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The Increasing Popularity of Drumfests Around the World

Drums have been around since the dawn of time. They are deeply rooted in history, spirituality, tribal ceremonies, and, of course, music. Every culture has a unique drumming history. Many primitive cultures used drums to celebrate battle victories and for rituals. Others used drums for worship as well as for music. The drum permeates the history of many cultures.

In recent years, we have experienced a resurgence in the use of drums in popular music. Unique drums from around the world create new and collaborative music that mesh modern music with the drum beats of the past. The popularity of drums has led to the rise in growth in the number of drum festivals and ceremonies held around the world each year.

African Drum Culture: About the Djembe Drum

One of the many popular types of drums is the Wassoulou percussion Djembe drum. With West African roots, these drums are made from dried and very dense heartwood from Mali – giving the drum its unique sound quality. The name “Djembe” (meaning “everyone gathers together in peace”) is symbolic of how the drum was used in African culture. The Djembe drum is able to create a number of sounds, making it a popular instrument for modern day musicians looking to add new dimensions to their music. Its goblet style look also makes it very collectible as it can easily double as a décor item in any room of your home or office.

Drum Festivals Around the World

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of drum festivals held globally, many of which occur in Canada. Drum festivals attract thousands of people from all walks of life, bring together many different cultures, and offer the unique experience of being able to see people of all cultures drumming and dancing to an inspirational beat. Some of the styles of music you will experience at a drum festival include:
  • Ivory Coast
  • Afro-Cuban
  • Afro-Brazilian
  • West African
  • Calypso
  • Chinese Waist Drumming
  • Brazilian Samba Reggae
  • Jamaican Reggae

What's the Drum Festival experience?

Fun - lots of fun. Great music, too! Drum festivals attract people of all ages. They celebrate international music and the art of drumming and its role in history. The goal is to bring together multiple cultures and create a common sense of community. Here is what you can expect:
  • Learning circles and educational workshops about drumming and dancing
  • Music demonstrations from musicians around the world
  • Interactive performances and the opportunity to try out these unique instruments
  • Exhibitors and artists displaying unique cultural items
  • Drum-offs and performances from world renowned drummers and musicians

Popular Drumfests Around the World

You are in luck if you are interested in checking out a drum festival. Popular drums fests held in Canada include: There are also many other smaller community drum festivals that are held each year, so be sure to keep an eye on your community events calendar. International drum festivals include:
  • The London Drum Show
  • MEINL Drum Festival
  • Seoul Drum Festival

Ready to experience the history of the drum? Want to experience wonderful cultural music from around the world? Check out a Drum Fest and get moving to the beat of your own drum.

The Holiday Gift Giving season is fast upon us!

For unique and interesting gift ideas for all your friends and family. Use our interactive map tool to shop all five regions of the African continent

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The History of Black Friday: Shop Bring Africa Home for up to 70% Off

Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, has become a cultural phenomenon.

It’s the biggest shopping day of the year for retailers and shoppers in the U.S. We have all seen the images of people lining up for days in advance of huge sales that only happen once per year. We have also seen the crazy videos of people fighting over items, and the mass crowds in stores that make you wonder if it’s worth the trouble. The sales numbers suggest that people in the US (and increasingly, in Canada) believe the crowds and line ups are worth the deals. 

It’s Becoming Increasingly Popular in Canada....For years, Canadians have planned cross border trips to the US to take advantage of shopping deals. Even taking the exchange rate into consideration, making the trip is often worthwhile.

However, in recent years, Canadian retailers have begun to fight back, in an attempt to prevent Canadians from spending their money outside of the country.

Many major retailers in Canada now offer Black Friday deals to keep Canadians home – essentially creating another similar shopping day, comparable to Boxing Day. With the ability to shop online, Black Friday is now more popular than ever in Canada and increasingly popular in other countries around the world.

We invite you to shop our Black Friday event, from now until December 31st, 2014.

Discounts are available from 15 to 70% on unique and desirable items including beautiful silver jewelry, gemstones, scarves, shawls, pashminas and wraps, as well as our lovely African wildlife sculptures.

Origins of Black Friday

Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving in the U.S, which is always the fourth Thursday in November. This means the actual date often varies each year by a day or so. The term “Black Friday” is not new. Its origins date back to the 19th century, however, the current use of the term dates back to 1961 in Philadelphia. The terminology and concept spread gradually over the years and eventually developed into today's sales extravaganzas! For an insight into an African Thanksgiving celebration, please read our blog.

To gain a competitive edge, retailers have continued to push the envelope and have begun to open earlier and earlier.

While the norm was once 6am on the Friday after Thanksgiving, stores are now opening on Thanksgiving as early as 8pm. Shopping has also extended into a weekend event, as retailers now hold sales all weekend and even have exclusive sales only available online.

Where Else Is Black Friday Held?

In recent years, Black Friday has begun to spread outside of North America, perhaps because of the influence of the Internet. Other countries, and multinational organizations, seeing the success of the event, are now holding Black Friday sales around the world. Global companies such as Apple and Amazon have been leading the charge. Today, Black Friday sales are now promoted in many countries, including:
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • India – known as Friendship day, which is held the first Sunday in August
  • China – known as Singles Day and is an online only sale
  • Costa Rica (known as Viernes Negro)
  • Romania
Much like in Canada, Mexico is also embracing the shopping event. Each year, El Buen Fin, is held as a weekend of shopping discounts. In Spanish, it means “the good weekend.” Apt name, in our opinion! In Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, they hold “White Day,” which is recognized exactly one month after Valentine’s Day – a celebration that has been recognized for over 30 years. And you thought Black Friday was only a U.S. event! Are you planning on taking advantage of the shopping deals this Black Friday? Are you planning on visiting the store in person or do you plan to take advantage of some of the online deals that will be available? Just a quick reminder that we are extending free shipping* from now until December 31st.


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We're So Excited and We Just Can't Hide It! Bravo Niagara:The North Star Festival

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home is pleased to announce we're going to be part of Bravo Niagara! - The North Star Festival: Voices of Freedom. Niagara-On-The-Lake - October 2-4, 2015.

Celebrating and honouring the courageous freedom-seekers who followed the North Star to Niagara - a terminus of the Underground Railroad, this inaugural festival showcases the sights, sounds, history and tastes of the Niagara Region's rich black history and African origins. Great music, fascinating history, mouth-watering food and a boat cruise down the Niagara River. Entertaining, fun and educational, this festival is a terrific experience for the entire family! 

Friday, October 2nd, 2015: Niagara Historical Society & Museum - 2 to 4 p.m. Free Admission Join us to experience local historian Dr. Wilma Morrison with presenters from Canadian universities, as well as scholars from the Harriet Tubman Institute to explore Niagara's rich black history and the courageous freedom-seekers who "followed the North Star".

Friday, October 2nd, 2015: 8 to 10 p.m. - St. Mark's Anglican Church Canadian Jazz Icon Joe Sealy performs the Juno Award Winning Africville Suite, with special guest Jumaane Smith.

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. - The Market @ The Village Food for the Soul - Free Admission

Bravo Niagara! and The Market @ The Village co-present “Food for the Soul, bringing together vendors of local chefs, food trucks, music, artisans, local produce, Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake and more in a celebration of the culinary contributions of people of African descent.

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Check out our blog about the fascinating Tuareg People and their ancient silversmithing techniques. Please stop by. We'd love to meet you. Saturday, October 3rd, 2015: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. St. Mark's Anglican Church Nathaniel Dett Chorale - "Freedom Has a Voice" As a response to being enslaved during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, men and women of African heritage created spirituals, songs of sorrow, love, faith, and hope. Many of these songs were encoded with covert messages as a way to sing freedom into existence. The Nathaniel Dett Chorale is dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles, including classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues and has shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy, singers Molly Johnson and Jackie Richardson, and opera star Kathleen Battle and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Sunday, October 4th, 2015: 2 to 4 p.m. Community Concert @ Harriet Tubman Public School - Free Admission Blues Sensations Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whitely Canadian blues icons Diana Braithwaite, a descendant of freedom-seekers who settled in Wellington County, and Chris Whiteley will perform “Sugar & Gold: A Musical Story of the Underground Railroad.” Students will display artwork inspired by Harriet Tubman.

Sunday, October 4th, 2015: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Freedom Cruise on the Niagara River

Featuring Blues & Motown Legend Harrison Kennedy

The weekend will conclude with the inaugural Sunset Freedom River Cruise aboard the majestic Niagara Belle featuring Blues and Motown legend Harrison Kennedy. Join us on a musical and historical tour along the Niagara River, on the very water where many courageous freedom-seekers crossed and risked their lives to reach freedom in Canada.


"In its desire to celebrate, commemorate and examine the experiences of persons of African descent in Canada, the festival aligns with the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO and the 21st Anniversary of the International Scientific Committee UNESCO Slave Route Project: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage. The North Star Festival: Voices of Freedom will contribute to the ongoing work to unite the Niagara Region in a global movement of promoting deeper cultural understanding, peace and dialogue for current and future generations. 

P.S. Looking back at this blog, we seem to have channeled both the Pointer Sisters (or maybe Donna Summer?) AND Marvin Gaye.

No apologies. We were about to lose control and we know we like it! Comment if you know which songs and no peeking at the links first.

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Celebrate the Sounds of Africa: Mother of Soul

Join Dominic Mancuso & Chendy Leon to explore the rich musical influences of Africa. The soulful sounds of these extraordinary musical explorers - unplugged - is delightfully entertaining. Zawadee - Bring Africa Home is pleased to present Juno and Canadian Folk Music Award Winner Dominic Mancuso and his good friend and collaborator Chendy Leon - an extraordinary percussionist who has worked with a long list of internationally acclaimed artists, including Jesse Cook, The Parachute Club and Sultans of String.

Dominic, an acclaimed songwriter and producer has defined a rich hybrid vibe, fusing multicultural flavours. Chendy's talented percussive rhythms kick us into an entirely new musical dimension!
 Come on down to Food for the Soul at The North Star Festival, October 3rd - from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Market @ The Village for music, artisans, local produce, Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the quality lifestyle products featured by Zawadee - Bring Africa Home.
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