One Africa Music Fest: Rhythmic Unity of the African Diaspora

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The One Africa Music Festival broadcasted live on TayoTV and TiDAL, a monumental stage of African music in the U.S. Bringing some of the biggest names in Africa together for the first time at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York; the festival solidified summer 2016 as truly being the summer of Afrobeats

Wizkid

Wizkid

Here’s a recap of some of the biggest moments:

Hosted by Banky W, the concert officially began with Tiwa Savage who was accompanied by the esteemed CEO Dancers. As the first lady of Mavin’s Records Tiwa exceptionally represented for all African female artists. Not forgetting her right hand man, Tiwa was later joined on stage by Don Jazzy and finally closed off the show performing their hit song “Eminado” and throwing up the roc, as the newest member of Roc nation.

Tiwa Savage & Dancers

Tiwa Savage & CEO Dancers

Proving the diversity of music presented, Tanzania’s very own Diamond Platnumz brought on stage a mix of afrobeats, afropop and bongo flava. Diamond performed crowd favorites such as “Nakupenda” as well new music like “Kidogo”.

Blending afrobeats and dancehall, Ayo Jay followed on stage and performed his musical concoction “Your Number”, which only prepared the anticipated crowd for the next performer who reminded us who made the night possible.

Without Fela Kuti there would be no afrobeats. It’s no surprise that when his son Seun Kuti stepped on stage to pay tribute to his father with “Zombie”, joyful pandemonium broke out within the crowd. Bringing fourth funk, jazz, pop and traditional music, Seun took the crowd back to the founding basics!

Laolu Senbajo’s work was seen throughout the night as well. Known recently for her project on Beyonce’s lemonade, the Nigerian visual artist and musician’s stunning Yoruba marking were seen on Seun Kuti during his performance as well as on many other very lucky participants.

Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti

Seun and Laolu were not the only ones who brought aspects of raw African traditions to the stage. During his performances, Jidenna, brought on stage a Zangbeto! While performing his hit “Classic man” and his new song “Little Bit More” the voodoo guardian of the night rocked with the audience in the cross cultural experience!

Davido

Davido

Bringing the most energy of the night, Davido performed his numerous hits such as “Dami Duro” “Skelewu” and “Aye”. Davido did not come to merely play his music. Davido came to perform and without a doubt had one of the best performances of the night.

-Flavour Performing at One Africa Music Fest

Easily a fan favorite, Flavour stepped out in an all-white suit to “Ada Ada” and perhaps left every woman in the crowd mesmerized with his waist moving wishing they were his “Adamma”. Known for his heavily traditional influenced rhythmic songs, his songs “Shake” and “Ashawo” sent the crowd gyrating into a musical psychosis that one would never forget.

To end an already epic night, Wizkid came on stage with one of top Afrobeats DJ’s in the U.S, DJ Tunez. With a number of classic hits, Wizkid performed “Don’t Dull” “Caro, the number one song in the country “One” dance, as well as many others. As if that was not enough, Wizkid also brought on stage Swizz Beatz who performed “On To the Next One”. With a number of names backing him, this moment served as a reminder of his growing international audience and the dedication Wizkid has for his craft.

Banky W | Dancers

Banky W | Dancers

Although the highly anticipated Iyanya was not in attendance and Wale had to cancel due to the birth of his child earlier that day, One Africa Music Fest was phenomenal to say the least.

The most talked about moment however, was not a performance by the artists; rather it was the respect and diversity of the audience. For every single artist the audience was on their feet, cheering throughout. Regardless of the genres played, from soca to lingala, the crowd joined in and made One Africa Fest not just a festival but a celebration of all the different branches that have rooted from traditional African Music.

Wizkid x Swizz Beatz Performing at One Africa Music Fest

Through it all, Banky W took a moment and gathered the crowd together. With moving words, he held a moment of silence that reminded us all of the importance of unity. Respectively and almost instantaneously, the lights went off and everyone’s phone flash lights went on. As Banky W. dedicated the moment to all black lives globally, who have lost their lives due to injustices. This moment brought the crowd together, in the same way Afrobeats does, it took us home and reminded us that no matter where we are on the world, we will always remain one Africa.

– Vohandas Vidya

Photography by ID Asumah/Kola Oshalusi/Anuel Modebe/Insigna/One Africa Music Fest
Video by TiDAL