The Umoja Festival

 umoja (oo-mô-jä):

Unity. Origin: East Africa (Swahilli)

Directions to Lowell Park

We are proud to announce the second annual Umoja Festival, taking place on August 16th, 2014 at 1180 14th Street, LOWELL PARK in Oakland, California. Our goal is to excite the senses by featuring a full day of arts, culture and activities that will include top-tier musical performances, competitive inter-African soccer tournament, a colorful array of vendors, the aromas and taste of African cuisine, and the soul satiated with the sounds and movements of African music and dance.

Festival Details:

  •  This festival is 100% FREE, family-friendly, and open to people of of all ages.
  •  Soccer tournament begins @ 10am
  •  Musical performances will start @ noon
  • Lowell Park is located at 1180 14th Street (between Adeline Street & Market Street in Oakland)
  • There will be on-site local food and artisan vendors

In addition to a full day of entertainment, we also aim to provide  space for various organizations to highlight information on, both, local sources for fresh produce and holistic treatment; sharing with each other the resources available in Oakland to our communities.

Our 2014 Featured Artists!

lagos_rootsLAGOS ROOTS, a 17-piece afrobeat ensemble that brings it back to the root: straight to 1970’s West Africa. Led by Geoffrey Omadhebo (Sonny Okosuns, OJ Ekemode), LAGOS ROOTS is steeped in unfiltered, deeply-grooved and intense Nigerian Afrobeat – horn-blasted tribal funk rhythms that keep you moving (and sweating) to the music of the Kalakuta Republic.

913bf965b23a86a1-140322-Antonio_0961FreshIsLife is best known as the lead singer for the San Francisco-based afrobeat band, Afrolicious.  His energetic stage presence brings a special element to the bodyshaking liveshows of his afrobeat comrades. Originally hailing from Trinidad, he embodies both a carribean sensibility as well as the spirit of west african afrofunk. Most recently, the legendary dub-producing reggae pioneer, Scientist, took one listen to Fresh’s voice and immediately determined that he HAD TO work with the artist.

This year, he’ll be teaming up with our very own Juan G to produced a one-of-a-kind Caribbean singjay-style afrobeat perfomance! This is a perfomance you will not want to miss!


Piwai has been described as possessing a “reverberating soulful voice and dynamic stage presence.” 10 seconds into her live performance and we know you will agree. In 2012, she travelled back to her homeland of Zimbabwe to record her first album, “African Turquoise.”  The album is written, composed, and produced by Piwai, in collaboration with James Buzuzi of Bongolove.  It is a fascinating fusion of jazz and traditional African rhythms, including mbira and percussion from Jacob Mafuleni and John Mambira.

UMOJA is proud to present to Oakland this amazing talent. Prepare to travel across musical and cultural borders.


THOBS THE ZULU QUEEN is truly a nomadic musician/poet, traveling – with guitar in hand – between South Africa, the US, and island-hopping throughout the Caribbean.  Her singer-songwriter approach to her native zulu musical traditions has captivated audiences wherever she performs.  She possesses a dominant voice that seems to encompass a vulnerability found only in those who call no place home, but still long for it just the same.  Whether its themes of love, pain, or angst, Thobs conveys the message eloquently and with the upmost sincerity.

Along with a solo performance, she will also take on the duty of Master of Ceremony, guiding us through our day-long musical journey.


NAIMA SHALHOUB is a soul-singer, musician, songwriter, performer and educator. Shalhoub’s parents were born in Sierra Leone and raised in Lebanon, weaving her artistic influences at a young age with a myriad of sounds and cultures.  Whether with a band or solo on her ukelele, Naima’s music is a way station of soulful confessions.

As our sole north African artist, we are delighted and honored to have this amazing artist grace our stage, and bless your auditory senses with her unique music blend.

50 Years Later

VUKANI MAWETHU is a nonprofit multiracial choir, which sings the freedom songs of Southern Africa.  Formed in 1986 by the late great James Madhlope Phillips, an ANC union and cultural organizer, VUKANI has continued to carry  the message of love and tolerance that permeated the spiritual gospel music of the century-long struggles for freedom in South Africa.

clip_image001_0002BONGO SIDIBE is a celebrated musician from Conakry, Guinea, West Africa. He most recent musical effort, alongside his band – Wontanara Revolution – sees the syncretistic union of cross-cultural diasporic rhythms, fusing Guinean reggae manding and West african funk.


We Would Like to Thank our Generous Sponsors


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