Sona Jobarteh and Madagascar's Damily added to Africa Oyé line-up

Following the recent unveiling of the first batch of artists to perform at the annual Africa Oyé festival in the UK, three more headline acts have been revealed: Gambia’s Sona Jobarteh, Madagascar’s Damily and Jamaican Randy Valentine .

Gambia's Sona Jobarteh. Photo:
Gambia's Sona Jobarteh. Photo:

Now in its 24th year, Africa Oyé will return to Sefton Park in Liverpool between 18 and 19 June. Last year's event reportedly attracted around 80 000 festival goers, making it one of the largest festivals of its kind in the region.

Already announced for the 2016 edition are DR Congo's genre-bending Mbongwana Star, Ghanian highlife legend Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band and up-and-coming Tanzanian 'street rumba' group, Ifa Band.

Joining them at Africa Oyé will be Sona Jobarteh, the first female kora virtuoso to come from a West African griot family. Breaking away from tradition, she is a modern-day pioneer in an ancient, male-dominated hereditary tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for centuries. She has modernized Kora music by bringing a rhythmic edge to her compositions that fits her remarkable voice.


Originally from Tongobory in the south-west of Madagascar, Damily is considered as one of pioneers of tsapiky. This Malagasy musical genre traces its origins to the late 1980s when the electric guitar first arrived on the island. Like many young people of the time, Damily was seduced by the instrument and used it to play African and Malagasy traditional tunes with a modern twist, thus creating what came to be known as tsapiky. For almost three decades, Damily and his band have travelled from stage to stage, taking listeners on a journey of musical discovery.


Versatile singer, songwriter and producer Randy Valentine hails from Clarendon in Jamaica. His career has grown from strength to strength since the release of his debut mixtape Bring Back The Love in 2012 and his R-V-Lution summer tour in 2013, which saw him perform over 20 shows in 10 European countries. His second EP, Still Pushing, was released in 2015 and went straight to the top of the iTunes reggae charts – confirming that Randy is no passing sensation.

Africa Oyé's artistic director Paul Duhaney said of the latest addition to the line-up: "It's great to bring someone of Sona's stature to the festival - not only because of her talent but because of her importance to African music: being the first female professional kora player to come from a griot family. With Randy Valentine heading up the reggae portion of the line-up and Damily bringing a unique sound, I couldn't be happier!"

The main stage acts will be complemented by the usual eclectic 'Oyé Village', featuring an array of food from across the globe, traders, DJs, dance classes and workshops in the Active Zone, as well as kids entertainment. For more information, visit the festival’s website


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