What to know about the Concert of Colors 2022

The free event featuring music, food and dance has put a spotlight on Detroit’s diverse cultural communities for the past 30 years.

Concert of Colors

The Concert of Colors is back in full swing for the 2022 season. Founded by WDET’s own Ismael Ahmed (host of This Island Earth on Saturdays from 6-8 p.m.), the festival has put a spotlight on Detroit’s diverse cultural communities for the past 30 years. It is – and always has been – free to attend, and there are a wide variety of foods, dancing, and live music performances that started last weekend and will go through this Sunday. Many of the events are live and in person, while some are virtual and/or broadcast. The festival will span over a range of venues from the DIA to the Wright Museum of African American History to the Michigan Science Center.

WDET will record and broadcast select performances on Sunday July 31 and Sunday August 7.

Related: WDET’s own Ismael Ahmed talks Concert of Colors, National Endowment of the Arts

Here are some of our favorite upcoming events:

“Concert of Colors: University in Diversity” film screening – After the 1967 rebellion, Detroit with its storied music history became a powerful engine for cultural renewal in the fight for diversity and equality. Music was very much a part of all that. “Concert of Colors: Unity in Diversity” is a retrospective film that celebrates 30 years of the Concert of Colors, all that was achieved and all the work still ahead. A screening will take place Wednesday, July 20 at the Detroit Film Theatre Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Attendance is free with online ticket registration.

The 15th Annual Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue: Tribute to Iggy Pop – This year, the Don Was All-Star Revue will celebrate the music of Iggy Pop who celebrated his 75th birthday on April 21. The All-Star band consisting of drummers Ronald Pangborn and Ron Otis, guitarist Brian “Roscoe” White, keyboardist Luis Resto, saxophonist Dave McMurray and Don Was on bass will accompany Detroit singers Mick Collins, Steffanie Christi’an, Josie Pace, Don Duprie and Alison Lewis, Carolyn Striho and Scott Dailey, Steven Beggar, and Nadir Omowale as they pay tribute to the raw power and legacy of the Godfather of Punk’s solo work and as the lead singer and lyricist of The Stooges, an explosive band that laid the foundation for everyone from The Sex Pistols to Nine Inch Nails. Iggy Pop’s creativity has manifested itself with acting roles and his own radio show, but his combustible music and raucous stage presence are what left indelible marks on musicians and fans for decades. Detroit musicians and performers will honor Iggy’s legacy on the lawn of the DIA on Saturday, July 23 starting at 9 p.m.

Natu Camara musical performance – The Wright Museum continues its annual partnership with the Concert of Colors with a concert featuring Natu Camara on Thursday, July 21 at 5 p.m. If you merged Miriam Makeba with Nina Simone, added a dose of Tracy Chapman and sprinkled on some Tina Turner, you might begin to explain Natu Camara. A vibrant singer and songwriter whose West African heritage, charged performance style and passion for social justice has made her a unique presence in World Music. Born in Ivory Coast and raised in Guinea, Natu’s devotion to music exploded in early success when she joined three friends to form West Africa’s first ever female R&B/hip-hop band, the Ideal Black Girls. Their first album, Guinea mou monèra (“It’s not a shame to be a woman”) went on to sell in the millions and was nominated for Best Album 2002 in Guinea. And though she performs her songs in five languages, they need no translation. Everyone feels the power of energy, and everyone speaks the language of the heart. Doors open at 4 p.m., show begins at 5 p.m.

DakhaBrakha musical performance – DakhaBrakha is a world-music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine. Reflecting fundamental elements of sound and soul, Dakha Brakha means “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language. DakhaBrakha was created in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art by the avant-garde theatre director, Vladyslav Troitskyi. Having experimented with Ukrainian folk music, the band has added rhythms of the surrounding world into their music, creating bright and unforgettable sound, and opening the potential of Ukrainian folk melodies to resonate with the present. Accompanied by Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian instrumentation, the quartet’s astonishingly powerful and uncompromising vocal range creates a trans-national sound rooted in Ukrainian culture. They will perform at the Detroit Film Theatre Auditorium on Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m. Attendance is free with online ticket registration.

Nafada: Arab Women in Hip Hop – Detroit-based electronic/industrial outfit Nafada is a remarkable collaboration of some of the leading female hip-hop artists from Africa and the Middle East, including Medusa Tn (Tunisia), Soultana (Morocco) and Meryam Saci (Algeria). The result is a deliciously defiant experience, a balance of irrepressibly beat-driven lyricism and provocative politics. They will perform at the Detroit Film Theatre Auditorium on Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. Attendance is free with online ticket registration.

For the full lineup of events, visit concertofcolors.com.

Related: Reflecting on the inclusive beginnings of the Concert of Colors

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