A Grammy Award-winning Malian musician, an Afrobeats pioneer, and a reggae legend will headline The Africa Oyé Festival this summer.
The festival team are delighted to announce that 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.
Following a two-year hiatus brought on by the pandemic, the festival returns to Sefton Park on June 18th and 19th 2022 – the organisation’s 30th anniversary year.
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.
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 – who will be bringing a full live performance to Oyé – also helped found the TINA (This Is New Africa) movement that set out to encourage Africans to use their skills in rebuilding their communities and take pride in their cultural heritage.
Described as ‘ludicrous, bizarre, and uniquely original’, few artists have made such a splash in the dancehall scene more than Eek-A-Mouse. He 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, Kizaba, with more acts set to be revealed soon.
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.
The festival this year will be the main event of a year-long programme of events to celebrate Oyé’s 30th anniversary.
Paul Duhaney, Artistic Director of Africa Oyé, said: “This is a line-up worthy of a 30th anniversary year already and we’re not even done yet. Our headliners are a perfect encapsulation of the eclectic make-up of our amazing festival audience; Oumou will need no introduction to African music aficionados; Fuse is a pioneer of a genre that our younger audience always show their passion for every year at the festival; and Eek-A-Mouse is a Jamaican legend who introduced a whole new sub-genre.”
“The reaction to our festival dates announcement was truly humbling – an outpouring of love from so many people who have missed the festival these past two years. We can’t wait to welcome you all back to Liverpool in June.”
Now a cornerstone of the festival, 2022 sees The Oyé Active Zone head into its second decade of providing festival-goers with free workshops across the whole weekend, suitable for all ages, while the ever-popular DJ stages Trenchtown and Freetown are also confirmed to return.
The line-up for this year’s Oyé Introduces programme, which sees up-and-coming local talent showcased on the line-up alongside the international heavyweights, is set to be announced alongside the next wave of artists and community performances.
The Africa Oyé festival 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.
Main image Mark McNulty