34. Africa Festival – Programme

Friday, 26th May 2023

Photo: © Soria Castro

New Open Stage, 2:00 PM

Ludmila Mercerón

Finest Salsa from Santiago de Cuba

Ludmila Mercerón comes from a family of several famous Cuban musicians. In addition to her profession as a teacher, it is not surprising that she has been making a name for herself for more than two decades now, as a successful singer and composer in various musical projects, whether stage shows, theatre, TV or film. Her last EP “La Pastelera del Tivoli“, produced by Ronald Mente, received a nomination at the ’Independent Music Awards‘ in the category ”Best World EP Latino“ 2019.

Photo: © Daniela Meise

New Open Stage, 6:00 PM

Thabilé

Good South African Soul and Jazz

Thabilé, who was born and raised in Dlamini, a township of Soweto / Johannesburg, and has now found her home here near Stuttgart, owes her success as a singer to her mother, who encouraged her to take her first steps in a gospel and school choir at the age of eight. After “Dlamini Echo” (2018), she has just released her second strong solo album, “Read My Lips”, supported by her guitarist and music producer Steve Bimamisa.

Photo: © Alexis Mayron

Evening concert, 8:00 PM

Juanita Euka

Fine new Congolese voice from London

Born in Congo and now deeply rooted in her new home in London, the likeable singer looks back on an extraordinary résumé that has allowed her to absorb many musical styles and streams. Since her father was a diplomat, she lived in Argentina from the age of two, where she got in touch with the tango and the Spanish language. At fourteen, she moved to London. Already in Argentina, her decision to become a singer, matured. In London, the grooves of Afro-Peruvian music, Latin funk, Afrobeat and the English language gave her a further boost of influence on her beginning career as a singer. After being part of the ‘London Afrobeat Collective’ for a while, she has now released her debut album “Mabanzo”, on which she celebrates her roots and thus also the ‘Congolese Rumba’.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

Evening concert, 10:00 PM

Sona Jobarteh

The Kora Queen from The Gambia

For the third time, the “Kora Queen” Maya Sona Jobarteh will delight us with her magical kora playing. Of course, she also has new songs from her current album “Badinyaa Kumoo” in her luggage. Born in London in 1983, the cousin of Toumani Diabaté and virtuoso of this stringed instrument has meanwhile achieved worldwide fame as one of the few women who dares to play this traditionally still male-dominated instrument. Furthermore, she is giving lectures at universities about the griot tradition or travelling as an activist for the UN. Yet she has not forgotten her home country, The Gambia. With her project “The Gambia Academy”, founded in 2015 and supported by the Africa Festival Foundation, she offers young people a versatile jump-start into their future.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

New Open Stage, 11:30 AM

DJ Hi John (Jamaica)

Our legendary DJ HI John from Jamaica will present current sounds, but also the beginnings of reggae such as mento, ska and rocksteady from the Caribbean island under the motto “Old but Gold”.

Photo: © Adam Springer

New Open Stage, 8:30 PM

DJ Walty Love (Angola)

DJ Walty Love will open the DJ nights with kizomba and kuduo music from Angola and hot salsa, cumbia and other Latin music.


Saturday, 27th May 2023

Foto: © Georg Karlstetter

New Open Stage, 2:00 PM

MELANE & BAND

Modern world music from Afro-Pop to Jazz

With a lot of positive energy, the Afro-German singer with Congolese roots Melane Nkounkolo is in the middle of her exciting life. Sometimes she is a sought-after back-vocal singer, formerly with legends like Tony Allen and Manu Dibango – today with Gentleman. Or she is the centre of attention herself, for example when she performs with the formation ‘Three Fall’. “Ubuntu” and “B.L.M. Schwarze Leben Zählen” were her first songs in 2020. Most recently, she was in the studio with the well-known guitarist Colin Laroche de Feline, a.o. to pay tribute to the great Papa Wemba with her version of “Show Me The Way”.

Foto: © José Sergio Ndlate / Harmonia Lda.

New Open Stage, 5:00 PM

CEUZANY

Young Capverdian soul

Ceuzany belongs to the group of new and young female singers from Cape Verde. She was born in Senegal, her father came from the island of Fogo, her mother from Sao Vicente. At the age of two, she returned to Cape Verde with her parents. In 2008, she won an award at a gala contest for singers from the island of Fogo. After that she gained experience in the band ‘Cordas do Sol’ of Arlindo Évora and enriched the band with her wonderful voice. Now, after her first two solo albums “Nha Vida” (2014) and “Ilha d’Melodia” (2016), she herself is one of the great.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

Evening concert, 8:00 PM

Elida Almeida

Fine grooves from the Cape Verdian island Santiago

Elida Sofia Cabral Almeida, born in 1993 in Pedra Badejo on the Cape Verdean island of Santiago, grew up under simple conditions and without electricity in the mountains of her home island and the neighbour island of Maio. At seventeen, she began her singing career at a church choir. By performing smaller and larger concerts in local bars and festivals, she came to the attention of producer José da Silva, who had also worked with Cape Verdean legend Cesária Évora. With “Ora Doci Ora Margos (Sweet Times Bitter Times)”, she released her first solo album in 2014. Since then, she is considered one of the best voices of her country worldwide. With traditional grooves from Batuku, Morna or Funaná, she already thrilled the audience at the 29th International Africa Festival in 2017 when she performed at the Open Stage.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

Evening concert, 10:00 PM

Nomfusi

High energy and Afro-Soul’n Jazz from Jo’Burg

Nomfusi Gotyana had to fight her way to the top, growing up under poor circumstances in the KwaZhalele township of Port Elizabeth, altogether with her mother Kwazibani, a Sangoma. After the early death of her mother, she had to fend for herself in Cape Town. In a restaurant, where she also waited tables, she finally was discovered. From then on, things went steadily upwards for the lively bundle of energy. In 2009, she released her first album “Kwazibani”. In 2014, she played the young Miriam Makeba in the film “Mandela – the long road to freedom” and currently has a leading role in the musical “Mandela” in London. With her latest album “The Red Stoep”, she now successfully is on the road on stages all over the world and radiates pure joy and female power with her songs, which are sometimes reminiscent of the sound of Freshlyground or traditionally of the unforgettable Busi Mhlongo.

Photo: © Adam Springer

New Open Stage, 12:30 AM

DJ Walty Love (Angola)

DJ Walty Love will present with kizomba and kuduo music from Angola and hot salsa, cumbia and other Latin music.

Photo: © DJ Catu Diosis

New Open Stage, 6:30 & 8:30 PM

DJ Catu Diosis (Uganda)

Catu Diosis is a DJ, producer and journalist from Kampala, Uganda. Her DJ sets with Afrobeats, Kuduro, Soukous and Gqom bring fun and exciting energy to the dance floor. She has toured in various European countries and also conducts workshops with, among others, young aspiring female DJs in a project called “Rackless Kazi”.


Sunday, 28th May 2023

Foto: © Lionel Mandeix

New Open Stage, 2:00 PM

HERVÉ SAMB

African World Jazz from Dakar

Since his latest and fifth solo album ”BENN“ (2021), the likeable guitarist is being celebrated as one of the hottest new discoveries from his home country Senegal. With his excellent band, the artist, who resides in Paris, currently manages to mix up the francophone world jazz scene with his varied soundscape. The West African rhythms are the basis of his work, as well as hip hop and Afro-Brazilian elements, which he skillfully incorporates into his own jazzy sound. One highlight: his interpretation of John Coltrane‘s jazz classic ”Giant Steps“.

Foto: © Paul K. Munene

New Open Stage, 5:00 PM

NINA OGOT

New fine voice and music ambassador from Kenya

The former TV presenter of Radio France International and Citizen TV in Kenya, began her professional music career as a music director in the organization ”Kuruka Maisha“, which familiarizes street children with artistic projects. Since then the singer and songwriter has released several albums. With her latest work ”Dala“, which means ”Home“, she fulfilled her wish to present her songs in the African Big Band Sound. She will be on stage with her 8-man band and let us be part of her journey between traditional and modern African grooves.

Photo: © Lokua Kanza

Evening concert, 8:00 PM

Lokua Kanza & Family

Wonderful voices from Kinshasa

Since his first appearance at the 7th festival in 1998, Lokua Kanza has been one of the “old hands” of the Africa Festival. He has delighted visitors many times with his unforgettable concerts, which always focus on his wonderful voice and his acoustic guitar playing, supported by his usually small band, in the beginning with brother Didier Ekukuan and Julia Sarr, later with his daughter Maleika Lokua. Now over 60 years old, the successful artist can look back on an eventful career that has taken him from being a member of Manu Dibango’s ‘Soul Makossa Gang’ to arranging for Papa Wemba to songwriting for Miriam Makeba. With “Moko” he has released his last album in 2021. About time to present himself to the audience again with his whole musical family.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

Evening concert, 10:00 PM

Faada Freddy

A capella journey tru Afro-Soul, Jazz & RnB

Faada Freddy aka Abdoul Fatah Seck, born in Saint-Louis in 1975, grew up in quite poor circumstances. His love and passion for music carried him through the hardships of his youth in northern Senegal. In 1993, altogether with his friends N’Dongo D and Lord Aladji Man, he founded the hip hop group “Daara J”, which has been – along with “Positive Black Soul” – one of the most important African bands of the genre at the time. Since 2007, he has continued to tour successfully with this band, reduced to a duo with N’Dongo D, under the name “Daara J Family”. But the multi-faceted artist is also making a splash solo. Since his album “Gospel Journey” (2015), he has shown with his A Cappela compositions he can easily master all styles, from Afro-Soul and Pop to Jazz and RnB.

Photo: © DJ Catu Diosis

New Open Stage, 11:30 AM

DJ Catu Diosis (Uganda)

Catu Diosis is a DJ, producer and journalist from Kampala, Uganda. Her DJ sets with Afrobeats, Kuduro, Soukous and Gqom bring fun and exciting energy to the dance floor. She has toured in various European countries and also conducts workshops with, among others, young aspiring female DJs in a project called “Rackless Kazi”.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

New Open Stage, 6:30 & 8:30 PM

DJ Freegah (Nigeria)

DJ Freegah is a passionate DJ and MC who has dedicated his work to Afrobeats and Afrohouse. He was born and raised in Nigeria, where he worked with various DJs and artists from the continent.
In 2022, he was awarded as best African DJ in Germany by the African community.


Monday, 29th May 2023

Photo: © Niculai Constantinescu

Evening concert, 7:00 PM

Jaqee Nakiri

Hip Hop and Reggae with African roots

“Reggae, jazz, soul and all kinds of African sounds…these are my roots that make my heart dance and envelop me and my soul, like a protective shield…!” says Jaqee Nakiri Nalubale, who unfortunately had to flee her home country Uganda with her parents at the age of 13 to temporarily find a new home in Sweden. She now lives in Berlin with her own family, is a mother of two and has released five solo albums, most recently the wonderful work “Fly High” in 2017. After 10 years, she is returning to the Africa Festival for the second time and will be presenting her latest songs, in which she light-footedly blends the boundaries from hip hop to reggae.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

Evening concert, 9:00 PM

Marley’s Ghost

Germany’s Bob Marley tribute band number one

The repertoire of this fresh, five-piece band around singer and frontman Sebastian Sturm ranges from “Buffalo Soldier” and “Could You Be Loved” to “Is This Love” and “No Woman No Cry” from the treasure chest of the unforgotten reggae icon Bob Marley. In 2015, this idea and band was born from the previously also successful formation “Sebastian Sturm & Exile Airline”. Sebastian Sturm, born in 1980 and son of German-Indonesian parents, reminds many people of the great “King of Reggae” with his charismatic appearance and his voice. He discovered his love for classic roots reggae in his teens. Now, with his current band, he takes a bow to his great role model and will once again bring us close to Bob Marley’s spirit and musical heritage with a lot of passion.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

New Open Stage, 11:30 AM

DJ Freegah (Nigeria)

DJ Freegah is a passionate DJ and MC who has dedicated his work to Afrobeats and Afrohouse. He was born and raised in Nigeria, where he worked with various DJs and artists from the continent.
In 2022, he was awarded as best African DJ in Germany by the African community.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

New Open Stage, 6:30 & 8:30 PM

DJ Hi John (Jamaica)

Our legendary DJ HI John from Jamaica will present current sounds, but also the beginnings of reggae such as mento, ska and rocksteady from the Caribbean island under the motto “Old but Gold”.