Events

Recap: United Sounds Of Africa


One often loses themselves in the vastness of Nigerian music. The dialects, the Pidgin, and the culture can be a bit overwhelming for non-Nigerians and some Nigerians alike. Perhaps the best way to venture into this new globally-embraced aesthetic is to sample of some of their best, or just most popular, music. The United Sounds of Africa (USA) tour was that opportunity to test out the flavors of the Afro Beat, Pop, and Hip Hop sounds of Nigeria.

The USA tour hit New York’s Irving Plaza on August 7, 2012 and was a great look into what so many Nigerians have invested so much pride in, and why they dominate in the African music movement at the moment. Despite some disorganization and a half-baked attempt to rival mainstream American hip hop's misogyny (two women were brought on stage and acted provacatively during Ice Prince’s set), the show pretty much delivered.

The variety of music from Afrobeat, to Afro Soul, to a strong influence of traditional African instruments encompassed by the opening acts was refreshing. The big names of the night, Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, and of course Tuface (2Face), also delivered. Jesse Jagz’s incredible, raw energy married with this well-blended African and House-heavy production was a salty sweet treat. Ice Prince followed with a more polished, crowd interactive experience, shelling out the hits so many of his audience have sweated to in various African parties around the world.

Tuface, however, took the night. His live band, numerous hits, energy and sincerity came together to make a world class performance regardless of the thinning crowd that remained by the time he hit the stage so late into the night.

Above all, the evening was a wonderful excuse to network with like-minded young African people. Between each set, what could have been an annoyingly long break actually turned into that awesome moment when you realize the guy next to you is also a writer, designer, musician, or your next boyfriend. These types of events are the future of Afropolitan art, culture and community.

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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