Young African and UK musicians unite for ‘Arts in Activism' project

A new international youth music project, dubbed ‘SA to UK: Arts in Activism’ will be showcased in the UK later this month as part of the Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF).

Arts in Activism recording session. Photo:
Arts in Activism recording session. Photo:

Presented by Africa Oyé in conjuction with Nothin' But The Music, the collaborative project features young artists from the UK and South Africa. It centres on the work of two young Liverpool artists, soul singer Roxanne L. Jones and rapper Merki Waters, who during a recent trip to South Africa collaborated with DRC-born singer-songwriter Tresor and jazz vocalist Ncebakazi Yeko.

The collaborative recording by this cross-continential ‘supergroup’ led to a brand new EP that combines the individuals' unique sounds and explores their shared experiences surrounding themes such as activism, struggle and identity. The EP itself has been produced by acclaimed Liverpool-based songwriter KOF.

Merki Waters, who performed at Africa Oyé 2015, said: “The journey that all of us have been on in the last week is something that we won’t forget. It was so inspiring and it took us no time to hit it off and make music that I hope will speak to many people in both our countries. There may be many barriers in life, but music can help break them down and art has always been a feared and powerful weapon in activism.”

The album will be launched on Sunday 30 August at District club in Liverpool, where the group will perform the EP in its entirety. Special guest performers on the evening will be BBC Radio 1Xtra favourite Silvastone, Cape Town-born, UK-based DJ Esa Williams and KOF, along with the voices of South Africa-based musicians Sikholiwe ‘Shaimag’ Genge and Siphokazi. The event will be hosted by BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Ace.

The event starts at 7:30pm and is free to the public, thanks to a partnership between the LIMF, the Steve Biko Housing Association (Liverpool) and the Steve Biko Foundation (South Africa). The group will also perform earlier that day at 1pm on the LIMF Academy Stage at Sefton Park.

For more details about the project, visit the Arts In Activism website or the LIMF website.


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