At last, after two years and a rained off 2012, Africa came back to the Park.
The rain overnight had been torrential so I don’t know if I might walk in on a quagmire.
But no, the dry ground has soaked all the rain up.
And the 21st Africa Oyé is ready to start.
Today we’ll see musicians and performers from Ghana, Congo, Cape Verde and Cuba.
First up the Zong Zing All Stars from Congo.
They get people up for a dancing competition.
Jointly won by a woman from Ghana and a small boy from Liverpool.
The day is surprisingly fine, and Africa Oyé soon settles into its accustomed easy rhythm. Because, you see, Africa Oyé isn’t so much an event as a place. And once it’s set up and moving it’s like we’re all back in a much loved, familiar place. Seeing what’s changed, what’s still the same, and looking out for each other.
Like any good quality village, there are places for the children to play, good shops, places to eat and drink, and plenty of space to sit around talking.
And all day, there is music. From Africa and wherever in the world Africans have ended up.
Here is Black Prophet, a reggae band from Ghana.
One member of Black Prophet is a ‘Flag Waver’ – an unusual role in a band?
Watching music, 2013 style.
And around the edges of the village there is more music and more dancing.
And of course ‘News from Nowhere’ our independent bookshop and record shop is here, just like always.
Lovely to be back in the village today. It always is. I’ll be back tomorrow.