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During July, the kuduro band Elenco da Paz and the musician Toto St will undertake an extensive tour of Spanish festivals after they were yesterday proclaimed winners of the cultural project Angola Vis a Vis.
The artists were chosen by a dozen music producers and Spanish music festival organisers who travelled to Luanda (Angola) within the framework of this project which is already in its eighth year. Each year, Vis a Vis enables festivals to include acts in their line-ups which are new and un-known in Spain, representative of the music scene of the African countries visited.
This time, the organisers chose a band which plays kuduro, a style that mixes electronica, hip hop and dance. This band stood out not only for the quality and energy of their performance but also as an example of how this apparently hard and aggressive musical style is an excellent vehicle for activism in favour of development and cohesion for the Angolan people. The fusion of the most traditional sounds of Angola such as the kizomba, the semba, the kilapanga and the konono (the sound from the north of the country influenced by the Congolese rumba) are the calling card of Toto St, a well-known Angolan artist who has not yet performed in Spain.
The eighth Vis a Vis, in Luanda, saw the involvement of the Ministry of Culture of Angola, whose Secretary of State for Culture, Cornelio Caley, stressed that cultural exchange with Spain is a great opportunity for Angola’s musicians, at the same time as opening doors for more forms of cultural cooperation and exchanges between Spaniards and Angolans in other fields.
The director general of Casa África, Luis Padrón said that, without doubt, Vis a Vis is now an internationally recognised cultural diplomacy project and the spearhead of that cultural diplomacy which is one of the three main pillars of the activity of the consortium of public diplomacy, alongside economic diplomacy and public diplomacy.
The Spanish ambassador in Angola, Julia Olmo, said that the selection of Angola to celebrate Vis a Vis was a magnificent way to celebrate 40 years of uninterrupted diplomatic relations between Spain and Angola, a country “which always had Spain at its side” even in the most difficult times of armed conflict before 2002.