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8 acts you must see at this year’s Body & Soul Festival

8 acts you must see at this year’s Body & Soul Festival

It’s finally June, Summer is in the air, capital “S”, and the summer solstice is also coming, bringing the longest days of the year, just as Body & Soul Festival returns on the solstice weekend from June 16th to 18th.

The Hennessy Hip-Hop House is one of the key stages and areas at Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath this year for the festival, serving up a signature blend of cultural expression and creative cocktails, along with the Hennessy Music Trail, marking a throughline on the festival bill of hip-hop and genre-adjacent acts to coincide with 50 years of hip-hop celebrations.

You can check out our playlist for the festival too along with the stage times and map here, but here’s our selection of Hennessy-associated acts that are giving us the buzz to get down to Body & Soul this year…



Your only chance to see Kojaque live in the Republic this summer?

Main Stage
Friday 16 June, 9:30pm – 10:30pm

It’s a no-brainer really, and 2023’s prime time to see Kevin Smith aka Kojaque and his biting social commentary meets lyrical wordplay artistry meets experimental jazzhip-hop, live in the flesh.

After 2021’s hometown claustrophobia of Town’s Dead, Kojaque is in a loosey downtime era, with some production for AE MAK and a verse on ‘Man On A Mission’ with Curtisy and Ahmed, With Love his only output in recent months. Fresh from supporting Loyle Carner in London this year, this Body & Soul show is bound to be a tongue-wagger.


Fabio & Grooverider

Drum & bass legends on the main stage for the Hennessy Music Trail.

Main Stage
Friday 16 June, 11:30–12:30am

Fabio and Grooverider are D&B and jungle genre originators so the UK dons are the best placed people in the scene to bring something new to the table with their live A/V show performing Drum & Bass classic hits of the original era, with a full band The Outlook Orchestra.

Expect a set on the main stage littered with songs that chart a history of jungle and drum and bass, of which they were there from the start.



Denise Chaila. God Knows. MuRLi. Already an iconic trio in our book.

Saturday June 17th
Denise Chaila @ Main Stage, 5:30pm
MuRli, God Knows @ Hennessy Hip-Hop House, 7:30pm / 2:15am

The powerhouse Limerick-rooted trio are all showcasing their rap talents at Saturday of the festival. When combined under the umbrella Narolane, and no doubt they will all make an appearance at each of their own solo sets as Narolane is all about support and “ building a community based around the concept of joy.”

Since Rusangano Family disbanded MuRli and God Knows have walked their own paths in rap music, with MuRli adding class producer to his skillset and God Knows collaborating and bringing Amapiano and reflecting the culture in his music.

And Denise of course, has gone stratospheric, supporting Ed Sheeran while bossing the Choice Music Prize for album of the year for a mixtape. When their powers combine, it’s an unstoppable force, but in the slipstream of their solo work, there is range, detail and power in abundance.


Daddy G

The Massive Attack don plays a rare DJ set.

Hennessy Hip Hop House
Friday June 16th, 10:30pm – Midnight.

Maybe more well-known as a Bristol vocalist for the trip-hop innovators Massive Attack, but I first cottoned on to Daddy G as a fine selector in 2004, when his DJ Kicks was released.

From that mix, and the sporadic DJ output mixes since, it’s clear there’s a throughline of dub, reggae, and hip hop in his sets, so that would be my expectation for this highlighted set.


Aby Coulibaly

Dublin artist Aby Coulibaly is at the forefront of the new Irish class of R&B, neo-soul and hip-hop.

Hennessy Hip Hop House
Saturday June 17th, 9.45pm -10.45pm

With her label and crew Chamomile Records, there’s also a backdrop of a community coagulating into a small scene (with Moio and Monjola as key members). A link up with AMF Records in the UK gave the artist presence outside of Ireland, and with each tune released, regularly since early 2020, there’s a sense of growth, development and earworm glow that gives Aby’s music a special quality.

Aby Coulibaly on quitting her day job & building a rep during the pandemic


Gemma Dunleavy

Dublin inner city’s finest.

Hennessy Hip Hop House
Sunday June 18th, 12:15am – 1am.

As Gemma told us last week, there’s a lot more to come from the Dublin singer and vocalist, and her big Sunday closer is an opportunity to see how Gemma is progressing since her breakthrough EP Up De Flats in 2020.

 “Yeah, it totally reshapes it for me anyway. I’d been working on loads of music all through last summer. It’s kind of like a conceptual project I was working on and I wasn’t really thinking about the output.

And then I played a few festivals last year and I can’t ignore the feeling of being on stage, and the feeling that the people felt that were there.”

Right now, the obsession at the moment is kind of like losing space and time within music.

So while I’m saying I was really inspired by the four-to-the-floor type of stuff, there’s also some really melty stuff that doesn’t feel like it should exist with four-to-the-floor.  And that really excites me.”

Read our chat with Gemma.


Moving Still

Dublin producer with an Arabic background, having being born in Jeddah, effortlessly blends his heritage with beautifully transportative dance tunes.

Hennessy Hip Hop House
Sunday 18 June, 10pm – 11pm

Known for his productions that often blend Arabic influences into synth electro and percussive disco rhythms, Moving Still is a hidden gem, shining in the Irish music scene. With countless releases under his belt on respected labels, like Palms Trax’s CWP, and released a ton of Arabic edits.

For further evidence, Watch his Boiler Room debut from last year, it was insanely good.



The party doesn’t have to stop on Saturday night.

Hennessy Hip Hop House
Saturday 17 June: 3am – 4am

With Dublin grime duo Mango x Mathman calling it a day with a big kneesup in Vicar Street last month, Mango is focusing on his DJ bizness for the summer.

And the rapper knowns how to rock a party, and select a tune, as anyone who has listening to his internet radio show Smoke Breaks and Handbrakes can attest to. So 3am at Hennessy Hip Hop House on the Saturday night will be the place to be.

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