Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Yam Carnival: Clapham Common, London 28//8/21

Davido: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW
Davido: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Kehlani: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Koffee: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Beenie: Man: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Stonebwoy: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Midas The Jagaban: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Ms Banks: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW King Promise: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Remi Alade: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Darkoo: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Omah Lay: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Koffee: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Kehlani: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Davido: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Patoranking: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Beenie: Man: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Yemi Alade: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEWS Midas The Jagaban: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Patoranking: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Darkoo: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Stonebwoy: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Koffee: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Kehlani: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Davido: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Beenie: Man: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Yemi Alade: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Kehlani: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Koffee: Yam Carnival, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW Yam Carnival crowd, Clapham Common, London 28/8/21 REVIEW

In an ideal world, 2021 would see Yam Carnival grace London for the second time. Unfortunately, the pandemic had other ideas and the inaugural show last year was among the many casualties last summer. But as the festival industry finds its feet again, the event was finally able to make its bow on Clapham Common at the start of the Bank Holiday weekend.

The organisers had certainly done their homework securing acts, with some phenomenal acts touching down from Africa, Jamaica and the US, as well as boasting some top quality UK talent... Nigerian-American superstar Davido was the headliner as Yam Carnival got underway, and dancehall legend Beenie Man walked out on a UK stage for the first time in more than a decade. The list of top quality artists went on, with Koffee, Patoranking, King Promise, Stonebwoy, Darkoo, NSG, Yemi Alade and Midas the Jagaban all on the bill.

It got off to a great start, with Nigeria's Omah Lay delivering a strong set for those packed in early doors... Ms Banks followed him to the stage, and as you'd expect from one of the UK's brightest young artists, had the crowd moving. I've been lucky to see her several times over the last three or four years, and she never fails to put on a good performance.

From there it was over to the second stage, where a huge audience packed in to watch Midas the Jagaban - who has previously been branded 'The Masked Afrobeats Star You Need To Know' - gave an energetic showcase of her growing catalogue. There's a lot of excitement around this up-and-coming UK artist, and it's not hard to see why.

As the organisers would later admit, Yam Carnival was not without its teething problems. Throughout the day there were sound issues on the main stage, a problem that would come to a head during Kehlani's performance. It meant hosts Adeope Olajide and Eddie Kadi had a lot of heavy lifting to do and to be fair to them, they did it very well.

Patoranking didn't let the issues blight his performance on the main stage, with "My Woman, My Everything" drawing a huge response from the crowd. Because of the sheer volume of artists on the bill, audience members had to make some tough decisions as many of the top talents were overlapping. While there were sound problems on the main stage, those who headed to the second tent were not left disappointed.

King Promise was electric as he serenaded the crowd, getting up close with those in the front row and bringing the UK's Headie One on in a surprise cameo for "Ring My Line".

Equally electric was one of Ghana's finest, Stonebwoy, who was a ball of energy as he raced around the stage, an appreciative crowd chanting his lyrics back to him.

I'd have liked to have caught Pa Salieu in the tent, but his performance clashed with Beenie Man on the biggest stage. The King of Dancehall is a force of nature, and his set showcased his longevity, with "Who Am I", "Dude" and "Rum & Redbull" delivered with assurance.

On the second stage was reggae trailblazer Koffee, one of the genre's finest young talents. "Throne", "Rapture" and "Raggamuffin" are among the most exciting tracks of the last few years, and seeing them performed was a massive lift after so long without live music. Still only 21, she has the world at her feet, and in future years will be a dead cert for the main stage.

From there it was back to the main stage, where Yemi Alade was delivering a masterclass. She exudes confidence and was in top form, and from the front of the stage megahit, "Jonny" sounded superb. With well-executed choreography and on-point vocals, she was among the highlights of a busy day.

It's been well publicised that things went awry during the Kehlani performance. With a hyped-up crowd desperate to see the soulful US star, technical difficulties delayed her set and then brought it to a close after just four songs. Her vocals on "Can I" were full of power, but when it became clear she couldn't continue she urged the crowd to storm social media demanding a Kehlani concert and later posted "they owe you a f****** concert" on her own Twitter. It was a sad way for one of the most anticipated performances to end.

Tasked with rescuing the show, Davido proved up to the task after another lengthy delay, using all his charm and charisma to bring the crowd back onside. "Know Your Worth" and "Fall" sounded fresh as he brought the festival to a close and demonstrated why audiences around the world pack in to see him perform.

Following the event, the organisers acknowledged there were issues that hampered the enjoyment for audience members, but vowed to go ahead in 2022. It was a shame that the problems took the shine off what promised to be a great day. But hopefully, come next summer these can be ironed out. With its ethos of bringing together incredible acts from across the world, it can be a welcome and important addition to the summer programme in London for years to come.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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