Seems like this time every year New Yorkers find themselves yearning for summer to finally come and release us from a spring that’s as cool, wet and gray as a cinderblock wall. It’ll happen, everyone, take heart; soon we’ll all be complaining about the heat and humidity. But there’s more to look forward to during summer in New York City than the smell of garbage warming in the sun: There’s Central Park Summerstage!
More than just weekend shows in Central Park, Summerstage is a season-long free concert series that spans genres, nationalities and boroughs. For a full lineup, which is obviously great, check out their website here. Did we mention it is FREE?
Some of Afropop’s favorites, both old and new, will be performing. King Sunny Ade, whose tour last June was thwarted by a computer meltdown in the U.S. State Department, will be playing in New York for the first time since 2009 with the Afrobeat legend Orlando Julius opening. The DRC’s Mbongwana Star will be playing with the collaborator of their collaborator Konono No 1, the Lisbon-based Batida. Fans of Brazilian music have an all-Brazilian lineup to look forward to on Aug. 6 comprised of Monobloco, Cabruêra and Boogarins with D.J. Luiz Santos, as well as Rodrigo Amarante on July 8. Even comedy fans have the pleasure of seeing the most famous African comedian working in America today, Trevor Noah.
We picked out some highlights from Africa and the African diaspora, including New York City itself. The shows are in Central Park unless noted otherwise. If there’s something else you think we’d be into, but seem to have overlooked, don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org:
June 11 @ 3:00 PM Cymande / KING / Deva Mahal / DJ Parlerr
June 13 @ 7:00 PM Hard Hittin’ Harry / screening: Afripedia with Q&A in Saratoga Park, Brooklyn
June 21 @ 7:00 PM Public Enemy / DJ Tedsmooth in Betsy Head Park, Brooklyn
June 26 @ 8:00 PM Comedy Central Presents: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah–Stand-Up in the Park
July 3 @ 3:00 PM King Sunny Adé / Orlando Julius and the Afro Soundz / D.J. Rich Medina
July 8 @ 6:00 PM – Leon Larregui / Rodrigo Amarante / Grenda
July 10 @ 7:00 PM – DJ Kool Herc / Little Shalimar / Screening: Rubble Kings in Crotona Park, The Bronx
July 17 @ 3:00 PM – Paulo Flores / Herencia de Timbiquí / Monsieur Periné / D.J. Greg Caz / D.J. Manny
August 6 @ 6:00 PM – Monobloco / Cabruêra / Boogarins / D.J. Luiz Santos
August 7 @ 4:00 PM – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo / Sierra Leone Dance Troupe / Wahoo Skiffle Crazies – Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island
August 7 @ 7:00 PM – Igmar Thomas and the Revive Big Band Present: A Journey Through the Legacy of Black Culture, produced by Revive Music / Pre-Show Panel
August 14 @ 6:00 PM – Mbongwana Star / Batida / Young Paris / Okayafrica Electrafrique feat. D.J. Underdog / Pre-Show Panel
August 14 @ 4:00 PM – D.J. Spinna celebrates Earth Wind & Fire / Shine and the Moonbeams in East River Park, Manhattan
August 16 @ 7:00 PM – Alpha Blondy – Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan
August 27 @ 2:00 PM — Randy Weston African Rhythms Sextet / Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles / The Artistry of Jazzmeia Horn / Charles Turner III / Master Class: Samuel Coleman
As if that isn’t enough, Celebrate Brooklyn will be announced May 10. Summer’s coming, fellow New Yorkers. Get excited.