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The Pan‑African guide to Trans 2021 festival

A selection of our favorite pan-African artists from the 43rd edition of Rennes’ Trans Musicales festival scheduled for December 1st to 5th, 2021.

The Trans Musicale credo has always been to help discover new artists and new musical styles via the stage, to an audience as large and diverse as their casting. Between rock, electronic music, acoustic instruments, and hip-hop, the nearly 80 artists present will surely dazzle the public. 

From the folk tinted jazz of Urban Village to young Beninois orchestra Star Feminine Band with a stopover at the bass music of Rey Sapienz, here’s our selection of the must see pan-African artists. 

Urban Village

December 1st at 8:30pm

The South African band from Soweto was born of a meeting between four young self-taught musicians, dabbling their instruments in the national music genres of maskandi, mbaqanga, Zulu rock, Xhosa funk. The quartet, whose first album Udondolo was released this year on via Nø Førmat, creates a folk mosaic tinged with jazz and spirituality, welcoming and joyful. PAM introduced the band via an exclusive documentary featured below. 

El Combo Batanga

December 4th at 8pm

The Madrid-based band revives the caliente atmosphere of the vibrant Spanish Harlem of the 1960s; a neighbourhood in north-eastern Manhattan with a strong South American community. Through their clever blend of salsa and boogaloo, and unique combo of Cuban sound, soul, pop and rhythm & blues, El Combo Batanga brings this forgotten musical trend back to life. 

Batida apresenta Ikoqwe

December 4th at 8pm

Ikoqwe is a provocative, Afrofuturistic and danceable political manifesto. Producer and leader of Lisbon’s thriving Afro-electro scene Pedro Coquenão teams up with Angolan rapper Luaty Beirão (aka Ikonoklasta) to play two characters from another galaxy: Iko and Coqwe. In their first album released this year via Crammed Discs, the two avatars blend electro, rap and traditional Angolan music. 

Greentea Peng

December 3rd at 8pm

Born Aria Wells, a sort of Ms. Dynamite in full deceleration, Greentea Peng leaves the fast lanes of R&B on her first album (Man Made) to let herself be absorbed in a languid, bass-heavy nu soul. Underneath her delectable nonchalance, the London artist also reveals a rebellious temperament and lyrics committed against the establishment, gentrification and crime. 

Masma Dream World

December 3rd at 4pm

Née d’un père gabonais et d’une mère singapourienne, installée à Brooklyn, Devi Mambouka, alias Masma Dream World, puise dans la pratique du reiki, une médecine douce japonaise, pour explorer des techniques de guérison via des sons réparateurs. Ses mélopées oniriques et méditatives reposent sur des incantations vocales, des basses fréquences et des ondes cérébrales afin d’atteindre un lâcher prise bienfaiteur pour le corps et l’esprit. 


December 2nd at 4pm

The Belgian rapper of Congolese origin Badibanga Ndeka – also known as Badi – produces flamboyant, contemporary Afrofuturist music. A disciple of Kanye West, he builds a bridge between Congolese rumba and electronic music. Through the synthetic Afro-rap tracks of his latest album Trouble-Fête, he explores his family and the DRC’s histories with a sharpened awareness.


December 4th at 8pm

With his face entrenched behind a long curtain of braids, Tunisian artist Amine Ennouri, alias Nuri, prefers to stay in the shadows and let his percussive power speak for itself. A former drummer in a metal band, he throws traditional samples (balafon, chants…) and a tireless polyrhythmic groove into a blazing fire. The drum rolls trigger our bodies in an organic and nocturnal afro-electro trance.

Rey Sapienz

December 4th at 8pm

A member of the Ugandan collective and label Nyege Nyege, Rey Sapienz is a self-taught Congolese producer now based in Kampala. The clatter of his electronic drums, his raucous rapping in Lingala and Swahili and the shrill screams that run through the tracks are an unsettling yet exhilarating experience. His danceable music is made up of complex rhythms crossing kalindula, soukous, Jamaican dancehall and bass music. 

Star Feminine Band

December 4th at 2:30pm

Aged between 10 and 17, Anne, Bénie, Grace, Julienne, Marguerite, Sandrine and Urrice form their Beninese female orchestra launched in 2016 by music teacher André Balaguemon, now signed by French label Born Bad Records. After school, the seven young girls grab guitars, basses, drums, keyboards and percussions to rehearse electric and swaying anthems; a modern music, in the legendary footsteps of Miriam Makeba and Angélique Kidjo. 

The box office can be found here