace, the way stories do.

Judging by this experience, the inaugural Folklore Festival promises to be a space for reigniting our passion to continue journeying into the light. It will be a space where we can embrace one another and learn from each other’s experiences. We are all in need of healing and there is no reason why we can’t have fun while we heal.

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