Onipa at Brewery Arts

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Omnipa by Nelson Autefault.

Onipa at Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal and Sedbergh 2 December 2023 Tickets from £16.50 — Book now

The explosive Afro-futurist collective Onipa bring their high-octane live show to Brewery Arts in Kendal this December.

Onipa is the collaboration between multi-instrumentalist artist and rapper K.O.G (Kweku Sackey) and composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Tom Excell (also the mastermind behind Nubiyan Twist). Together with bandmates Finn Booth and Wonky Logic, they fuse music from Ghana and London, bringing energy, groove, dance and fire to everything they touch.

Their debut album We No Be Machine (2020) combined deep Afro grooves, electronics and an energy of cultural celebration. It was met with critical acclaim including a 4* review from MOJO, before covid put a stop to touring plans. But despite the pandemic, Onipa still managed to record an immersive live performance at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios for WOMAD as well as release a mixtape Tapes of Utopia, which blended the analogue tones of Afrobeat, Highlife and Soukous with Afro-futuristic rap and electronics.

Their anticipated second studio record, Off the Grid, dropped in October 2023, and offers up a journey that joins the origin story of dance rhythms from Africa to electronic dance music of today’s clubs and festivals. From Accra Market cassette tapes to London pirate radio stations, Malian blues to UK jazz, the album contains a life-affirming and original world of sound that connects African folklore and storytelling to rap, jazz and hip hop.

“All these different styles are part of a language that we’ve chosen to immerse ourselves in”, says Tom Excell. “Using the amazing breadth of music in Africa feels natural to us. I love people to hear the pan-African traditional styles we mix in, to understand how they connect — and see the connections back to Western music, which has all progressed from that African origin.”

“Now it has come full circle”, he continues, “with dance music from the West influencing Africa. And that cyclical thing is where we are at with this album.” Kweku takes it further: “We use some of these genres when we play out, but we like to go deeper, into more traditional sounds. If you like Afrobeats, then this is where it actually comes from. It’s highlife, without the over-treated vocals. We play the roots version.”

Expect insatiable rhythms, party-starting grooves and charisma in droves at Kendal‘s Brewery Arts on 2 December.

Onipa at Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal and Sedbergh 2 December 2023 Tickets from £16.50 Book now

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