International Jazz Day is celebrated each year on 30 April. In 2022, the European Broadcasting Union partnered with UNESCO to promote JazzWomenAfrica, a unique concert featuring female jazz musicians from across the African continent.
It was the result of a residency organized by Anya Music (Morocco) that brought together Abigail Narkie Teye (percussionist/Ghana), Laura Prince (performer/Togo), Maah Keita (bassist/Senegal), Mariaa Sigaa (composer and performer/Senegal), Mounaissa (guitarist/Mali), Nelida Karr (guitarist/Equatorial Guinea) and Senny Camara (composer and kora player/Senegal). Learn more about the residency and the artists on the UNESCO dedicated webpage.
Recorded highlights of this residency by the JazzWomenAfrica band are offered to all EBU radio organizations under reference JM/2022/04/02/01.
The JazzWomenAfrica concert was webcast on 30 April 2022 and can be watched on the Anya Youtube account. Excerpts of the concert were also webcast worldwide during the All-Star Global Concert produced by the Herbie Hancock Institute for Jazz the same day. The webcast can be watched on the International Jazz Day YouTube channel.
On the previous day, 29 April 2022, a conference brought together women artists and music producers for a discussion around the most important challenges facing female jazz artists in Africa. Topics included how to gain access to global platforms that promote their artistic work and how to provide younger generations with positive role models that can help break down stereotypes inherent in the industry.
Abigail Teye: I am a performer, a musician, so every genre of music is my business as far as natural rythms, sweet words, romantic melodies are concerned. So automatically I am connected.
Senny Camara: JazzWomenAfrica is a great initiative. The meeting with the girls went very well from the first day and this is what facilitated the connection as well as the creation. I really appreciated this harmony with the artists.
Laura Prince: Women, woman, this is such an important word to me… What would be the world without us! I met beautiful African women and musicians in this project. We created something new at the HIBA studio and it was amazing how we were connected and motivated in this comfortable complex. To me it was a very new experience and I still think of it. I stayed in touch with those women.
Abigail Teye: I was highly inspired by all women from different countries involved. It’s an appreciation, an honor to prove to the world that women can also do the best in music.
Senny Camara: My relationship with jazz started at a very young age. I was attracted to the ladies of jazz from the 30s and 50s like Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne and Nina Simone who inspired me a lot.
Laura Prince: I would love to meet my « jazzy birds » again and create more with them. Record an album maybe and make an African tour, European tour or world tour with them? Maybe choose a theme around the idea of transmission of music to other young women. Make them have more confidence and access to an instrument of their choice.
Abigail Teye: I plan to make sure that the JazzWomenAfrica project will continue to reign. I am ready any time any day for this project whenever duty calls. I wish for this project to continue while touring around the globe to showcase what women have in them.