Africa Oyé festival returns to Liverpool’s Sefton Park on 18th and 19th June, following a two-year hiatus brought on by the pandemic. It marks a special return as the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Beginning in 1992 as a series of gigs in the city centre, Africa Oyé has evolved into one of Liverpool’s most beloved annual events, attracting artists and attendees from across the globe.
The festival will see one of Merseyside’s most beautiful green spaces filled with the music and culture of Africa, the Caribbean and the diaspora, for two free days of live music, DJs and dance, as well as workshops, food stalls and a range of traders in the Oyé Village.
Oumou Sangaré, Fuse ODG and Eek-A-Mouse will top the bill at this year’s free celebration of African and Caribbean culture in Liverpool, along with a host of other acclaimed acts appearing on the line-up.
The Grammy Award-winning Oumou Sangaré was just 21 when her first album, Moussoulu, with its groundbreaking songs championing female empowerment and condemning inequality and polygamy, rocketed her to national stardom in her home country of Mali in 1989.
Since then she has become internationally recognised as one of Africa’s greatest voices, performing at prestigious venues and festivals around the world, receiving honours and awards and releasing a string of acclaimed albums. Her music is contemporary yet stays true to her musical roots of Wassoulou – a historical region south of the Niger River, where the music descends from age-old traditional song.
British-Ghanaian superstar Fuse ODG made his name in the London rap scene after growing up in the UK capital. Born Nana Richard Abiona, the producer and artist has been a pioneer of the rise of Afrobeats across the world, as well as an active influence in helping young people in his local communities realise their musical aspirations through a mobile studio. Fuse will be bringing a full live performance to Oyé and it’s not to be missed!
Eek-A-Mouse became a household name in Jamaica in the late 70s and early 80s having invented a whole new vocal style, sing-jay, flooding the airwaves with his catch phrases and going on to become a respected toaster. His set at Oyé will see him backed by British reggae rhythm section and production team, Mafia & Fluxy.
The eclectic line-up for this year’s festival also includes the return of DR Congo’s Kanda Bongo Man, who previously played Oyé back in 2009 and 2003; Cape Verdean singer-songwriter, Elida Almeida; one of Guinea-Bissau’s most influential bands, Tabanka Djaz; the Ghanian modern highlife stars, Santrofi; French-Cameroonian songstress, Valérie Ékoumé; and Congolese electro music ambassador, Kizab.
DJs, Kenyan star DJ Edu (BBC 1Xtra) and UK-based Emily Dust will also return to the Oyé main stage. A host of the region’s finest Afro-centric DJs will showcase their sounds across the wider festival site.
Africa Oyé is also an amazing platform for local artists to be seen and heard. Festival favourites, Staged Kaos return to the Oyé stage to kick off festivities on the Saturday, with a special performance to mark Oyé’s 30th anniversary.
Kaos produce fun inclusive educational workshops with a focus on Black history, female empowerment and social issues. Their weekly youth theatre based in Toxteth caters for children aged 3-13 and looks to inspire positive development through performing arts, with a focus on creative growth, developing confidence and social awareness.
Representing ‘Introduces’ on the Saturday is Nazeem, a prolific singer-songwriter, guitarist and peace ambassador, who is also the founding director of Dole Ndawi, an NGO engaging directly with young people to foster their development and increase resilience faced by Gambian youth. Nazeem’s style of music reflects his roots and culture – influenced by a 2-year residency in Senegal – and is an infectious blend of Afro Pop, Zouk, Reggae, Dancehall and Mbalax.
Opening the main stage music programme on the Sunday of the festival is Liverpool Neo-Jazz Singer-Songwriter, Ni Maxine. Growing up on MTV Base and cassette mixtapes made by her mum, Ni listened to everything from gospel and rare groove through to funk and R&B from a young age. From writing songs in the car with her brother and sister, drumming on the back of headrests beatboxing and singing, through to listening to the likes of Herbie Hancock and Fela Kuti on Jazz FM. Over the past year, Ni has been working on a body of music which explores themes of home, identity, self-esteem and belonging. With ‘a sense of duty to reflect the times’, Ni Maxine presents the story of a black woman navigating today’s world.
DJ 2Kind and the L100 Cypher will make their main stage debut on the Sunday of the festival this year, following an acclaimed showing at Africa Oyé’s recent Hip Hop Showcase the Philharmonic Hall earlier this year.
2Kind is a Liverpool based DJ who started his musical journey alongside Liverpool Urban DJ Collective ‘Lyrical Compact. With DJ Olabean and D Fresh he spent 10 years performing at venues across the UK, promoting the likes of ‘Players Ball’ and ‘BOUNCE’, which brought top quality artists to his hometown of Liverpool for the first time. His KCC Live radio show, The L100, is the first ever urban radio show to showcase solely Liverpool and Merseyside artists. ‘The L100 Cypher’ concept has seen 2Kind’s collective of artists share the stage with artists such as Redman & Method Man, Mobb Deep, DJ Premier, Jeru the Damaja & KRS One.
Oyé Village & Active Zone DJs
The festival will also feature food stalls and a range of traders in the Oyé Village. Plus, the Oyé Active Zone provides festival-goers with free workshops across the whole weekend, suitable for all ages, while the ever-popular DJ stages Trenchtown and Freetown are returning.
Established in 2012, Trenchtown was the festival’s inaugural dedicated DJ stage. At the far end of the park, Trenchtown is soundtracked by some of the country’s top Afro-centric DJs as well as home-grown selectors playing music from across the African diaspora; dub, reggae, ska, Afrobeat, house and much more.
Trenchtown also features the original Oyé Inn, their merchandise stall, donation station, and a comfortable seating area ideal for chilling out. For those feeling more active, there will also be plenty of space for dancing the weekend away!
This year at Trenchtown, along with some returning Oyé favorites, they welcome a host of new faces, including Lucy Grey, Simma, King Surman Sound, and Audio Farm resident, Silent Selector. An eclectic day of African sounds is planned for Saturday, with a reggae-leaning lineup on Sunday.
Now in its third year at Oye, Freetown is back for 2022, soundtracking our second bar. Freetown will be hosting a wealth of DJs playing Afrobeat, reggae, dub, funk, soul, hiphop and jazz. With a seating area ideal for chilling out and a dancefloor for those feeling more like moving, be sure to pay a visit.
They’re also very happy to be welcoming new acts to Freetown for 2022, with Oye debuts for Papu Raf, Anti Social Jazz Club and SoulfulTiz, along with a host of familiar faces, including No Fakin’, Subcora, Chris McBride, Melodic Distraction and many more.
Africa Oyé will take place on June 18th and 19th 2022, in Liverpool’s Sefton Park from 12:30pm til 9:30pm both days and entrance is FREE. For more information visit https://africaoye.com/