Five minutes with Femi Koya before Mieliepop

Ricardo Teixeira

Perdeby caught up with African Jazz musician Femi Koya before he heads to the Republic of Mieliepop Festival.


How do you raise human rights awareness through your music?
When my Afrobeat makes you shake your head and you tap your feet to my horns arrangements, your mind is receptive to the lyrics, the words and their power of projection. I guess making songs that plea to human rights to be respected is how I raise human right awareness.


What are you currently working on?
Currently, I have just finished my new album ”Village Afro­beat” due to be released on 16 April, looking forward to my national tour of the Village Afrobeat album to Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, and Gauteng. Mieliepop festival will be the first to experience the album.


What performances do you have lined up for this year?
Lagos Thursdays still once a month at the Orbit jazz Club, We are starting Afrobeat night once a month at the African Beer Emporium soon. Festivals and gigs are looking good for this year, [but they are] still in talks wouldn’t want to mention before the festival announces.


Hugh Masekela has been a huge influence on South Afri­can music, what influence has he had on you?
Well the late Hugh Masekela did put me [in my place] about three years ago, we had a good chat and he bluntly made me see the light of the African sounds hidden in me after listen­ing to my second album Iba. He told me which way to go and confirmed it when I shared the stage with him at the Bush Fire Festival in Swaziland last year and he nodded, that was it. I will pay one song tribute to him at the Republic of Mieliepop.


You started out in West Africa, and have moved to South Africa, where do you plan on going next?
I do not plan on moving anywhere else, except if the universe request [it] but I will be taking my music to Europe soon and from there to the other parts of the world. Music will deter­mine where his messenger abodes.


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