Africa Oyé brings African beats to UK this weekend

Africa Oyé, the UK’s largest free celebration of African music and culture, returns to Liverpool this weekend 20-21 June. Beginning in 1992 as a series of small gigs in the city centre, the event has gone from strength to strength, moving to its present Sefton Park home in 2002 to cope with demand. The festival is a truly international event that harnesses the spirit of multiculturalism and tolerance. It has hosted artists from across Africa and also presents music from South America and the Caribbean.

Kenyan band Sarabi will headline Africa Oyé in the UK.
Kenyan band Sarabi will headline Africa Oyé in the UK.

This year’s line-up features a host of acts from every corner of the continent. Malian stars BKO Quintet have taken songs from their country's tradition and used them as a springboard for the future. Derito (Angola) has seen success as an author, composer, singer, guitarist and music producer. Returning to Oyé after an acclaimed set in 2009, Gordon Masiala is a singer and songwriter from DR Congo. Now based in London, he plays upbeat and high-tempo soukous, rumba, salsa and Afro-Cuban music with his band NKA Musica.

Originating from Kenya, Sarabi will be performing for the first time ever in the UK, blending heavy traditional Kenyan rhythms, Benga and Western sounds. Senegalese multi-instrumentalist Diabel Cissokho will also perform after being welcomed at numerous popular European platforms such as from WOMAD, Glastonbury and London’s Barbican. Réunion Island’s Lindigo will captivate audiences with her strident vocal calls, chanted responses and complex percussion rhythms.

Also on the bill are Modou Toure (Senegal) performing with Ramon Goose (UK) in The West African Blues Project, as well as Jamacian reggae legend Frankie Paul (Jamaica). Cumbia All Stars, made up of three legendary Peruvian bands, will be bringing their delirious melodies with bold, resonant guitar lines and jerky beats to the Africa Oyé stage. Local UK talent on offer includes soul man Omar and upcoming acts Pieces of a Man and Merki Waters (UK). DJs in the mix include the BBC’s Andy Kershaw and DJ Edu, as well as Cape Town-born, UK-based Esa Williams.

Besides the music on offer, over 40 stalls will be selling the best food, drink, arts and crafts and fashion from Africa and beyond at the Oyé village, along with long-time supporter 'News From Nowhere', one of the UK's premier stockists of African music, with all the performing artists and much more on sale. Here are some highlights of last year's festival:

When everything wraps up at Sefton Park, music fans can make the short journey to the city centre, where a host of Liverpool-based promoters and venues have put together fantastic Oyé after-parties to cater to late-night needs at local clubs like Envi, The Magnet and The Kazimier, with plenty of African house, Afrobeat, reggae and other world beats on offer. More details on the official after-parties here.

Africa Oyé 2015 takes place at Sefton Park in Liverpool, UK this weekend on Saturday and Sunday between 12:30pm and 9:30pm. Admission is free on both days and no ticket is required. For more details visit the festival website.

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