New Delhi: A night filled with mesmerising dance and music marked Africa Day celebrations in the capital as artists from India and Africa took centrestage to commemorate 49 years of the continent`s resurgence.
The celebrations marked the 49th Africa Day and 10 years of the African Union (AU), previously known as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
The motive behind the event, at the Siri Fort Auditorium, was to build bridges between African and Indian youths, organisers said.
The evening saw unique performances by band Indian Ocean, African dance group Horn of Africa, andchildren from a hip hop group from Delhi named Slumgods, among others.
It started with a traditional dance called Dhaanto performed by Horn of Africa, a group of 10 young boys and girls from Somalia. The dance was originally founded by the Somalians living in the Horn of Africa, an ancient land of Punt and the original homeland of the Pharaohs. The young boys and girls are currently studying at the University of Delhi.
"It`s our traditional dance and it originated in Egypt. Mostly we dance Dhaanto at a wedding or any big celebration," said Koffe, 24-year-old from Somalia, a student at Delhi College and Arts and Commerce.
While the boys donned a white-coloured ensemble, the girls wore traditional, empire-line gowns teamed with a scarf on their heads for the performance.
"This is the first time that we are performing and celebrating Africa Day in Delhi. Last time we performed a Bollywood dance in Don Bosco School on the UN`s youth celebration. But we are happy that we are getting a chance to show our dance and tradition in India," said Deqa from Somalia.
Organised in collaboration with Idea Works, "IndiaAfrica - A Shared Future" was a programme supported by Public Diplomacy Division of the external affairs ministry.
The evening also witnessed an Afro-Indian rock band Amazing Talents, who shared the stage with rock band Indian Ocean. Amazing Talents consists of Flexy Emmanuel as vocalist, Osifo as lead guitarist, Anderson as sound producer and A- Jay on vocals.
Adding modern Afro flavor were the kids from a hip hop collective group named Slumgods. They performed with Indian Ocean on their famous number "Desh Mera" from the movie ‘Peepli Live’.
"This is a unique idea, I really feel that these kind of events can spread more awareness about African culture and their music," said Rahul, the bassist of Indian Ocean.
Republic of Congo`s Rio Des Djika, an 11-member band, brought the curtains down by performing Makossa, a traditional music form. They played Bollywood number "Mera dil bhi kitna pagal" from the movie ‘Saajan’ -- showcasing a perfect India-Africa connect.
The audiences were delighted with the cultural night.
"We expected reggae music as we used to think that Africa is all about eeggae music only, but this event gave us a chance to know more about African music. This was the first time when I heard Congo`s music, I danced with the African youths. It was just crazy yet amazing," said Abhishek, a young engineering student.