The weekend of 17th and 18th June will see Livepool’s Sefton Park transformed into a two-day free festival, celebrating the music and culture of Africa, the Caribbean and the Diaspora.
Organisers have announced that Saturday will see dancehall and reggae artist, Tanya Stephens close proceedings, whilst the Sunday will be headlined by Seun Kuti – son of the legendary afrobeat star, Fela Kuti – with his band, Egypt 80.
Seun Kuti is the youngest son of legendary Afrobeat godfather and political activist, Fela Kuti. As well as his unprecedented influence on music across the continent, Fela was prolific in his opposition to the corruption of Nigerian government officials and the mistreatment of Nigerian citizens.
At the age of nine, Seun started performing with his father and his band, Egypt 80, and continued to do so until Fela’s untimely death in 1997.
Seun, then only 14 years old, assumed the role as leader of the band and has ever since followed the political and social ethos of his father. Along the way, he began to add his own twist to Fela’s music, digging deep into various African traditions to reflect the continent’s struggles and cultures. He has since toured the world many times as Seun Kuti & Egypt 80.
About three quarters of the current Egypt 80 line-up consists of musicians that not only played with Fela Kuti, but often were arrested and harassed for their activism, alongside the founder of the Afrobeat movement.
Tanya Stephens has been lauded as one of Jamaica’s “most gifted songwriters” (Reggae Vibes Magazine), with her compositions receiving critical acclaim and comparisons to legendary names like Bob Marley.
Refusing to be limited by labels, Stephens expresses a deliberate intention to live outside of the box creatively and socially, and she covers the widest range of topics and expressions in her music.
Lauded as one of the “top female artists in Jamaica” by The Washington Post, Tanya speaks of partying, heartbreak, social change and human rights violations with equal comfort and dexterity from previously voiceless perspectives.
Boldly exploring social issues not often addressed in her genre, Stephens has urged fellow artists to be more socially responsible, and has regularly spoken out against the objectification of women and homophobia in dancehall lyrics and the promotion of bigotry. Her song “Still Alive” deals with discrimination against people with HIV, and was used in a television campaign dealing with the issue.
Africa Oyé’s commitment to being ‘free and open to all’ also means that the Access Tent, British Sign Language on-stage translators and Access Viewing Platform will also all return for this year’s extravaganza. Those wanting to support the festival and help keep the event free and open to all and can do so by donating via africaoye.com.