OLUZAYO – for »What lies ahead« – is a festival for current, experimental and contemporary music from Africa, the first of its kind. It will not only take place in Cologne, but will continue in Johannesburg at the end of November 2023. Orchestra and ensemble music, sound art and electronic music, improvised music, transcultural mixtures and indigenous forms will be heard, all united by one thing: the reference to the African continent and its musical forms and traditions.

For the Senegalese economist and musician Felwine Sarr, music, art and literature are the most important resources for developing visions for Africa’s future and overcoming the foreign domination of Africa’s (post-)colonial past and present. OLUZAYO explores music and sound as a field that reflects the dissonances and possibilities involved, as well as the multifaceted interconnections between Africa and Europe.

Some of the concerts at the festival in Cologne will be broadcast live or recorded by media partner WDR 3 and broadcast afterwards as part of the ARD Radio Festival, among others.


The OLUZAYO Festival in Cologne is part of the multifaceted program »African Futures – All Around« coordinated by the City of Cologne on the occasion of the »European Conference on African Studies« (ECAS), which will be held at the University of Cologne from May 31 to June 3. The program highlights the complexity and creativity of modern Africa and its diaspora in panels, lectures, workshops, discussions, theater, film, music, literature, art and performance.

The festivals in Cologne and Johannesburg are organized by ZAM Center for Contemporary Music in collaboration with NewMusicSA. The artistic directors are Thomas Gläßer and Lukas Ligeti. Other curators are Joseph Kamaru, Nonku Phiri and Ignacio Priego.


Thomas Gläßer Artistic direction & festival management
Lukas Ligeti Artistic co-direction
Joseph Kamaru Curation
Nonku Phiri Curation
Ignacio Priego Curation

A projekt by


funded by

OLUZAYO is supported by the TURN2 Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the City of Cologne, the Kunststiftung NRW and the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.