Blog September 10, 2015
Wizkid to Headline AfrikCan Celebration in New York
NOTE - Wizkid and Wiyaala will not be performing at the AfrikCan Festival this weekend. Please see the AfrikCan festival homepage for the updated line up and news. On Sept. 19-20, New York's La Marina will host the first edition of AfrikCan Celebration. The AfrikCan festival was originally scheduled for five days in Boston in July 2015, but it was cancelled by the city for questionable reasons. The new lineup is somewhat less ambitious (Oumou Sangare, Alpha Blondy, Angélique Kidjo and Black Coffee are no longer on the bill) and the festival has been shortened to a two-day "celebration" in NYC. However the lineup is still quite exciting, featuring up-and-coming artists who stretch the boundaries of African music and identity: Wizkid, born Ayodeji Balogun, has been making waves in the Nigerian pop music scene since his teenage years. Check out his recent roots-influenced single, "Ojuelegba," about the Lagos neighborhood. By the way, he made waves that reached the U.S. with the remix, featuring Drake and Skepta Jidenna recently emerged in the mainstream on Janelle Monae's Wondaland Records. Although his music fits into mainstream U.S. hip-hop and r&b (you've probably heard "Classic Man" on the radio) he is the youngest son of a Nigerian chief and anthropologist and his name means "embracing the father" in Igbo. Lira is a silky South African soul/r&b singer who has made her mark far beyond the World Music circuits. We interviewed her last year when she was in town for a show at SOB's. Young Paris and the Franco-Chadian singers Les Nubians add to the eclectic mix, as does Ghanaian punkrocker Osekre. Wiyaala and Ayo bring a transnational approach to singer-songwriter soul.