Events

Vanessa Mdee and Jojo Abot Added to Sauti Sol’s NYC Show

Okayafrica presents Sauti Sol live at Highline Ballroom in New York City with Vanessa Mdee and Jojo Abot.

East Africa’s Africa’s biggest band officially kicks off their 2016 U.S. tour this Sunday in New York City. Okayafrica is presenting Sauti Sol, the celebrated Kenyan afro-pop outfit, for one night only at NYC’s Highline Ballroom.


What’s more, Vanessa Mdee and Jojo Abot have just been added to the show.

After starting off as the first-ever Tanzanian MTV VJ, Mdee has risen to become one of the most popular recording artists on the continent. She's behind such hits as "Niroge," "Hawajui," "Never Ever," and the K.O-featuring "Nobody But Me."

Dividing her time between Accra, Copenhagen and New York City, the Ghanaian-born Abot should be a familiar face to Okayafrica readers. Most recently, the singer has been touring with Ms. Lauryn Hill on the Diaspora Calling tour.

Sauti Sol are coming off the release of their long-awaited third album, Live and Die In Afrika, which features huge singles like “Sura Yako,” “Nishike” and “Kuliko Jana,” and was one of our favorite releases of 2015.

The album climbed the Kenyan charts and received global attention—even President Obama was filmed dancing to “Sura Yako.” Last Saturday, they took home Best Group at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards in Johannesburg.

Now, the four-piece group—comprised of Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Austin Chimano, Polycarp Otieno and Savara Mudigi—are bringing their pop blend of soulful vocal harmonies and Kenyan rhythms to NYC as part of a U.S. tour which also includes stops in Seattle (November 3), Minneapolis (November 4), D.C. (November 5), Raleigh (November 11) and Dallas (November 12).

Join us for a Facebook live chat with Sauti Sol, Friday, October 28th at 5pm EST.

Buy tickets to Okayafrica presents Sauti Sol with Vanessa Mdee and Jojo Abot at Highline Ballroom in New York City on Sunday, October 30.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Interview: JAE5 Is Crafting London's Distinct Diasporic Sound

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