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Arts diary: African festival is still in fine shape; Philip Key talks to Africa Oye co-ordinator Paul Duhaney.

Byline: Philip Key

SOME of Africa's greatest musicians are heading for Liverpool to take part in one of Britain's biggest festivals of African music. The Africa Oye festival is now in its 12th year and while it has changed shape and even location over the years, it remains in fine shape.

This year it will be staged in just one location - Sefton Park - over two days from Saturday.

Project coordinator Paul Duhaney, who has worked on the festival for the last six years, admits it is a bit of a nightmare to organise as it grows bigger. Logistically, it is always difficult. Some of the bands are touring Europe and you need to get them to Liverpool on a certain date, there are work permits, visas and hotels to organise. It all takes time.'

The bands are all paid 'competitive fees'.

This year's event will feature ten world class bands from countries like Benin, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, DR Congo, Guinea, South Africa and Uganda.

Although the festival is being staged in Sefton Park there will be an opening performance in Liverpool's shopping centre on Saturday where the Gangbe Brass Band from Benin will be playing on the Church Street Podium at noon.

The festival will continue in the park from noon to 8pm and on Sunday between 12.30pm and 7.30pm.

'The festival has been held in different locations in the past but it was thought that by staging it in one location it would give the festival more of an identity,' says Duhaney.

The festival will have its own village with food from Africa, the Caribbean, India, Greece and the UK and a Rainbow International Music and theatre Arena which will entertain youngsters free of charge.

Stalls will sell African drums, arts and crafts, coffee and fresh juices while the BBC, which is broadcasting a year-long celebration of all things African, will be holding free African music workshops for everyone from 12.30pm each day.

The concerts will also be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for Andy Kershaw's world music show.

Entrance to the festival is, as in previous years, free

CAPTION(S):

Ba Cissoko, from Guinea - one of the bands at this year's Africa Oye Festival
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2005
Words:368
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