OY spielen am Freitag im Palais interkulturelle Musik.

Photo: Sash Berg

First the world drew closer together, and then the borders were raised high again—this is the bad news. The good news is that OY refuses to play along. Since 2010, the vocalist Joy Frempong and drummer and producer Lleluja-Ha have been making music that distills the world and presses it onto wax in a Berlin studio, arms it with a message, and sends it back out into where it came from. Take, for example, »No Problem Saloon«, which appeared on the celebrated Belgian label Crammed Discs in 2014 and mixed Frempong’s field recordings from Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and South Africa together into a multi-layered mélange. Two years later, »Space Diaspora«, which translates the teachings of legends like Sun Ra into an avant-garde concept album and in doing so rubs salt into modern-day wounds, proves that these artists still have a lot to say, both artistically and politically. OY don’t let borders stop them. They simply cross them—into territories that hurt. And into territories where the world might be a little better.

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