Juice – An evening of Afro Music featuring OK Naledi, Jessie Simmons, and Taapz, plus DJ Del Pilar

Thursday 15 February 2024

by Obasola Bamigbola, Editorial Associate

Juice Season 2 unfolded as an extraordinary celebration of Afro Music, bringing together a diverse audience at the Meridian Theatres in Ottawa for a two-hour spectacle that featured stellar performances by OK Naledi, Taapz, Jessie Simmons, and the rhythmic beats of DJ Del Pilar. The evening promised a fusion of cultures, musical genres, and captivating narratives, and it undoubtedly delivered on these expectations.

OK Naledi, an Afro House Queer performing artiste, took the stage with an aura of energy and innovation. Her music, characterized by traditional sub-Saharan clean guitar lines, classic deep bass, and deep groove drums, showcased a meticulous blend of elements that form the backbone of Afro music. The beats she produced were not just auditory experiences but journeys into the heart of every audience, characterized by their infectious tempo. OK Naledi’s performance proved to be a celebration of diversity within the Afro Music genre, as they artfully pushed boundaries, combining traditional elements with contemporary styles.

Taapz, the Malawian-born singer raised in Tanzania, forms the infusion of Swahili in her lyrics. She brought a deeply personal touch to the evening. Her ability to blend her cultural roots and unique life experiences into her music was evident in every note. Taapz’s performance was a storytelling voyage, where the audience was invited to immerse themselves in the authentic narratives woven through her soulful melodies. The connectivity she established with the crowd was palpable, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries.

Jessie Simmons, an Afro-Caribbean singer, brought her distinct fusion of R&B and Haitian roots to the forefront. Her performance was a testament to the richness of her cultural heritage, seamlessly blending two musical worlds. Jessie’s vocals resonated with power and emotion, creating an atmosphere that was both captivating and intimate. As one of Canada’s most sought-after Haitian artists, she left an indelible mark on the audience, showcasing the versatility and depth of Afro Music.

The pulsating beats of DJ Del Pilar acted as the backbone of the evening, setting the stage for each artist and maintaining the vibrant energy throughout the show. The crowd’s response was electric, with cheers and dances erupting spontaneously, turning the Meridian Theatres into a lively and dynamic space.

Juice Season 2, in essence, was not merely a music event but a celebration of cultural diversity, musical innovation, and the power of storytelling through sound. The well-received performances underscored the universal appeal of Afro Music, demonstrating its ability to unite people through shared experiences and rhythms. It was a night where the beats resonated beyond the confines of the theatre, leaving an enduring imprint on the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to be in attendance.

Obasola Bamigbola

Reporter and expert photographer Obasola Bamigbola emigrated to Canada in 2023 and now calls Ottawa home.