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Preview: Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival 

WIll Coviello previews the lineup at Congo Square in Armstrong Park March 22 and 23

click to enlarge Dee-1

Dee-1

The Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival features an array of international visitors and heavyweight local rappers. The lineup on Sunday closes with DJ Mannie Fresh (4:15 p.m.), 3D Na'Tee (6:15 p.m.), Dee-1 (pictured, 6:45 p.m.) and Curren$y (7:15 p.m.). Visiting bands include Haiti's Boukman Eksperyans (4 p.m. Saturday), which blends traditional Haitian music and rock 'n' roll, and Kokanko Sata (3:15 p.m. Saturday), a singer/kora player from Mali. New York's Red Baraat, a brass band fusing funk, jazz and northern Indian bhangra rhythms, performs Saturday (6 p.m.).

  The festival highlights music and dance of the African diaspora in Congo Square, where slaves were allowed to congregate. play their own traditional music and dance in colonial Louisiana. Local groups Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective, Tekrema Dance Theater, N'Fungola Sibo African Dance and Drum Company, Culu Children's Traditional African Dance Company and N'Kafu Traditional African Dance Company perform along with New York's Bombazo Dance Company. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation sponsors the free festival, which has brass band and Mardi Gras Indian music, an art market, kids' activities, a contest for student brass bands and a presentation of 50 horns being donated to New Orleans schools. — WILL COVIELLO

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