Yemi Alade (middle, front row) and her dance crew in her latest music video 'Woman of Steel'/ Photo: Yemi Alade/Facebook

Germany: Yemi Alade, Orchestra Baobab, Agoo perform at music festival

The 23rd edition of the African Music Festival takes place from 4 – 6 August 2023 at the Schlossplatz in the south-western German town of Emmendingen. Under the motto “Tribute to Mama Africa”, Afrikaba Kulturkreis e.V. has once again put together an exciting festival programme.

The various African-origin musical styles and cultures, including salsa, reggae and Afro world, will be represented at the 3-day fiesta, which will feature global stars such as Yemi Alade of Nigeria, Orchestra Baobab of Senegal and the Agoo from Ghana.

The festival opens on Friday 4 August with Salsa and Afro-Latin American rhythms, featuring Orchestra Baobab, Yarima Blanco and Susana Schnell.

“For many years I have been watching the Orchestra Baobab and have tried to bring these great artists to Emmendingen. This year, I succeeded! I am very happy about it!” Raphael Kofi, festival founder and director, said excitedly.

Orchestra Baobab became one of the dominant African bands of the 1970s, recording 20 albums before their breakup in 1987, which occurred as a result of the increase in popularity of mbalax, a more contemporary genre of Senegalese music.

In the years following their disbandment, the recording label World Circuit released several of their albums on CD, making the band very popular among world music fans in Europe. This prompted the band to reform in 2001, which was followed by the recording of a new album, Specialist in All Styles.

The group continues to tour extensively and has released two more studio albums, Made in Dakar (2007) and Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (2017).

Orchestra Baobab, formed in 1970 in Dakar, will be bringing more than 50 years of stage experience to Emmendingen.

Saturday is Reggae Night! And in keeping with the spirit of this year’s motto “Tribute to Mama Africa”, the festival organisers have made it an all-women affair.

“This is something that has never happened before at our festival! The entire line-up on this evening consists exclusively of women!” Raphael Kofi, who succeeded in winning the absolute queens of the reggae and dancehall scene Tanya Stephens and Marcia Griffiths from Jamaica for the festival this year, proudly explained. With Treesha and Samora, two more power women with a large portion of reggae, dancehall and Afrobeats in their baggage will be on our stage in Emmendingen.

Sunday is Afro World Music Day with “The Queen of Afro-Pop” Yemi Alade from Nigeria, Äl Jawala from Emmendingen/Freiburg and Agoo, a band from Ghana, are billed to entertain festival visitors.

With four albums and many hits under her belt, Alade is one of the biggest female Afro-pop artists on the African continent, and the first among them to hit over 100 million views on YouTube.

She is an award-winning artist: In 2018 and 2019, she won the Headies Award for Best Performer and made the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list. In 2016, she won the Independent Music Award for Best Album and MTV Africa Music Award for Best Female. In 2015, she won the Nigeria Entertainment Award for Female Artist of the Year.

She has also collaborated with Angelique Kidjo, Mary J. Blige and Beyoncé and, in 2019, was featured on Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift album.

The Nigerian singer, who has performed across the globe and is reputed for breathtaking performances, will surely thrill in Emmendingen.

In addition to the musical offerings is an extensive supporting programme, including the various workshops, literary readings, a fashion show, the world bazaar, the open-air church service and the street parade, promising festival fans an unforgettable experience.

Femi Awoniyi

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