ELEVATE's multimedia dance experience 'Sunset Carnavale' launches Sept. 25

Dj Salah Ananse curates ELEVATE's 'Sunset Carnavale' on Sunday, Sept. 25 at Ali Events at Lakewood. (Salah Ananse)

Since 2011, Atlanta’s public arts festival Elevate has brought unique and enriching experiences to our city. This year, their theme is “Open Spaces,” and events are taking place at a variety of locations on weekends through Oct. 9.

New this year is the “Sunset Carnavale,” a multimedia experience and dance party taking place at Ali Events at Lakewood this Sunday, Sept. 25. The event will feature Fabian Williams‘ artwork displayed via projection mapping, as well as carnival dancers, stilt walkers and a performance from French icon Moesha13. “Sunset Carnavale” producer DJ Salah Ananse joined “City Lights” senior producer Kim Drobes via Zoom to talk about what the festivities of “Sunset Carnavale” have to offer.

A DJ as well as a dancer, music producer and event organizer, Ananse recounted how, as a born-and-raised Atlantan, he came out of Northside High and cut his teeth in the city’s music scene during one of its most exciting periods.

“Atlanta at that time was just burgeoning with all this new energy from LaFace [Records] and L.A. and Babyface coming here and doing their label, and Dallas Austin, and people like that,” he said. “I got a chance to dance for Speech’s group, Gumbo, and did some live performances for them, and did some videos … I was around, I was doing a lot of stuff. It was fun.” 

Under Ananse’s producer belt are signature events like “Afrique Electrique,” the Prince tribute show “Love Sexy” and the annual “House in the Park” event, which this year included a guest appearance by Stacey Abrams. Ananse also created the Atlanta Weekender, a five-day festival banner under which several of his renowned parties take place. 

DJ Salah Ananse’s newest venture, “Sunset Carnavale,” leads with an art-forward presentation, with the projection-mapped art of Fabian Williams illuminating a host of performers. “They have, I think it’s … 12 projectors that map the whole room. It’s amazing,” said Ananse. “Right now [Williams] is in a futuristic period … There’s going to be lights going — almost like a futuristic carnival — and a futuristic performance artist, contortionists, stilt walkers, dancers. We have an aerialist coming. So it’s going to be cool.”

The visual spectacle of “Sunset Carnavale” will culminate in a performance and dance party accompanied by the music of the French underground artist and DJ Moesha13.

“It’s high energy dance music. It’s faster than what we’re used to here, but it’s still very accessible to what our tastes are,” said Ananse. “A lot of that music is coming out of east Africa, like Kenya and a few countries in east Africa are doing the same thing. In her performances she plays the music, she sings to it and she brings the energy.”

DJ Kemit and Ananse himself will also spin, favoring danceable beats, house, soul and hip-hop. 

“The inspiration is really just Carnaval … in Brazil, Carnaval in the West Indies and the energy that brings, and the culmination and mixing of so many different art forms at the same time — music, dance, visual arts,” said Ananse. “I wanted to do that, and I wanted to create something that was immersive for people who come, so they don’t feel like they’re standing on the outside looking in, they feel like they’re inside looking out.”

The “Sunset Carnavale” multimedia experience and dance party, presented by Elevate ATL, takes place Sept. 25 at Ali Events in Lakewood.

Tickets are free and more information are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/elevate-sunset-carnavale-tickets-418332613107.