Africa Oyé is just a month away and we’re starting to get excited. The headliners have been announced and the rest of the line-up is being released every week to build anticipation. What we’re most excited about, however, is ‘Oyé Introduces’ – which was inaugurated in 2015 to introduce Liverpool-based acts to the festival crowd and the stage is set once again in 2016 for the chosen few to win over Sefton Park. Here, we pick out something new, something borrowed and something blue for your delectation. By Alan O’Hare.

Who says you can’t get something for nothing? Africa Oyé, the largest free celebration of African music and culture in the UK, is just a month away and once again the festival is set to be the highlight of Liverpool’s summer calendar. Sure, the usual musical, cultural and culinary delights will all be present and correct at Sefton Park – and you can find out all about the headliners and events here – but, we’re also in store for a glimpse of the future.

‘Oyé Introduces’ will once again turn the spotlight on Liverpool-based artists and 2016’s line-up has us licking our lips with anticipation. ‘Oyé Introduces’ was, well, introduced for the first time in 2015 and artists such as Pieces Of A Man and Merki Waters made big impressions on the thousands in the park. This year, a trio of artists are performing who we feel could steal the show.

Find out all about the likes of Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band (Ghana), Mbongwana Star (DR Congo), Sona Jobarteh (Gambia), Akala (UK) and Randy Valentine (Jamaica) here, but we’re going to focus on the something new, something borrowed and something blue that this most exciting of festivals has in store for us next month…

Xam Volo
What can be written that hasn’t already been written? This is the new boy in town when it comes to neo-soul and jazz. In town since about 2012, the Londoner has the key to any musical door he wants to open and, at just 21, has shaken up Liverpool’s music scene with a depth beyond his years. He rode in on jazzy grooves, but he’ll sail out into the whole wide world on a wave of cool wisdom. Get ahead of the trend at Oyé.

Mamadou and The Super Libidor Band
What live music is all about… that’s the best description of Mamadou and The Super Libidor Band. Their mix of funk and Senegalese mbalax will bring you to your feet and get you moving within seconds of them cranking up. Singer, composer and master drummer, Mamadou Diaw, has been exciting European audiences for over a decade now and his West African percussive style always takes centre stage… 

The perfect festival band, RIMKA will will get you jumping. An eclectic and electric mix of Afro-jazz and Sabar-beat, their complex rhythmical arrangements will hypnotise you and leave you breathless. Their unique music may have been developed here in Liverpool, but that Mbalax style is rooted in Senegal and RIMKA – led by the beats of the world-renowned Karim Mbaye – will be getting the party started in Sefton Park. Don’t miss it.

Africa Oyé, Sefton Park, Liverpool
June 18th – 19th 2016

Pic of Xam Volo by Robin Clewley