Honestly, we’ll tell you this now: if you don’t enjoy Africa Oyé, you should take a long, hard look at yourself.
For us, the annual weekend of African music and culture signals that most precious time of year: the start of summer. It’s the jewel in the crown of Liverpool’s ever-expanding calendar of brilliant free events, a constant source of good vibes, and also celebrates its 20th birthday this year. And yes, it’s set to party in style, with typically excellent music. Here’s four must-see bands playing across the weekend that you’d be foolish to miss:
Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra (8.10pm, Saturday)
Formerly a member of the legendary Egypt 80 and Positive Force bands, Fela Kuti’s mate Dele Sosimi has put together this Afrobeat superband that veers between joyous African pop, bootyshaking funk and spaced-out jazz. It’s slightly mad, and very brilliant.
Jaliba Kuyateh (5.45pm, Sunday)
Heading to Oyé from the Gambia, Kuyateh takes the beautiful, chiming sounds of the Kora (y’know, that instrument that looks impossible to play) and weaves it into euphoric, shuffling blues-pop.
Yaaba Funk (6.25pm, Saturday)
Straight outta Brixton, this UK collective’s buzzing beats and parping horns shows that even the Brits can do soulful, expressive, dancefloor-friendly Afropop.
Samba Mapangala & Orchestre Virunga (4.05pm, Sunday)
Previously from the Democratic Republic of Congo and now living in the US, Samba Mapangala not only has the coolest name we’ve ever heard (listen Mum, why couldn’t you have thought of ‘Samba’?) but also makes some of the coolest music. Vibrant Hi-life with trademark jittery guitars and skittering drums, this one’s going to be the perfect soundtrack to celebrate Oyé’s landmark birthday. See you there.
23rd & 24th June, 12.30pm – 9.30pm
Sefton Park, Liverpool