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Into the woods for an otherworldly experience

Get your bags packed, make sure your sense of wonder is at an all-time high, and get yourself to Kornos forest in Larnaca next Friday where The Afro Banana Republic Festival will be shaking up the forest with its party vibe for the sixth year in a row.

Yes, there are many, many festivals happening – or just happened – on our island at the moment, but none of them have managed to do what this one plans to do: turn a forest into an energetic hub of creativity, where the crowd is drawn into a vibrant parallel universe where anything and everything is possible.

Sounds a bit too good to be true? Well, we’ll give you the facts and you decide if what is in store sounds like something you could get lost in.

The festival, which will run over four stages, will bring together international bands and DJs, alongside a handpicked selection of the island’s finest musicians. So go from one stage to another, soak up some Afrobeat rhythms, indulge in some world music, some jazz, soul, hip-hop and reggae, and then take in that disco feel with some funk, techno and house music.

As you can see, there is a whole rainbow of acts on the list, so we will give you festival-goers an insight into some of the real highlights of the two days.

The first day of the festival will see a performance by the UK band Electric Jalaba. The band has taken its electrifying live set mixing of Gnawa, electronic/experimental dance music, West African, Sahara/desert Blues and psych rock to festivals all over the UK and abroad. And now it is time to do some mixing in a forest.

The international feel just gets better with Cut n Bass, an act from Tel Aviv that combines electronic sampling with big beats and an electrifying live performance that represents east and west, the old and new.

Another live performance on the Friday will be local band Afro Mpanda Banana – the first of its kind in Cyprus. The nine-member band brilliantly fuses African and Latin beats with the euphoric melodies of western jazz funk beats.

On Saturday, August 20, the festival will go even further outside the box with a performance by Batida, a radio, video and music producer from Angola. Batida mixes electronic dance music with samples from 60s and 70s Angolan music. But music is just the cherry on the top when it comes to Batida, as he also brings graphics, artefacts, props and some of his own filmed images to the stage.

Another one-of-a-kind act on Saturday will be Nigerian legend Orlando Julius and The Heliocentrics. Julius has been characterised by the Evening Standard as “one of the great veterans of Nigerian music… gutsy, powerful and varied.” Joining the man who is responsible for popularising Afro-pop will be the band Heliocentrics, who will contribute to the rhythm with their Afro-beats. If you were at the festival two years ago you might remember the phenomenal performance Julius and the Heliocentrics gave.

Giving a local feel to the second day of the festival will be Sandy Brour – a five-member band that will give the festival a jazzy mood.

But it is not all about music, the festival will also offer a wide variety of interactive creative projects to keep those who choose to stay over the two days busy. These include theatrical performances and live music recording sessions.

The Afro Banana Republic Festival
Music festival. August 19-20. Kornos forest, Larnaca. 2pm. €30 two days/ €20 one day. Website:


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