Afrobeat is dense, funky,intricately-layered, groove-heavy music withan intrinsic
message - delivered through poly rhythmic beats, the sweat of the dancers,and the
power of words. This July, that message will reverberate through California, when
the Afrofunk Festival returns after three consecutive years of sold-out shows.
The Afrofunk Festival was born in2005, when Kenyan singer Victor Sila
joined forces with Liberian DJ Jeremiah Kpoh. Cresting the wave of the
international Afrobeat revival, which shined a media spotlight on bands like
Antibalas and artists like Femi Kuti, the AFF tapped into the vibrancy of the
San Francisco Bay Area, the epicenter of the '80s World Beat craze and current
home to bands like Albino, Kotoja, Aphrodesia, and Sila's own outfit,
the Afro-Funk Experience. The result was a truly unique event with a righteous,
humanitarian cause benefiting at-risk youth in famine- and war-torn regions of
In the years since, Afrobeat has continued to grow in popularity, while the AFF
has become a cultural institution -- not just in the San Francisco Bay Area, but
along the West Coast. Now in its fourth year, the AFF (which runs July 9-26) has
expanded to venues in Eugene, Seattle, Portland, Ashland, San Luis Obispo, San
Diego, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. The AFF tour concludes with three
consecutive nights at San Francisco's premier live music club, the Independent.
"There's no way we can stop doing the Afrofunk Festival, as long as the
crisis facing children in Africa continues," says Sila, emphasizing that his
mission has always been to raise cultural and social awareness through music.
This year's lineup stretches the boundaries of Afrofunk, presenting
African, Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Latin variants, alongside nu-funk and classic
soul. Performers include Sila and the Afrofunk Experience, B-Side Players, Rocky
Dawuni, Darondo, Nino Moschella, Sambada, Afrobeat Down, Bayonics, Fuga,
Manicato, DJ Jeremiah and the Afrobeat Nation, DJ Vanka, and DJ Felina.
for a complete list of performers, dates,
The Afrofunk Festival is still a party, so bring your dancing shoes, but this
is a party with a conscience; proceeds will benefit House of Hope, an orphanage
in Africa that houses children ravaged by famine and disease. Despite
international media attention and critically-acclaimed documentaries like Peter
Jordan's Darfur Rising which have increased awareness about the plight of
African children, the situation remains grave.
Having spent time in a refugee camp as a youth himself before coming to
America, DJ Jeremiah is particularly sympathetic to the struggles of Africa's
children. "This is the best way I know of to focus attention on this important
issue. The youth are the future. By helping them, we are giving them the hope
for a better life," he says, adding, "what better medium to get this message
across than Afrofunk?"
THURSDAY, JULY 24
FRIDAY, JULY 25
DJ Jeremiah and Afrobeat Nation
SATURDAY, JULY 26
Sila and the Afrofunk Experience (Africas James Brown)
Rocky Dawuni (Ghana's Bob Marley)