Germany's Urban Africa Festival to host Mode 9 and Cassper Nyovest

Today, 27 September, the first Urban Africa Festival will open its doors, transforming two popular Cologne venues, the Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld and the Haus der Wunder, into an urban culture and lifestyle hub oriented towards the African metropolises.

Mode 9, Gasmilla, Cassper Nyovest
Mode 9, Gasmilla, Cassper Nyovest

Guests, musicians and workshop-leaders from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe will participate in the festival during the whole week.

Cassper Nyovest, Temi Dollface, Gasmilla the pioneer of the Ghanaian dance hype “Azonto”, and Mode 9, a Nigerian veteran of freestyle rap, will be supported by a local group of rappers, MCs and producers from Germany, such as Megaloh, Ghanaian Stallion and Symbiz.

An important part of the festival is the so-called “Urban Culture Academy” that deals with the motto #myFuture2020. With the current development in the African pop music market: Are there differences or similarities and which challenges will the “generation hashtag” in Africa be facing in the next couple of years? What is so special about the African metropolises for German artists? Is the new generation of artists from Africa able to make the leap into the international music market? Are the signs promising—or will they be labeled as exotics of the “world music” genre again?

These and many more questions will be discussed in presentations, workshops and panels.

Workshops & Masterclasses

The German rapper Megaloh is going to give a masterclass together with Cassper Nyovest that deals with the festival motto #myFuture2020. Lee Bass, producer of the popular kuduro band Gato Preto in Düsseldorf, is organizing a beat-lab with the Berlin-based bassmusic band Symbiz and Ghanaian Stallion.

The author Breis will hold - together with Temi Dollface from Lagos and poet Barbra Breeze from Harare the writers class. Eric Adu and his Tshakula team will introduce us into art of urban african cooking. Bella Garcia, who already got Seeed or Culcha Candela dance, will show us the newest trends from Africa with special guests like rapper Leila Akinyi or Gasmilla from Accra.

Furthermore there will be exciting lectures: Malian rapper Master Soumey and the Touareg guitarist of the group Amana, Ahmed Ag Kaedy will talk about the perspectives of young musicians after the crisis in Mali.

The fashion designer Maria McCloy from Johannesburg will talk about the influence of culture and music on fashion in Southafrica after the Apartheid. The Nigerian hip hop guru Mode 9 gives us a history lesson in terms of HipHop in Nigeria. Wanlov The Kubolor who made our wonderful video trailer, will give us an overview on the contemporary street art and music festivals in the metropolises of Africa.

All participants will also collaborate to develop a big collective stage show on Friday 30 September at “Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld”. Also on Thursday 29 September, there will be a music program at the “YUCA” Club, right next to the “Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld”. The YUCA Club will also be used as venue for the aftershow party on Friday. Wanlov the Kubolor from Ghana will host the whole festival and will guide you through the program.

The idea of this festival focused on the metropolises of Africa came from the music blog Urban Africa Club, edited by the music journalist, blogger and curator of the festival Georg Milz. The blog serves to collect portraits, stories and music videos of musicians from Africa and gives a glance of the urban artists lifes. The Urban Africa Festival is funded by the TURN fond of the Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes) and the Culture Department of the City of Cologne.

How to participate

The workshops are open and the classes free of charge. Both take place at the “Haus der Wunder” on a “first come first serve” basis. Send a short mail with “Urban Culture Academy” in the header, name of the workshop you want to participate in, and your name to info@urbanafricafestival.com. Then come to the introduction day on Tuesday between 4pm and 6pm to confirm your participation.

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