London is known for its diversity and inclusivity, so any festival wanting to emulate that feeling must have a lineup as diverse as the city itself. And Naked City achieves so. To start with, they’re pairing two legendary figures in music: Nigerian drummer Tony Allen and Detroit DJ Jeff Mills, who’ll get together for a formidable act where percussion and rhythm will become the main protagonists. Another Nigerian heavyweight joining the festival’s lineup is Seun Kuti – the son of Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti – and his band Egypt 80. Other iconic figures in the one-day festival are Hailu Mergia, an accomplished Ethiopian jazz musician who exiled to Washington to become a taxi driver before being rediscovered thirty years later by record label Awesome Tapes From Africa, or Moodymann, another Detroit DJ “committed to keeping a distinctly black imprint on techno and house”, as Resident Advisor puts it.
In addition to them, fresher voices arise too. For example, Shygirl, a singer making waves in the London scene through the co-owned record label Nuxxe (house to other emerging stars like Coucou Chloe and Sega Bodega). Other highlights include METAL 42 interviewees Kokoko!, a band from Congo renowned for creating their own instruments from upcycled materials they find on the streets of Kinshasa; Dengue Dengue Dengue, a duo formed by Peruvian musicians Rafael Pereira and Felipe Salmón, who mix folkloric Andean sounds with electronic beats; Romare, an up-and-coming Dj who debuted in 2012 with the album Meditations On Afrocentrism; Puma Blue, a singer and multi-instrumentalist whose sound has been described as ‘voicemail-ballads’ because of his intimate, honest and delicate work; or Tertia May, a rising voice coming from South London who published her second EP, Not From Concentrate, just a few months ago.