New Opportunity Announced for Downtown Activation on Friday, September 8

PROVIDENCE, RI— Mayor Brett P. Smiley today announced the Afrika Nyaga Drum and Dance Festival, a series of African-culture performances curated by local artist Sidy Maiga for Sunday afternoon at PVDFest on September 10, and a new opportunity for Downtown businesses to activate street spaces for block parties on Friday, September 8.

“I am thrilled to announce an incredible lineup for Sunday afternoon at PVDFest, as well as new opportunities for local businesses to get involved in this year’s festival,” said Mayor Brett Smiley. “We want to make this festival something that everyone can participate in and enjoy. Whether you’re a small business looking to welcome extra guests to your space, a local artist and curator like Sidy, or a festival-goer ready to experience new music, performances, and good food—there truly is something for everyone. The Afrika Nyaga Drum Festival is a must-see, bringing once-in-a-lifetime performances to our mainstage.”

On Sunday, September 10, Malian Djembe Master Sidy Maiga is producing his eleventh annual Afrika Nyaga Drum and Dance Festival in collaboration with the Providence Foundation from 2PM-6PM in Providence’s 195 District Park. Maiga has made music at PVDFest since its inception in 2015. This year he is bringing an extraordinary range of artists including some of the biggest names in Malian music to celebrate the African Diaspora that thrives throughout Providence and Rhode Island.

Joining Maiga’s curated performances will be Oumou Sangaré, a Grammy-award winning artist who holds some of the most definitive recordings in the history of contemporary African music. Wunmi is another festival performer joining the line up, often recognized as a major catalyst in bringing Afrobeat to mainstream America. Master Soumy is one of the biggest names in Malian hip-hop and will bring his unique engineering and compositions to his performance. Festival goers will also be able to enjoy performances by Manolo Mairena & La Pura Vida, a New England-based salsa singer and conguero that uniquely fuses together contemporary commercial salsa to Cuban timba, old school charanga and son montuno. The festival will also feature performances by Projetu Batuku, a local, traditional Cape Verdean percussion and dance group, and Haus of Glitter Dance Company, a Providence-based group that performs Contemporary and Traditional West-African/Afrobeats, House, Vogue, Breakdance, Hip Hop, Drag, and more.

“Celebrating each other is elevating each other,” said Sidy Maiga. “I am excited to be uplifting the stories of the African Diaspora with the Providence community.”

In addition to the Sunday lineup, Smiley also announced more opportunities during the PVDFest weekend, including Friday night activations for Downtown businesses. Businesses may now apply for a Special Event permit to host block parties and activate parking lots during PVDFest on Friday, September 8. Applications will be accepted now through August 7 and permits will be granted to businesses under public safety guidelines. The permit allows businesses to remain open until 2AM, with music shut off by 1AM.

“Whether it’s throwing a block party, coming to enjoy the exciting line up of award-winning and local artists that we have curated, or celebrating Providence in a new way, this festival is about uplifting our community, and making it shine,” said Director of Arts, Culture and Tourism Joe Wilson Jr. “I encourage everyone to make plans to be here on September 8th, 9th, and 10th.”

PVDFest is made possible in large part by the generous sponsors who continue to support Providence’s creative culture year-round, including the Providence Tourism Council, RI Commerce, The Boston Globe Rhode Island, Waste Management, Breeze Airways, ProvPort, Waterson Terminal Services LLC, WPRI, iHeart Media, Delta Dental, Dimeo Construction Company, Rhode Island Energy, RISD, Amica, Fidelity Investments, Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, Cornish Associates, Evolis, First Bristol Corporation/Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites, Johnson & Wales University, The Foundry, PLDO Strategies, Withum, Verizon, South Street Landing Parking Garage, AARP Rhode Island, Bird Rides, Half Street Group, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Providence Monthly, Public’s Radio, Regency Plaza/Chestnut Hill Realty, RI Monthly, RIPTA. In addition to sponsors, PVDFest relies on the contributions of the hard-working volunteers to make the event a memorable experience for everyone. If you can volunteer for a few hours or a whole day, please sign up here.

More information about PVDFest will be released in the coming weeks leading up to the waterfront celebration. For more information about PVDFest, please visit and follow the festival on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Mayor Brett P. Smiley, the City’s Arts, Culture, Tourism, and Producing Partner FirstWorks will once again host PVDFest, Providence’s signature outdoor arts festival, September 8-10. This year’s festival will bring people from both sides of the Providence River to celebrate what has repeatedly garnered Providence its reputation as the Creative Capital— our artists. We will host three days of musical performances, public art, good eats and curated spectacles on the waterfront and together build community around the things that make our city unique.

Sidy Maiga
Sidy Maiga is a Djembe Master from Mali. As a teenager, he apprenticed under some of Mali’s most renowned Master Drummers. Sidy has been an active member of the local music scene, playing not only traditional Malian music, but also a fusion of Malian music with Latin, Blues, and Brazilian. His love for sharing his music and culture with the community inspired him to begin Afrika Nyaga, a West Africa Dance and Drum Festival. This festival brings together both local and international musicians and dancers to perform across Rhode Island. Maiga has received the MacColl-Johnson Fellowship (2012), the RISCA Folk Arts Fellowship (2012and 2022). Sidy has performed on stages with many international artists. Sidy has released two albums, Maliden (2011) and Africa United (2014), which features musicians from across the world. He’s now recording his third album. Maiga has since pushed his craft further by completing his degree at Berklee College of Music (2020), where he studied music production, business, and composition. Sidy’s djembe that he had been playing for over 20 years is currently being displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. For more information visit

Oumou Sangaré
Since the release of her debut album Moussoulou in 1989, there has been no respite for the Malian singer Oumou Sangaré. Notable waymarks on her rich and fruitful journey include some of the most definitive recordings in the history of contemporary African music, all released on the World Circuit label: Ko Sira in 1993, Worotan in 1996 and Seya in 2009 (the latter nominated for a Grammy® in the Best World Music Album category). Sangaré won a Grammy® in 2011 for Imagine in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category, alongside Herbie Hancock, Pink, India Arie, Seal, Konono Nº1 and Jeff Beck. Timbuktu, the first release on her own Oumsang label, is the latest act in this unparalleled musical epic. It consecrates an artist who rose from the poor neighborhoods of Bamako to become a global superstar and universally admired feminist icon. With the powerful aura of a Grace Jones and a Black transgressive icon par excellence, Sangaré has long since broken through the barriers that separate continents and musical styles.

Wunmi’s first professional gig was the solo dancer for the musical phenomenon known as Soul II Soul—her early association with the band solidly established their iconic presence. She toured with WOMAD in UK and Japan as a Solo dancer. Toured the world as Ornette Coleman’s dancer/muse. As a vocalist, she toured the US and the UK with the legendary Roy Ayers, and it is with Roy Ayers that she earned her first songwriting credits. She then toured much of the world on club dates with her newly garnered attention as a diva of underground house. Wunmi’s early recordings were as featured artist on the tracks of some of House music’s reigning producers. Masters at Work, Osunlade, Bugz in the Attic, Pasta Boys—through her reworks of Fela Kuti tracks ‘Expensive Sh*t’ and ‘Zombie’, Wunmi would become a major catalyst in bringing Afro beat and the work of Fela Kuti into the mainstream in America, contributing to such projects as Red Hot and Riot, and New York’s epic Jump n Funk parties. For more information visit:

Master Soumy
Master Soumy, whose real name is Ismaïla Doucouré, began exploring his music talents while he was still a kid in 1996 by founding MEGA BEST with friends. He soon became one of the biggest names in the Malian hip-hop movement. The originality of his texts and commitment to justice gave Master Soumy the status of being an accessible rapper to his fans. In addition to being a recognized artist with multiple albums, Master Soumy is also an engineer of sound and a composer who holds a Masters in Business Law from the University of Mali. He has earned numerous awards and distinctions and was decorated with the medal of national merit with bee effigy by the Malian State in September 2016 for his civic engagement through music.

Manolo Mairena & La Pura Vida
Manolo Mairena is a New England based salsa singer and conguero who originally hails from Costa Rica. He counts Oscar D’Leon, Orquesta Reve, and Maraca among his favorite artists. Recently released his album Mi Oportunidad, which features his full potential as a singer. Mairena is active in the Boston scene, having played with La Clave Secreta, Mango Blue, Balaton, and other leading latin and latin jazz groups in the area. His styles has different influences, from straight up contemporary commercial salsa to Cuban timba, from old school charanga to son montuno.
More info here:

Projetu Batuku
Projetu Batuku is a traditional Cape Verdean group that has been promoting Cape Verdean culture and heritage throughout New England. They are a local percussion and dance group.

Haus of Glitter Dance Company
The Haus of Glitter Dance Company (based in Providence, RI) works, through movement and choreography, to shift the energetic center of the universe towards Queer Feminist BIPOC Liberation. In the work we share and co-create with audiences, we strive to embody ancestral liberation, healing and love in every step and every breath of our creative process and pedagogy. Our choreography aims to reach beyond the stage and into the streets; into our homes; into our institutions; into our hearts.

At the intersection of Queer-Affirming Feminist BIPoC cultural preservation + spacekeeping, historical intervention, social practice, concert dance, public spectacle, immersive interdisciplinary performance theatre, and protest/performance art, The Haus of Glitter Dance Company primarily performs Contemporary and Traditional West-African/Afrobeats, House, Vogue, Breakdance, Hip Hop, Drag, Theatre of the Oppressed, and loves collaborating with musicians, dancers, installation artists, performance artists, makers, multimedia artists, historians, and activist communities.

The Haus of Glitter Dance Company is a BIPOC affinity space and is also the leadership team for The Haus of Glitter Performance Lab, our current physical location + collective of performance artists. For more Information visit:

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