The lineup for the seventh annual Africa Now! show, presented by the World Music Institute and the Apollo Theater has just been announced, and the theme for this year is dancehall.
Jamaican music has always found a ready audience in Africa—check out this account of Bob Marley playing for a newly independent Zimbabwe. It’s also where artists are always ready to put their own spin on what they hear. This year’s roster features two dancehall artists from Nigeria, Patoranking and Seyi Shay, and Buffalo Souljah from Zimbabwe, all bringing their own influences and style to the fairly elastic genre. Local Afrobeat revivalists Kaleta and Super Yamba Band round out the program.
Of the announced artists, Patoranking seems poised for a state-side breakout after being featured on the Major Lazer track “Particula” in 2017—the song has racked up more than 53 million plays on Spotify. But as the success of Africa Now! alumni like Bombino and Jojo Abot indicates, the show raises the profile of all of its performers.
Young Prince will host the show on Sat., April 13 at 8 p.m., and Young Paris is playing the after-party at 11 p.m. On Fri., April 12, the night before the show—Africa Now! Eve, I suppose—Afrobeat composer Tosin plays at the Apollo Music Café with reggae singer Allinor. There will also be free screenings of two musically focused documentaries, Martha and Niki, about a hip-hop dance duo, and I Love Kuduro, a history of the electronic dance music forged during the Angolan civil war.