Afro Roots Key West May 17-19


Afro Roots Fest Moves to Key West for 20thAnniversary Celebration May 17-19

The Studios of Key West and The Green Parrot host multi-day celebration featuring live music, lectures and workshops

Key West, FL – May 4, 2018 – After an extremely successful and well-received Monroe County debut April 28 at the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, the Afro Roots World Music Festival continues down U.S. 1 for a stop in Key West May 17 through 19, 2018. Haiti’s Papaloko and Loray Mistik and Senegal’s Morikeba Kouyate will perform at The Studios of Key West (533 Eaton St, Key West, FL 33040) on Saturday, May 19, 2018, beginning at 8 p.m.  Tickets are available here: The concert will be preceded by a free, family-friendly lecture and workshop to be delivered by Papaloko and Kouyate, also at The Studios of Key West, on Friday, May 18

Born Jude Thegenus in Port Au Prince, Papaloko is also a visual artist, and a voice for social justice and Haitian activism. His paintings are a product falling into a deep meditative state, and then allowing himself to be possessed by a spirit whose purpose is to paint strokes of life onto canvas. He at one point studied to become a Roman Catholic priest, but his artistic journey led him to music with at first the Rara band Koleksyon Kazak, and then with the vodou pop band Loray Mistik. In 1999, Papaloko founded the Jakmel Art Gallery, Cultural Center and Caribbean Backyard, a center for cultural diversity, awareness, positivity and creation in Miami.

Kouyate is a native of Senegal and an Afro Roots Fest veteran, having performed several times, most recently in Miami Beach on April 7. He is a trained Griot, meaning he maintains a tradition of West African oral history through songHis instrument of choice is the Kora, a hand-made 20-string, harp-like work of art which sounds otherworldly, and which he wields powerfully in his melodic storytelling. Click to see him in action at the festival’s 16th edition.

In addition to the concert and the workshop / lecture, Miami Cuban Tomas Diaz will perform at The Green Parrot (601 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040) during a free 21 and over kickoff event Thursday, May 17. Born in Matanzas, Cuba, Diaz is best known as a member of the Spam Allstars who is now a solo artist. He spent his teenage years captivated by the sounds of rock and roll, dreaming of a life in the United States where he would be able to express himself freely through music. He has collaborated with world-class musicians including, Bruce SpringsteenCelia CruzClarence ClemmonsPhishSnoop DoggChayanne, and Ricky Martin. His latest single is called “Esta en Ti”, which he will likely perform for music fans at The Green Parrot.

“Afro Roots Fest and Monroe County seem to be a great fit,” says Jose Elias, founder and executive director of Community Arts and Culture (CAC). “We appreciate all the love and support given to our event in Islamorada, and look forward to offering the same sort of musical and cultural exchange and experience to our friends in the Conch Republic.” Elias performed with his Cuban Son Montuno outfit Cortadito and Tropidelic / Afrogalactic funk band the Nag Champayons in Islamorada.

This 20th iteration of the festival, which is curated and by the non-profit organization CAC, features more than 50 international and local acts from all over the world, and is being held at  venues from Jupiter to Key West. Next up is the conclusion of Afro Roots Fest in Key Largo at the Murray Nelson Centeron June 2 featuring Sanba ZaoToto OmanaLos Herederos and the 305 Street Band.

Made possible with the support of the Monroe County Tourism Development Council, the Ambrosia Key West, The Studios of Key West, and The Green Parrot. For all the latest, please visit or call 305.296.0458.


Incorporated in September 2002, Community Arts and Culture, Inc. (CAC) is a Miami-based non-profit organization that fosters an appreciation and understanding of a vast assortment of arts and cultures through workshops, lectures and artistic performances in local communities for individuals of all ages and social backgrounds.

CAC also produced the A Day at the Beach Concert Series, which enjoyed a five- year run, in addition to co-producing the Roots in the Schools program, which brings music to Miami-area schools.

For more information, please visit

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Michael Mut