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Africa Oyé will rock!

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Sarabi at Africa Oye in 2015 (Photo credit: Mark McNulty)

AFRICA OYÉ, the largest free celebration of African and Caribbean music and culture in the UK, is counting down to another summer extravaganza in Liverpool.

Having grown from humble beginnings, Africa Oyé is now one of the biggest of its kind in Europe, last year attracting crowds of over 80,000 people from all over the UK - and it’s still growing.

The pulsating festival is also a truly international event that harnesses the spirit of multiculturalism and tolerance.
It has played host to artists from nations right across Africa and also programmes music from South America and the Caribbean with salsa, soca and reggae always a popular addition to the festivities.


The vibrant and inspiring event in the picturesque surroundings of Sefton Park, proved to be an integral part of Liverpool’s celebrations as year of European Capital of Culture in 2008, and continues to add a more diverse element to the city’s already renowned rich heritage in arts, music and literature.

As well as live music, the festival features The Oyé Village – over 80 stalls selling food and drink from all over the world, arts & crafts, African clothing, hair demonstrations, face painting and much more.

The stellar event marks the 24th festival of African and Caribbean music and culture. Artistic director Paul Duhaney told The Voice: “Every year we try and build on our success and raise the standard that little bit more, and I’m confident that 2016 will be no different.

PERFORMERS: Mbongwana Star (Photo credit: Florent de La Tullaye)

“We had a record amount of applications to play the festival this year and it was a real challenge to whittle it down to the final line-up.”

Among the acts already signed up for the globally acclaimed event are DR Congo’s genre-bending Mbongwana Star, Ghanian highlife legend Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, and up-and-coming Tanzanian street rumba group, Ifa Band.
Mbongwana Star are composed of former members of Congolese stars, Staff Benda Bilili. Shedding any preconceptions of African music that an audience may have, they perform an incredible mix of electro-rock, soukous and everything in between.

Pat Thomas has been hailed as “The Golden Voice Of Africa” with his unique tone and songs that come from the Fanti and Ashanti Twi dialects of the Akan language.

His music updates the high life and the afrobeat – vocal and rhythmic music that rose during the 70’s in West Africa. He will perform at Oyé in conjunction with the Kwashibu Area Band led by multi-instrumentalist Kwame Yeboah (Cat Stevens, Patrice) and saxophonist Ben Abarbanel-Wolff (Ebo Taylor, Poets of Rhythm).

ON SALE: Traders at Oye 2015 (Photo credit: Mark McNulty)

Also in the line up is versatile singer / songwriter / producer Randy Valentine, who hails from Clarendon, Jamaica. His career has been growing from strength to strength since the release of his debut mixtape Bring Back The Love in 2012 and his R-V-LUTION SUMMER TOUR 2013 was one of the biggest ever tours for a debut reggae artist, seeing him perform over 20 shows in more than 10 different European countries.


Over the last 24 years Africa Oyé has hosted artists from countries such as South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Guinea Conakry, Senegal, Angola, Mali, Lesotho, Ghana, Somalia, Morocco, Jamaica, Dominica, Cuba, Algeria, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone Benin and Cape Verde, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad & Tobago and many more.

■ Africa Oyé will take place on June 18 - 19 in Sefton Park, from 12:30pm till 9:30pm both days. Entrance is free.

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