35. Africa Festival – Music Programme

Thursday, 30th May 2024

Photo: © Fani Fazii

New Open Stage, 2:00 PM

Kandara Diebatè

Songs in tradition of the West African griots

Kandara Diebaté was born in southern Senegal, in Bignoma/Casamance. He learned to play the kora and about the magic of the griots from his father, who was also a master of this instrument. Accompanying was his training in the art of playing the Soruba drums, another typical instrument in the south of Senegal. Today, he also passes on his knowledge and skills in various workshops, when he is not on stage himself with bands such as Nomad, SAF NAM or the Orchestra of Cultures. At this year’s Africa Festival premiere he will surprise us with his own band.

New Open Stage, 6:00 PM

Moh! Kouyaté

Cool Sounds From Guinee’s Best Guitar Player

The singer, guitarist and songwriter Moh! Kouyaté, born in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, draws his musical roots from the griot caste, from which his family ancestors also come. However, he has not chosen to play the kora, but conveys his song ideas via guitar. His own style unites and combines traditional Mandinka rhythms with Afro-Blues or Afro-Funk. Cooperations with the Afrobeat legend Tony Allen, Habib Koité or the American Blues guitarist Corey Harris shaped his career. This time he will surprise us with new songs and a new ensemble.

Photo: ©
Foto: © Ndlovu Youth Choir

Evening concert, 8:00 PM

Ndlovu Youth Choir

Wonderful young voices from South Africa

The evening programme of this year’s Africa Festival anniversary starts with an extraordinary concert. For the second time, after 2019, the Ndlovu Youth Choir will be our guest. Founded in 2009 in the township of Elandsdoorn, South Africa, the choir was actually just a part in the child development program of the Ndlovu Care Group, which has made it its mission to give children from difficult social backgrounds a new perspective on life. In the meantime, the choir has become a worldwide stage sensation. From South African classics like Miriam Makeba’s “Pata Pata”, to international pop hits like Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You”, their repertoire ranges widely. This time they will also present their latest CD “Celebrate”, among others.

Photo: © Shelby Duncan

Evening concert, 10:00 PM

Fatoumata Diawara

Westafrican woman power

Probably no West African artist is as versatile as Fatoumata Diawara, who was born in Abidjan and grew up in Bamako. She can be seen as an actress in films such as “La Genèse” by Cheick Oumar Sissoko or can be admired in the children’s play “Kirikou & Karaba”. Furthermore, she does not shy away from broadening her musical horizons. With the French rock musician Matthieu Chedid, aka -M-, she recorded the album “Lamomali” (2017) and with the cult band Gorillaz she was in the studio in 2020 to support their song “Désolé” with her female voice. Her own stage concerts are an unforgettable experience every time. The fighter for the rights of African women will present songs from her latest album “London Ko” (2023), but also of course her magnificent single hit “Sowa” from 2011.

Friday, 31st May 2024

Photo: © Bugs Steffen

New Open Stage, 2:00 PM

Adjiri Odametey

World music from Ghana

Whether kora, mbira, balafon, kalimba, kpanlogo drum or of course the guitar the world musician Adjiri Odametey, born in 1963 in Ghana, masters all these instruments perfectly. He laid the foundation with his studies at the Arts Council in his hometown Accra and his first musical band experiences with the ‘Pan African Orchestra’. He sees himself as an ambassador of authentic African music, who wants to present the versatility and cosmopolitanism of his continent. Since his debut solo album “Mala” (2003) he has been managing this easily with his warm and unique voice.

New Open Stage, 5:00 PM


New High Life Power From Ghana’s Capital Accra

Santrofi is a new, young and dynamic music collective from Accra, the capital of Ghana. Bandleader Emmanuel Ofori has already plucked the bass for Ghana’s stars like Ebo Taylor or Pat Thomas in his Kwashibu Area Band. He reinterprets the popular music style of his country at the Gold Coast with his large band and gives it a fresh, exciting and urban touch. Multiple guitar sounds, horn sections and traditional rhythm passages are sometimes accompanied by Afro-funk and West African Afrobeat – music to dance to!

Photo: © Prince Gyasi
Photo: © Alan Nart

Evening concert, 8:00 PM

Las Karamba

Latin urban grooves via female power

Ahyvin (Vocals / Guiro) & Ahylin Bruno (Congas), Nati Arizu (Keyboards/Piano), Liviet Ojeda (Bass), Anggie Obin (Flute) and Rita Baulida (Percussion) are ‘Las Karamba’. In 2018, they came together in Barcelona, where they formed their unique formation. All shaped by migration and their different life stories as well as their diverse musical roots, from Spain to Cuba to South America. Shared empowerment has always been at the centre of their musical togetherness. In their songs, spiced with the rhythms of Son, Salsa, Cha Cha Cha and modern urban grooves, they give all the women of this world a voice. “La Humanitat” is the name of their latest single release. With many more songs, including from their first album “Camino Asi” (2021), we can look forward to a hot festival debut.

Photo: © Lio Baunot

Evening concert, 10:00 PM

Mariana Ramos

The wonderful voice from the Cape Verdian Islands

Mariana Ramos is considered one of the great voices from Cape Verde, who also feels obliged to the legacy of the legendary Cesaria Evora. She was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1962. As the daughter of the guitarist of the well-known formation ‘Voz de Cabo Verde’ Toy Ramos, alias Toy de Bibia, from Cape Verde, she feels connected to the source of her ancestors and draws inspiration for her songs from the tradition of the archipelago. She combines Funana, Coladeira and Batucu rhythms boundlessly with modern styles. In the entire spectrum of her albums, such as “Morna” (2019), “Quinta” (2015) or “Suavidanca” (2011), she shows that music from her homeland can not only be melancholic, but also terrifically danceable. After her unforgettable performance at the 22nd Africa Festival in 2010, she will finally be our guest for the second time.

Saturday, 1st June 2024

Photo: © Franz Weingartner

New Open Stage, 2:00 PM

Mamadou Diabaté & Percussion Mania

Balafon and percussion fire from Burkina Faso

Mamadou Diabaté has already received several awards for his musical skills. For example, in 2012 in Mali, together with his excellent accompanying band “Percussion Mania”, with the “Grand Prix des Triangle du Balafon”. His virtuoso playing on the balafon is always at the centre of attention. In this way, he uses this extraordinary instrument to establish a connection to his Sambla culture in Burkina Faso, which is over thousands of years old. He was trained on the balafon by his father Penegue Diabaté at the age of five. In the meantime, he has recorded over 14 albums in his musical career. The most recent is „Seengwa“ (2022).

New Open Stage, 5:00 PM


Positive Roots Reggae Vibes From Germany

Jahcoustix, whose real name is Dominik Haas, has travelled a lot in his life. Born in Bonn in 1978, he spent his youth as the son of a diplomat, mostly on the African continent. At the age of 15, he discovered reggae music for himself.

After various projects with bands such as Headcornerstone, the Outsideplayers, Dubious Neighbourhood, The Evolution – Gentleman’s band or the Munich band Jamaram, we can once again look forward to seeing which band he will perform with this time at the New Open Stage.

Photo: © Bugs Steffen
Photo: © Cyrille Ame Pixels

Evening concert, 8:00 PM

Fafa Ruffino

Amazone power from Benin

After two unforgettable concerts on the Open Stage at the International Africa Festival, Ahouefa “Fafa” Ruffino will now also thrill the Africa Festival audience on the Main Stage. Born in Cotonou, the capital of Benin, with Ghanaian roots, Paris has become her current base. Encouraged by her grandmother, she began training her expressive jazzy voice as a child. In the meantime, she is appreciated as a singing partner of various artists such as Faada Freddy, Lokua Kanza or the Nigerian singer Flavour. Furthermore, she forms the core of the music collective “Les Amazones D’Afrique” with Rokia Kone, Kandia Guira, Niaru and Mamani Keita. Women Power is the order of the day when the “Amazon” takes over the stage!

Photo: © Victor Adewale

Evening concert, 10:00 PM


Afrobeat and high energy from Lagos

BANTU stands for “Brotherhood Alliance Navigating Towards Unity”. This association was founded and brought to life in 1996 by the brothers Adegoké and Abiodun Odukoyá. Now, the name is backed by Brother Ade, who has been playing excellent Afrobeat with his multi-member band from Nigeria for several years. The Afro-German artist, cosmopolitan and activist, who also founded the project ‘Brothers Keepers’ with other artists, has moved his centre of life from Cologne to the pulsating Nigerian metropolis of Lagos. Here he is active in many ways, sometimes as a musician, sometimes as a TV or radio presenter or organiser of cultural events. Afrobeat at its best and high energy is what our audience can expect. In 2007, Ade Bantu won the Africa Festival Award in recognition of his great commitment to the “Brothers Keepers Project” in the fight against daily racism in Germany.

Sunday, 2nd June 2024

Photo: © Cornelius Tometten

New Open Stage, 2:00 PM

Sarah Akuma

Afrogerman Souldfood With A Cup Of Jazz And Hiphop

Sarah Akuma, aka “Afra”, is a gifted Afro-German artist who has her centre of life in Cologne. With a lot of soul in her voice and heart, she oscillates between all styles, from pop to jazz to hip hop. Her stories and messages, as in “Mehr von Dir”, “Planlos” or her latest single release “Sag Es Laut”, she´s telling us in German. Her lyrics are thoughtful on the one hand and socially critical on the other, but always full of empowerment and optimism. We are happy to present this young, highly talented singer to the Africa Festival audience for the first time.

New Open Stage, 5:00 PM

Melchi Vepouyoum

The Young Singer And Songwriter From Cameroon

The young singer and songwriter Melchi Vepouyoum from Cameroon reminds us a bit of Lokua Kanza with his musical style. In his songs, which he sometimes performs in his mother tongue “Bamoun”, in “Camfranglais” – a mixture of English, French and various languages of his homeland – but also only in French or English, he tells of experiences in his youth, the social differences and problems of village and big city, but also of solidarity and love. We can look forward to the songs from his last two albums “Monteru” (2020) and “Femju” (2022) and be curious.

Photo: ©
Photo: © Joel Heyd

Evening concert, 7:00 PM

Ami & Wally Warning

Reggae, soul and more with Arubian flavour

Together they are unbeatable. Blind understanding and boundless love! No wonder when father and daughter pick up the guitar together and have been successful on stage for years. Born on the small ABC island in the Caribbean Aruba, Wally Warning devoted himself to music at an early age and developed his own crossover style, combining the rhythms of the Caribbean from reggae to soul. Daughter Amy, of course, was not ‘spared’ this and thus integrated and drawn into her father’s musical career at an early age. Meanwhile, she has been standing on her own musical feet for a long time, singing in English as well as in German. In 2022, she won the German Music Authors Award of the GEMA as best young musician. On this last day of the festival, they will present their new album.

Photo: © Youri Lenquette

Evening concert, 9:00 PM

Tiken Jah Fakoly

Best West African roots reggae unplugged

He is considered one of the most important voices on the African continent: Tiken Jah Fakoly, alias Doumbia Moussa Fakoly! Born in Odienné, in the north of the Ivory Coast, he had to leave in 2003 and flee into exile in Mali. There, in Bamako, he found his new home and set up his own music studio. His various excellent albums from “Mangercratie” (1996) to “Braquage De Pouvoir” (2022) have won several awards. In 2024, Tiken Jah Fakoly returns with a new album and an acoustic concert. Surrounded by traditional West African musicians, the artist revisits his 25-year repertoire, including his greatest hits. After his first appearance in 2001 at the 13th Africa Festival, this time he will celebrate his German premiere with this extraordinary programme at the 35th Africa Festival.