Summer is just around the corner and that means your best chance to see exciting live music outdoors at free festivals. We’re looking forward to the African and diaspora artists making appearances in the U.S. this summer. See below for our picks. You’ll also see links to the major festivals to check out and who they are featuring. If you think we missed some great artists or festivals, please let us know by leaving us a comment.
If you live in the greater New York City area, Afropop will be camped out for many concerts at Central Park Summerstage and Celebrate Brooklyn. Come find us and introduce yourself. You’re welcome to join our illustrious Afropop summer volunteer corps. For more information on how to volunteer with Afropop, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rising stars of the new school from Zimbabwe, Mokoomba is an Afropop favorite. Reviewing their latest album, Luyando, Banning Eyre writes, “Mokoomba is probably the most impressive new African band I’ve heard in recent years.” Check their tour dates here.
Mbongwana Star is one of the freshest bands from Congo currently on the international circuit. Featuring alumni of Staff Benda Bilili, the group of disabled Kinshasa musicians that took the world by storm, the lead singers of Mbongwana Star mix it up with some hipster producers for a fresh sound. “The Kinshasa of Mbongwana Star sounds light years away from the familiar sounds of Franco and Kallé,” according to Afropop reviewer Jesse Brent. They will be featured at the Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg, NY. Check their full tour dates here.
The illustrious Orchestre Afrisa International, Congolese crooner Tabu Ley Rochereau’s excellent band, has continued on after their leader’s death, at his request. They released a new album, Melanie, in 2016. “Melanie is all about musicianship: groove, guitars—ooooh what guitars!—brass, and lusciously layered, impeccably arranged vocals,” writes Banning Eyre. Afrisa will be on tour this summer, playing Grand Performances in Los Angeles with Ricardo Lemvo on July 15, among other dates.
Yemi Alade, one of the reigning queens of Naija pop in 2017, will be playing North American shows this summer. We interviewed Yemi Alade in Nigeria, and you can expect to hear more from her that in an upcoming Hip Deep Nigeria program.
Isaac is one of the founders of NG La Banda, who are credited with launching the modern timba movement in Cuba. He went solo long ago, and he’ll be bringing his orchestra on tour to Europe and the U.S. this summer.
Rising star of Cuban fusion, Daymé Arocena (interviewed by Afropop here) combines Afro-Cuban religious music, jazz and pop sensibilities into a totally unique and powerful musical expression. Read, and catch her and her excellent band live.
Afro-Colombian goddess of song, Totó takes us on a journey through the country’s folkloric traditions with every performance. She’s on tour across Europe this summer–catch her if you can!
The blind Malian power couple (pictured above) returns to the U.S. and Europe this summer, including a free show in Brooklyn at Prospect Park Bandshell July 21. They’re promoting a new mixtape:
The one and only, Grammy award-winning, former Minister of Culture of Senegal…Youssou N’Dour. He’ll be making some rare U.S. appearances this summer. Check out his latest single!
The dynamic forro rock band Cabruêra will rock Brazil Summerfest this year. Don’t miss it!
Tagwayen Asali, a pair of identical twins from Kano, in northern Nigeria, will be featured at Nuits d’Afrique Festival in Montreal this summer, a first for this contemporary Hausa group. Look out for our Kano edition of Hip Deep Nigeria for more from the twins.
Of course there are many more amazing African and Afro-descendant artists touring the U.S. this summer. If we missed your favorite festival or artists on tour you think deserve a shout-out, let us know: email@example.com
Stay tuned for more, and check out the full schedule of festivals including: SummerStage (New York City), Celebrate Brooklyn! Grassroots Festival, Nuits D’Afrique Festival (Montreal), Concert of Colors (Detroit), Grand Performances (L.A.), Rhythm Foundation (Miami).
The Afropop team will be hosting tables at Celebrate Brooklyn and SummerStage in New York this summer. Come find us and say hello! If you’re interested in volunteering with us, let us know!