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Live / stage review

Africa 3.0, Showroom, 13 September

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DJ Jigue

Africa 3.0 was a special opportunity to watch a film documenting a near-phenomenon and to then experience it. In this instance, the phenomenon was afrobeats - distinct from afrobeat, the genre developed by Fela Kuti - and the experience was K.O.G. In recent years, afrobeats, afrohouse and other popular forms of African music have been growing in international influence, but the effect they have had in Cuba has been particularly passionate.

In the documentary Bakosó: AfroBeats of Cuba, many of the musicians that DJ Jigüe meets identify heavily with their distant African heritage. Through looking at how afrobeats has helped create a new genre in Cuba called bakosó, it shows how the perception of Africa has shifted globally in recent times, now viewed as a source of cultural inspiration, as well as being of great historic significance.

the perception of Africa has shifted globally

K.O.G.'s following performance was a perfect fit, showcasing the exact music that DJ Jigüe was championing. The leader of the Zongo Brigade performed with a voice that filled the room. His authentic manner and well-versed delivery made it feel as if there was no distinction between him playing at The Showroom and in his home town in Ghana.

As well as being both humorous and political through songs such as 'Muffin' and 'Money', his poetry provided thought-provoking concerns and stories, keeping the performance well-rounded. It was easy to hear the British and Caribbean influence in parts of K.O.G.'s music and this was a nice nod to the documentary, showing how the music that Jigüe was learning more about has also been inspired by other genres.

Africa 3.0 did more than just follow the world's growing love for afrobeats. It was also an exploration into how music has an endless capacity to motivate and inspire, and how it can help people relate to places they've never been to, or have lost their connection with.

Akeem Balogun

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