10 of Our Favorite Moments From One Africa Music Fest 2016 In New York City

Ahead of the London's One Africa Music Fest on Saturday (May 13th), we revisit the best moments from last year's show in NYC.

One African Music Fest 2016 was the biggest and brightest afrobeats concert ever to hit New York City—and boy did it hit. The massive showcase brought out some of African music's most recognizable performers like Wizkid, JidennaTiwa Savage and Davido— just to name a few.

In anticipation of this weekend's London version of One Africa Music Fest, which will feature many of the previous year's acts, along with P-Square, Olamide, Phyno, DJ Spinall, Efya, Cassper Nyovest, Tekno and many more—we revisit ten of the most memorable moments from last year's festival below.

1. When Jidenna's masquerader came out dancing.

Photo by Aaron Leaf.

 Turns out it was his friend...

[video width="720" height="720" mp4=""][/video]

Jidenna appeared to be having an absolute blast.

Photo by Aaron Leaf.

2. Tiwa Savage's sublime performance

The queen of Afrobeats' early performance was one of the best. Late comers missed out on a major treat, so do yourself a favor and don't be late.

Photo by Johnette Reed

Photo by Johnette Reed

3. When Swizz Beatz showed up

Swizz Beatz, who's shown himself to be quite the afrobeats enthusiast over the years, appeared during Wizkid's set. Just last week, the star producer showed Burna Boy major love during his first show in New York City.

Photo: by ohnette Reed

Photo by Johnette Reed

4. Flavour's gyrating pelvis

Watch him go.

[video width="720" height="720" mp4=""][/video]


5. Wizkid's style

His choice of headwear was top notch, and he managed to pull off a subtle wardrobe change halfway through his set.

Photo by Aaron Leaf

Photo by Aaron Leaf

6. Seun Kuti on the saxophone

The multitalented musician performed some of his father's classics. Need we say more?

Photo by Johnette Reed.

Photo by Johnette Reed

7. Davido running through his hits. 

The afrobeats star performed some of his biggest singles, like "Dami Duro" and "Gone"

Photo by Johnette Reed.

Photo by Johnette Reed.

8. Ayo Jay performing "Your Number"

The Nigerian musician had everyone singing along to his 2016 summer smash "Your Number."

Photo by Johnette Reed.

9. Banky W.'s MC Skills.

Aside from performing, the musician and actor kept the crowd laughing as the shows host. The man's got skills.

Photo by Johnette Reed.

10. The Crowd.

People came out to the show in numbers. The energy was infectious and the African styles were popping.

Photo by Aaron Leaf

Photo by Aaron Leaf

Stream the London edition of One Africa Music Fest via Tidal. The livestream starts at 7:00 p.m. (GMT) on Saturday, May 13.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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