One of the biggest and oldest African (and Caribbean) music festivals in Europe, Africa Oyé recently added a host of fresh talent to the line-up for this year's 24th edition, taking place on 18 and 19 June at Sefton Park in Liverpool, UK.
As part of its 'Oyé Introduces' initiative for this year's event, the festival will host locally-based African acts Rimka and Mamadou & The Super Libidor Band. 'Oyé Introduces' was introduced in 2015 as a way to showcase emerging acts from the UK (with a focus on the North West of the country) alongside the festival's internationally-acclaimed line up.
Formed in 2015, Rimka is a percussion-driven band that plays a rare style of music developed in Liverpool but rooted in Senegalese heritage: a unique blend of Afro-jazz, mbalax and the mesmerising 'Sabar beats' of world renowned Karim Mbaye.
Mamadou & The Super Libidor Band are fronted by Mamadou Diaw, a singer, composer and master drummer from Senegal. Their music fuses jazz, funk and Senegalese mbalax. Before moving to Europe in 1996, Mamadou toured Africa extensively as percussionist and drummer with some of West Africa's most popular musicians of the day.
Also on this year's 'Oyé Introduces' line-up will be two Afrocentric British acts: solo performer XamVolo (real name Sam Folorunsho), who has infused the Liverpool music scene with his unique and enigmatic take on jazz and soul since moving to the city in 2012, as well as London-based, Jamaica-raised reggae songstress Sherii Ven Dyer.
These exciting acts will join established artists Akala, who has emerged from London’s hip-hop underground to become one of the leaders of a new British artistic renaissance (and who performed in Ethiopia earlier this year); Haitian-born guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Wesli; Belgium-based Baloji (‘sorcerer’ in Swahili), an acclaimed artist from DR Congo; and Cape Verde's Bilan.
Other artists already confirmed to perform at Africa Oyé this year are Gambia’s kora pioneer Sona Jobarteh, Madagascar’s Damily; and Jamaican star Randy Valentine, who were announced in April. Up-and-coming Tanzanian rumba group Ifa Band, DR Congo’s genre-bending Mbongwana Star and Ghanaian highlife legend Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band were the first acts to be confirmed for this year's event.
In the mix between the live acts, meanwhile, will be two prominent African DJs based in the UK: DJ Edu from Kenya and Esa Williams from South Africa.
The main stage acts will also be complemented by the popular ‘Oyé Village’, featuring an array of foods from across the globe, traders, dance classes and workshops in the Active Zone, as well as kids entertainment to keep Sefton Park buzzing throughout the festival weekend. For more information visit the festival website.