Date published: 05/31/2017
Publication: Troy Record
Activist artist to headline Troy’s Freedom Festival
TROY, N.Y. >> The fifth annual Freedom Festival is coming to Freedom Square in North Troy this weekend.
Hosted by the The Sanctuary for Independent Media, the Freedom Festival aims to be a spectacular outdoor celebration featuring food, music, activities and more.
This year’s performances, to take place on the square’s community art stage, will be given by headlining act Puerto Rican artist Taina Asili y la Bande Rebelde, supported by hip hop raptivist duo Katani.
Taina Asili is a Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, bandleader and activist carrying on the tradition of her ancestors, fusing past and present struggles into one soulful and defiant voice. Residing in Albany, she performs her social justice with her band, Taína Asili y la Banda Rebelde. Asili’s voice is said to exude strength of spirit, filling listeners with the fervor for freedom and inspiring audiences dance to the rhythm of rebellion. During her 20-year career of creating music for social change Asili has toured the country many times, toured Europe from Ireland to Germany, and has performed in Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. The artist has performed at many well-known festivals and venues, sharing the stage with renowned artists and activists such as Talib Kweli, Cornel West, Ursula Rucker, Sonia Sanchez, Tom Morello, Paula Cole, Jello Biafra, and The Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars.
Katani is a melodic, lyrical duo of hip hop performance raptivists committed to truth telling, self-loving and consciousness raising, based in Troy and Albany. They are devoted to unlearning the ideas that keep people in chains and sharing truth through the arts as a way to heal, connect, find joy, grow and make space for those often silenced. Their “RebelRap Floweticism” is influenced by a roster of greats such as Lady of Rage, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, Beyoncé, Billie Holiday, Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Jamila Woods, Janelle Monáe, Frank Ocean, Motown, Kemba, Kendrick Lamar and The Internet to name a few.
The free event is scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 at Freedom Square, located at 101st Street where 5th and 6th Avenues meet in North Troy. This setting is meant to be an urban cultural and spiritual oasis, just a block from the Hudson River.
The rain location is The Sanctuary for Independent Media, nearby at 3361 6th Ave. in North Troy.
The stage at Freedom Square, developed as part of the year-long Found Art in North Troy project in 2013, is dedicated to the late Alfred Z. Solomon, whose charitable trust helped fund construction. It features a massive mosaic by noted Philadelphia muralist Isaiah Zagar, completed with the help of hundreds of local volunteers over the course of several months.
Now in its fifth year, Freedom Festival is the closing event of the Spring 2017 season at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, made possible by volunteer labor, thousands of small donations and invaluable support from many organizations.
The Sanctuary for Independent Media is a community media arts center located in an historic former church in Troy. The Sanctuary hosts screening, production and performance facilities, training in media production and a meeting space for artists, activists and independent media makers of all kinds.
More information about The Sanctuary for Independent Media and its upcoming events is available at www.mediasanctuary.org.