“The only woman in the world singing in Sissala, she will mesmerise you” – CNN Africa
“Amazing African Women 2018” – BBC News Africa
Wiyaala met K.O.G and Franz Von (from Jamaica) at a rainy muddy Shambala Festival in Northamptonshire last year where they were both performing as separate acts, Wiyaala with GRRRL and K.O.G with Onipa.
Recognising each other as fellow Ghanaians, they greeted each other in the traditional Ghanaian way as brother and sister despite never having met before. They agreed to get together in Sheffield in October 2018 to record at MU studios after the touring season finished.
They were as good as their word and duly set about putting down some music vibes characterised by an explosion of African energy, Brand New Day was the result and there’s more coming and Wiyaala has now joined K.O.G and The Zongo Brigade as a guest on their European tour 2019.
Wiyaala, one of the world’s most charismatic artists, has released her second album, Sissala Goddess, a fascinating, often moving glimpse at Africa old and new through the Young Lioness of Africa’s eyes. Sung partly in her home village Funsi’s dialect of Sissala, one of the world’s most endangered languages, she is both celebrating the stoicism and love of those who have supported her as well as challenging traits which are sadly not confined to her local scene – bigotry, jealousy and greed. The album also features Wiyaala’s interpretation of the legendary band Osibisa’s “Woyaye (We are Going)”, a song she has performed live with the band’s founder and singer, Teddy Osei.
Known to her legions of fans as “The Young Lioness of Africa”, Wiyaala has won over fans across the world, all the more remarkable due to her coming from Ghana, a country with a notoriously conservative music industry, where any challenge to the norm is frowned upon. Her music is a potent fusion of West African folk songs and stadium Afro-pop, brought to life with spectacularly energetic traditional dance moves. “Wiyaala”, which means “the doer” in her local Sissala dialect, is from Funsi, an African village in the Upper West Region of Ghana close to the borders of Burkina Faso and Cote D’Ivoire. Thanks to a musical mother, she “dodged” FGM and child marriage, whilst also being encouraged to be an entertainer, dancer, artist and athlete, despite growing up in a patriarchal society frequently hostile to artistic growth.
In 2012, she made the long journey to the capital city, Accra, and against the odds won an emphatic victory in the Vodafone Icons Reality Show. After being “spotted” by Rita Ray of BBC’s Global Beats in 2014, the door opened and Wiyaala has emerged as one of Ghana’s leading international touring artistes performing at top events and festivals all over the world, including the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Australia, WOMAD in the UK and Timitar Festival in Morocco.
The ever-resourceful Wiyaala, who designs and sews her own unique stage costumes, is finding more and more ways to charm audiences with her warmth and unique talent. Wiyaala is also a committed supporter of the arts in Northern Ghana having created and organized the The Djimba World Music Festival now in its third year. She is also an active influencer for UNICEFGhana and fights for the abolition of FGM, Early Child Marriage and the rights of children”. Ignore Wiyaala at your peril!
11/07/19 Kenako Festival Berlin Germany
13/07/19 Riddu Riddu Tromso Norway
12/07/19 The Rollright Fayre Rollright Stones UK
17-21/07/19 Welcome to Village Leewarden/Gronigen Netherlands
18/07/19 Quartiers D’été Rennes France
19/07/19 Transfert Nantes Nantes France
20/07/19 Festival Relache Bordeaux France
21/07/19 Festival Lagrasses Lagrasse France
25/07/19 Kendal Calling Kendal Deer Park UK
27/07/19 Deer Shed Festival Thirsk UK
01/08/19 Helden in Het Park Eeklo Belgium
03/08/19 Eastern Electrics Morden Park UK
04/08/19 Underneath the Stars Festival South Yorkshire UK
08/08/19 La Plage de Glazart Paris France
09/08/19 Rockland Clohars-Carnoet France
10/08/19 Festival Belle Ile On Air France
16/08/19 Soul Circus Gloucestershire UK
22-25/08/19 Shambala Festival Northamptonshire UK
30/08/19 Woodstower Festival Lyon France
27/09/18 Landes Musique Amplifiées St Vincent de Tyrosse France
28/09/18 L’Accordeur St Denis de Pile France