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Stevie G: Kokaque -  Village loves ya baby

THE ‘It Takes a Village’ festival returns to Cork this weekend for its second year and it promises to be a fantastic weekend.

Taking place in Trabolgan in East Cork, only a short drive from the city, this is a very unique festival which is fully covered, so there is no need for wellies! Accommodation is mainly in the holiday apartments and chalets and the whole site is intimate and walkable. It was incredible last year, but this time the line-up is even better, and it looks like it won’t be Ireland’s best kept festival secret for much longer.

The legendary UK DJ Gilles Peterson has been hugely influential across many musical spectrums for many decades, and he will be spinning on Saturday night. Joining him on Saturday’s line-up will be reggae singer Sister Nancy, of ‘Bam Bam’ fame, and James Holden and the animal spirits are also on the bill.

Fridays headliners include Herbert, another DJ and producer who has made a big impact on previous visits here, particularly to Sir Henrys in the 90s. Irish Electronic act Le Boom have been creating a big buzz for quite some time now and they will also be here Friday.

On Sunday we are in for a real treat. Day tickets can be bought, and music fans will get a chance to see one of the hottest acts in hip-hop at the moment, Kojaque. Alongside his other Soft Boy records associates, Kojaque has helped make some of the most captivating music in the country these last few years, and this gig comes at the start of a European tour which is already winning him many more fans. Kojaque is amazing live and for anyone wondering what all the fuss is about when people talk new Irish music lately, this is the gig you need to see.

These are just a few of the acts performing, the bill also includes pioneering reggae and punk figure Don Letts, Irish electronic group New Jackson, Meltybrains, Katie Kim, Lisa O’Neill, AE Mak and many many more. Some more of the Cork DJs and producers involved include Colm K, Toby Kaar, Jus Me, ELLLL, myself, Eddie Kay, but in truth it’s a hard festival to explain by simply describing the acts.

There is a huge variety of artistic attractions, great food, and a very accessible site that makes this one of the most comfortable and attractive festivals on the calendar. Townlands is sadly now gone, so it’s imperative that we support some of the best Cork festivals, and It Takes a Village is amazing.

There is also a multi-cultural celebration this Saturday afternoon in Bishop Lucey Park. It’s free and there will be performers from all over the world, reflecting the different communities living here in Cork. There will be groups and artists from Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, China, Sudan, Ireland, India and more, and Amdie, Citadel, Elham Alomari, Fatma Turgat, Club Ceoil and the Light Runners will all be there performing live.

I mentioned Kojaque earlier and his visit to It Takes a Village, but if you can’t make it, there is a chance to see another of our best hip-hop acts in Cork city this Saturday night.

Jafaris is a young rapper from Dublin who has released one of the best albums of the year on the Diffusion label, who have also brought us Soule and Flynn amongst others. We’ve hyped up Jafaris before here many times, but it’s worth mentioning again that he is one of the principle leaders of a vibrant young music scene in Ireland.

I was at the Dublin launch of the show last week and he and his live band brought the roof down on the Button Factory. Jafaris makes thought-provoking music and he is amazing live, so I urge anyone around on Saturday night to check this one out.

Dublin hosts the eagerly awaited Gods of rap tour next week, where hip-hop legends Wu Tang Clan, Public Enemy and De La Soul will be accompanied by DJ Premier. Unfortunately this one has no suitable Cork venue, but it should be a great night nonetheless.

On Leeside we have at least got some big temporary venues this summer, and as it edges closer, we can look forward to Versatile in the Marquee and indeed Lauryn Hill in Independent park. It’s also been just announced that the legendary Jamaican Dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson will be performing at Crosstown Drift for the Midsummer Festival in St Lukes too.