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Female power-groups lead the way at Africa Oyé this summer

This summer, female power groups are leading the way as Africa Oyé has announced two amazing female duos that will perform at the festival in June.

After breaking attendance records the previous year, the largest celebration of African and Caribbean music and culture in the country is coming back to Liverpool’s Sefton Park in 2024. Taking over one of the most charming green areas in the city, the free festival promises two jam-packed days of live music, dancing, workshops, DJ stages, food vendors, traders, and more.

The Africa Oyé Festival began as a series of performances in the city centre more than thirty years ago. Since then, it has grown into one of Liverpool’s most popular annual events, drawing performers and spectators from all over the world. This most recent announcement demonstrates that the event still features fresh and exciting African talent thirty years later.

Just announced for the main stage line-up are Senegalese electronic rising stars Def MaMa Def alongside Tanzanian folk-fusion singers, The Zawose Queens.

Female power-groups lead the way at Africa Oyé this summer
ZieZie performing at Africa Oyé 2023 (Photo: Mark McNulty)

With spirit and fire in their music, The Zawose Queens bring the vibrations of their ancestors to their performance through traditional instruments – soaring chizeze fiddle, buzzing illimba thumb piano, ngoma drums that chatter and thunder – and voices that go deep, high and ‘out there’.

With a deep connection to nature, ceremony and ritual, The Zawose Queens unique dance-inspired fusion and blend of organic, harmonic and contemporary electronics are sure to light up Sefton Park on the festival weekend. Their lyrics – in their native kigogo – tell of their passion for music, the wonders of life, and their pride in environment – all grounded in their East African Roots.

Pendo and Leah Zawose showcase the fluid polyrhythms and rapturous polyphonic singing of the Gogo (aka Wagogo) people of the arid, hilly Dodoma region of Central Tanzania. The most famous exponent of this musical tradition is the late, great Dr Hukwe Zawose – Pendo’s father and Leah’s grandfather!

Female power-groups lead the way at Africa Oyé this summer
The Zawose Queens (Photo: Michael Mbwambo)

Def MaMa DeF are a celebration of the musical richness of Senegal, imbued with Afrobeats, hip hop and electronic sounds. Inspired by the infinite rhythms and cultures of the continent, they naturally project a powerful pan-African futuristic vision on the international soundstage.

Mama Victory is the ‘lioness’ of the duo, with 20 years of experience in the urban music scene, renowned for her energy and commitment to defending social values within her lyrics. She exudes unparalleled power in each of her performances.

A former member of the Rafa Group, singer of the famous group Daara J Family, and one of the most requested R&B voices in Senegal, Defa is the ‘diva’ of the duo – with her seductive acting and golden voice.

When the two come together, Def MaMa DeF is a special encounter; lyrics written under the stars of Senegal where the talents of two powerful women combine, with choreography influenced by the Mbalax style, the rhythm and dance of Senegal.

Female power-groups lead the way at Africa Oyé this summer
Def MaMa DeF

Already announced for the festival this summer, the powerful and creative force of Les Amazones d’Afrique will close proceedings on Saturday 22nd June, whilst Julian Marley, fresh from his Grammy win for Best Reggae Album this February, tops the bill on Sunday with his band, The Uprising.

Oyé’s Artistic Director, Paul Duhaney said of the announcement: 

“We were blown away by Def MaMa Def when myself and the team saw them perform at WOMEX last year; one of those acts that we just knew would take Sefton Park by storm. And it’s been too long since we welcomed an act from Tanzania, so when The Zawose Queens were presented to us we jumped at the chance to bring a duo with such a unique sound to the festival.”

This year Africa Oyé is giving the next generation of event industry professionals an opportunity to work on the UK’s biggest celebration of African and Caribbean music and culture.

The Liverpool institution has put out a call for those aged 18 to 24 and based in the Liverpool City Region, as it looks to recruit for a whole host of work placement roles that could be the first step into a career in the arts and cultural sector.

Crowds at Africa Oyé 2023 (Photo: Mark McNulty)

Whether it’s an office-based role helping put together the annual Africa Oyé festival; working on educational projects across local schools; producing the Africa Oyé radio show; or shadowing a variety of roles at the festival itself in June, this could be a chance to get some valuable experience with the team behind the UK’s biggest celebration of African music and culture.

If the work placements sound like something for you or someone you know, please email your CV and a short covering letter detailing what aspects of the organisation you’d like experience in, to training@africaoye.com.

More of the main stage artists will be revealed soon and the young local artists who applied to play the festival will soon find out whether they made it onto this year’s Oyé Introduces programme, which sees up-and-coming North West talent showcased on the line-up alongside the international heavyweights. Oyé’s ethos of being ‘free and open to all’ also means that the popular Access Tent, on-stage British Sign Language translators and the Accessible Viewing Platform will all return for this year’s festival.

The Oyé Active Zone on site will once again be hosted by Liverpool’s world dance charity Movema, and audiences can expect the usual array of multi-arts workshops across the whole weekend, for all ages and abilities. The increasingly-popular DJ stages Trenchtown and Freetown are also confirmed to return with a line-up of local selectors and MCs to be announced later in the spring.

This year’s Africa Oyé festival will take place on June 22nd and 23rd 2024, in Liverpool’s Sefton Park from 12:30pm til 9:30pm both days and entrance is FREE.


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