Nigerian Artist, Femi Koya Brings New Twist to Afrobeat
The new face of the African Renaissance, Femi Koya, combining Afrobeat , jazz and traditional-modern rhythms, gospel and blues, West African highlife with a nostalgic Sophiatown flavour, his music is a rich blend of deep and sultry jazz and contemporary groove. He is urban and urbane. His life’s journey – a story of migration from the West to the South – resonates in his music, which creates a conscious dialogue between West African and South African sounds. This musical fusion demonstrates the path to a new and culturally integrated Africa in which a common heritage is reinforced to meet the needs of today’s world.
For Femi Koya, a Nigerian artist, the diversity of musical genres is the sign of a continent that has come a long way. And in South Africa, where he’s been settled since 2005, Koya continues to soar with his musical influence. He says he draws his inspiration from the culture of his host country.
“Afrobeat village for me, it’s about taking sounds from the good old days because you hear sounds like … (sings)‘Babalawo mowabebe … That’s how I grew up. When you go to the village, you hear stories about the turtle, in South Africa, they say “t o r t u e” (laughs) and you know, the town crier, you hear stories about the village man and the village women, there are many life lessons around these stories”, Koya said.
His latest album released in April, is a perfect illustration of this. Babalawo’ is one of the hit songs on this album. This success Femi Koya says comes from the diversity of his group.
“My band is made up of guys from all African countries, not just Nigerians or South Africans, we have Congolese, Ghanaians, so all these guys have their own national sound, they come with the sounds of their country and the way they speak their language, they interpret the music when I compose it, it brings them together, there’s a synergy that makes the music beautiful’‘ Koya added.
And his audience just love him.
“I really like Femi Koya’s music because it brings me closer to my roots. It reminds me of musicians like Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, I also like Orlando Julius, said Farai Machingabi.
‘‘I like the way he managed to fuse the vibrations of Nigerian Afrobeat to the African rhythm and make it all African … I have the impression that he does a very good job with the Afrobeat vibrations and I think the nickname where they call him the Afrobeat Prince suits him very well’‘, Aviwe Damane said.
On the global stage, Femi Koyas has a presence. He has already shared the stage with great names like South Africa’s Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour.