For the longest time, the African music scene has been of dazzling fascination to the outside gaze. However, it has remained amongst many things for us, a means to outperform pre-existing standards, to create rebelliously and maintain the vibrant, transitional music ecosystem we have now.
In line with this constant evolution and to open more spaces for African music to thrive and inspire, British-Kenyan DJ Edu in partnership with the BBC World Service, has just launched a new radio show: This is Africa.
The show which already has several broadcast partners in Nigeria will premiere on December 7 and is billed to showcase Africa’s vast and pulsing musical talents to the “BBC’s huge global audiences across radio and online.”
A good step in pushing our progressively established international breakthroughs.
With an open-spaced event held on Wednesday, 27 November at The Backyard Grill & Bar, Victoria Island, Lagos, This is Africa was launched to an excited audience, with a number of Nigeria’s top music acts in attendance. The night opened with DJ Edu giving a brief introduction on what music, especially African music means to him and how instrumental it is to his admittedly extensive music career.
About the show itself, DJ Edu says “I am so pleased to be launching this new show. It encapsulates everything I love about African music. It’s a brand new challenge that I’m really looking forward to showcasing and sharing the great stories, music and culture coming out of young Africa with a new and existing audience”
The BBC World Service Commissioning Editor Simon Pitt says, “We’re so excited for Edu and our radio and video teams. At a time when African artists are breaking through globally like never before, bringing talent from right across the continent each week will be a tremendous experience for the artists and the global audience of the World Service”
This is Africa will feature a range of programs that’ll introduce new musical talents, feature relevant sounds from various parts of Africa at a given time, and bring listeners closer to their favourite African music artists.
Described as the world’s leading African Music Ambassador, DJ Edu has been and continues to spotlight and promote African music talents across the globe. His weekly BBC Radio show Destination Africa is the UK’s longest-running and most influential African music show, tied in with his experience deejaying regularly around the world, occasionally presenting documentaries and specials for the World Service, Global Beats, BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra and Focus on Africa, and sharing his deep knowledge of the African music scene on blogs and publications like Dazed, The Huffington Post and I-D. This sets him out as an ideal person to lead this new path in African music’s history.
The night kept pace with a serenading performance from Simi, a quick DJ session between DJ Edu and DJ Xclusive, with other performances from fast-rising act Joeboy, Ugandan singer Sheebah, Ycee, Seyi Shey and a few others. With the reach of the BBC World Service, which delivers news content around the world in 42 languages including English, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and Pidgin through radio, TV, and other digital means, this new show would set the tone for wider visibility and possibly deepen existing interests in African music.
It is safe to project our hopes on the possible expansion and groundbreaking exploits yet to happen.
Nelson C.J is a culture writer with works in The New York Times, Xtra Magazine, OkayAfrica, Black Youth Project, AfroPunk, and a few other spaces. You can find him saving dog pictures on Twitter.