Culture | One Africa Fest London Shutdown Review
ONE AFRICA MUSIC FEST
On 13th May 2017, the One Africa Music Fest descended unto London Town to showcase some of the finest talents from around the continent at the historic Wembley Arena. With the likes of Sarkodie from Ghana, Cassper Nyovest of South Africa, Tiwa Savage, Olamide, 9ice, P Square and Tekno of Nigeria, and streaming live on Tidal, One Africa Music Fest promised to be a landmark event.
Talking Drums was given press accreditation to showcase the landmark event. So of course Talking Drums had to be there and bring the event to you!
The show was amazing, catering to everyone with its cool blend of sounds from all corners of the continent. To see so many African artists in one place was truly a wonderful experience, and to witness it in a sold-out Wembley Arena was even more amazing. The show included:
Cassper Nyovest – Representing South Africa, Mr Nyovest has definitely gained a new fan! With his flow, rhymes and crowd interaction, its easy to see why he’s flying the flag for rap in South Africa and for the continent as a whole.
Awilo Longomba – This Congolese legend’s performance was simply out of this world!
Banky W – Representing Nigeria, Mr W had both hosting and performing duties to contend with. In addition to looking after the crowd and dedicating much of his performance to his new fiancee, both his solo performance and later collaboration with Sarkodie were great!
Sarkodie – Representing Ghana, Chale Sark brought the fire both literally and figuratively with this high energy performance, taking us through hits such as the smash ‘You Go Kill Me’ and uniting with the host Banky W to perform their collaboration ‘Pon Di Ting’.
Davido – Representing Nigeria, Davido’s hit single ‘If’ is undoubtedly one of the hottest songs out now, so it was only expected to bring the house down and did not disappoint. It was also great to see Nqobile, Davido’s leading lady in the video, take to the stage.
My personal highlights were performances from Sarkodie of Ghana, Cassper Nyovest of South Africa and the Legendary Congolese artist Awilo Longomba, whose sets were particularly energetic, well executed and had the crowd going crazy.
Timing – Unfortunately, the show started late, and this had a knock on effect as some acts had to cut their sets down and one of the headliners, Jidenna, was unable to perform. Also due to miscommunications that the show had ended, we left only to find that P-Square and Mr Flavour performed after that. This was very disappointing and it is imperative that going forward this does not happen again.
Press access – There was miscommunication between what access we were told as press we would receive, and what access we were actually given. This is likely a result of the PR company in charge of the press for the event, and I would definitely encourage them to be consistent with what they advertise, and to communicate ahead of time, or more effectively if anything was to change.
Nonetheless, it was a great show, and a fun time was had! I hope highlighting these issues will see One Africa go from strength to strength! It also should not distract from the fact that it was a great show, showcasing some of Africa’s biggest musical talents.
One Africa Music Fest is an excellent concept, and the fact that it was able to sell out a venue such as Wembley Arena, is testament to that.
Right now, music from Africa is taking over the world, and this is LONG overdue. People are now seeing and hearing what we have known our whole lives. So through bringing these acts to the forefront, and showcasing them in such light, I feel One Africa Fest is positively and proactively contributing to the change in narrative that has been traditionally (and usually incorrectly) held about the continent. I hope as a result of shows like this, African artists are given the platforms they deserve, that they continue to unite and in doing so provide us with more great collaborations and further fusions of sounds.
For future shows, I would love to see even more acts representing other countries. Perhaps a testament to the predominance of Nigerian artists on the international Afrobeats stage presently, the show had a noticeable prevalence of Nigerian artist (as the most populous African nation, should this be expected? After all, Naija no dey carry last!) On a serious note, going forward and to truly showcase One Africa, it would be great to see the inclusion of other artists making huge waves across the continent. These include, to name but a few: Shatta Wale, R2Bees, Eazzy, and E.L. of Ghana (the latter in my opinion, one the of the most talented and versatile yet under-rated artists out there), Diamond Platnumz, Ben Pol, Mwana Fa, Harmonize and BET Award winning Ray Vanny, all of Tanzania. This in turn will introduce them to new audiences and fans like.
It would also be great to see more legendary artists alongside Mr Awilo Longomba and 9ice, such as Youssou N’Dour of Senegal and Lebo M of South Africa.
For the event I wanted to represent different corners of the continent because ‘Sisi ni moja’, Kiswahili for ‘We are One’. Therefore the bracelets that I wore (in the image above), from left to right, are traditional bracelets from their respective countries, all purchased from local vendors during my travels – 1. Ghana 2. Tanzania and 3. South Africa. They also made for a great conversation starter about my travels and this platform! The background material is a gift from Kenya.
❤️💛 💚Africa to the 🌍!!!
THANK YOU ONE AFRICA FAMILY
I want to say a huge thank you to the whole One Africa family for giving an emerging platform like Talking Drums, the opportunity to showcase such a monumental event – the One Africa Music Fest: London Shutdown!
It is imperative that we continue to support One Africa Music Fest, and the international platform it provides African artists with! Next up is the One Africa Music Fest, NYC Return, and later in the year the show will be coming to Houston! If you are in the either city, you cannot miss it. Check out http://www.oneafricaglobal.com for more details.