The MTN Bushfire festival, named ‘Top African festival’ by the BBC and hailed by CNN as one of the 7 African music festivals not to be missed, is back with a bang in 2023. The festival, which will take place from 26th to 28th May in Eswatini, has revealed some of the amazing artists that will grace its stages and delight its fans.
The line-up is headlined by a power-house female line-up, led by the Afro-Cuban-French twins Ibeyi, South Africa’s Sho Madjozi and Angolan singer Pongo, whose hybrid sounds mix Kuduro, melancholic pop, dancehall and EDM with lyrics both in Portuguese and Kimbundu. They’ll be joined by South African gem Ami Faku, Lesotho’s Maleh, whose classic, soulful melodies celebrate the joys and challenges of womanhood, as well as the angelic, soaring voice of Eswatini’s Velemseni and rising talent iYA, whose velvety voice excavates a deeply emotional landscape with a blend of Soul, RnB and Modern Jazz.
The line-up also includes South Africans such as the highly respected rapper Stogie T, who will bring his power game to the festival, as will the veteran group Black Motion, who need no introduction. Crystal-clear vocals from Sima Mashazi, outstanding guitar playing and infectious rhythms from virtuoso musicians Louis Mhlanga, Schalk Joubert, Albert Frost and Jonno Sweetman are on tap from Afrika Blues, while pop culture icon Jack Parow, “the undisputed king of Afrikaans rap” will entertain with his feisty, fun flavour.
Regional favourites such as Zimbabwe’s Bantu Spaceship/s will bring their Afro-Electronic sounds, merging Electro, Hip Hop and Rap with Mbaqanga, Imbube, Sungura, Jit, and Chimurenga, while the highly respected Mozambican band Ghorwane will celebrate their 40th Anniversary at MTN Bushfire with their own blend of traditional music and Afro-Pop.
Haitian performer Vox Sambou also tackles social issues, in Haitian, French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese, with a mix of Hip-Hop, Afro-beat, Jazz and Reggae, while from the USA, veteran Honky Tonk musicians The Divebombers showcase their “toe tappin’ knee slappin’ foot stompin’ good ol’ American music” with top level guitar playing.
Adding to the diverse and eclectic line-up, MTN Bushfire is proud to include artists that will be touring on the Igoda Southern African Festival Network. Chad’s AfrotroniX, a truly unique sound experience with their blend of Electro-Saharian Blues, tinged with Chadian Saï, Senegalese Mbalax, Haitian Kompas, West African Mandingo roots and electric Touareg Blues.
MTN Bushfire is more than just a music festival. It is a celebration of arts, culture and social change that attracts over 20 000 people from across the globe every year. The festival’s motto is “Bring Your Fire”, which encourages the proactive contribution of the individual to make a positive difference in the world.