Acts from Guinea, Gambia, Nigeria and beyond will descend on venues in Liverpool and Birkenhead; all in the build up to the spectacular Africa Oyé Festival in Sefton Park this June.
Coming up first is Guinean Griot, N’faly Kouyaté (pictured above) who heads to the Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room on Friday 16th February.
Best known as a core member of Afro Celt Sound System, the world-renowned master musician and multi-instrumentalist’s latest solo project is a mixture of polyphony and electronic music in symbiosis with traditional instruments. Support on the night comes from one of Liverpool and Gambia’s most exciting emerging new talents, Nazeem. Tickets available here.
A month later, the Music Room welcomes the winner of the 2023 Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition, N’famady Kouyaté.
Cardiff-based N’famady’s music is a blend of his West African heritage and Western indie, pop and jazz. His live performances, backed by an excellent band, create vibrant atmospheres, fuelled by his charisma and charm on stage.
Don’t miss the Guinean rising star in Liverpool on Saturday 23rd March. Support on the night comes from a singer-songwriter made in Portugal and now thriving in Liverpool – Rafaela. Tickets available here.
Hot off the back of multiple sell-outs across the UK, the 23-strong London African Gospel Choir will bring their wonderfully uplifting rendition of Paul Simon’s iconic Graceland album to the main room of Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall on Friday 5th April.
Colourful, uplifting and life-affirming, this astounding musical reinterpretation includes all the album’s hit singles, including ‘Diamonds on The Soles of Her Shoes’, ‘The Boy in the Bubble’, ‘Homeless’, and Graceland’s biggest smash hit ‘You Can Call Me Al’. Tickets available here.
In preparation for the free celebration of African music and culture in Sefton Park this June, there’s more entertainment on offer with no charge this year as Jali Bakary Konteh heads to The Tung Auditorium for their free Lunchtime Concert Series on Wednesday 17th April.
Jali Bakary is the grandson and son, respectively, of the legendary Gambian kora players Alhaji Bai Konte and Dembo Konte. Born into this remarkable musical lineage and steeped in Gambia’s griot tradition, Jali Bakary is the latest torchbearer for his family’s kora legacy on the world stage.
He has performed extensively throughout West and North Africa, the USA, and the Middle East, as well as in the UK and the rest of Europe (WOMAD, Roskilde Festival). In this solo kora performance, Jali Bakary brings his own personal touch and innovations to traditional songs with unique melodic and rhythmic arrangements. Tickets available here.
Rounding off this series of shows is a critically acclaimed artist who previously played the Africa Oyé festival over a decade ago, Dele Sosimi. On 28th April, Birkenhead will now get the chance to witness the legendary musician and his seven-piece Afrobeat Experience at Future Yard.
The Nigerian-British Afrobeat ambassador and educator has been at the heart of the global Afrobeat scene since relocating to the UK in December 1995. Having started his musical career with Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80 band in his teens, he then teamed up with childhood friend Fela’s son Femi Kuti (back in the late eighties) to kick start the Positive Force – touring, recording and performing worldwide. Tickets available here.
Africa Oyé’s Artistic Director, Paul Duhaney said: “Our partnerships with venues across the Liverpool City Region are an important part of our mission to bring the music of Africa and the Diaspora to as wide an audience as possible and especially reach people who might have not been to our festival before. And if you head down to any of these shows, be sure to pick up some Oyé merch at the venue as it all goes towards the charity’s running costs and of course keeping our festival free of charge.”
Africa Oyé are also celebrating a nomination for the People’s Choice Prize at the LCR Culture and Creativity Awards for the second year running, with voting open to the public now until 5pm on Friday 9th February. Cast your vote here.
For tickets to all the Africa Oyé shows announced for this year, head to africaoye.com/events.