Femi Koya

Afrobeat and Jazz Musician - Johannesburg
Femi Koya

 

Femi Koya is the new face of the African Renaissance. Combining Afrobeat and jazz, 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. His quest is for African unity at a time when he believes Africa should claim its rightful and proud place in the world.

Femi Koya’s debut album “Just in Newtown” is evidence of the rich melodies that result from this fusion. He has also done his own interpretations of South African gospel music through collaborating with other artists on Loxion praise.

Through his versatility on the saxophone, he breathes new life into African world music. “Iba” meaning “Homage” is the title of Femi Koya’s new album due to be launched in August 2015.

The new album also calls for African unity and makes a plea for human rights to be respected. But the album also celebrates Africa’s love of life with infectious dance numbers that bring fans to their feet.

His new album also features the Soweto Gospel Choir, Pops Mohamed, Stompie Manana, Prince Lengoase and Kenny Mataba and poetry by Pitika Ntuli and Lisa Combrinck. His musical influences include Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Manu di Bango, Hugh Masekela, Baaba Maal and Salif Keita.

His love for music began when as a child, he danced around the village when the traditional drummers played in his father's compound in Akio town, Ikorodu Lagos Nigeria, He then started playing trumpet as a choir member in his local church. He dabbled in the piano. But he soon discovered that his first love was for the saxophone.

He has shared the stage with Youssou N’dour and Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the CAF (Confederation of African Football Awards) in Lagos and with John Legend in his first South African tour in Cape Town. He performed alongside the king of Juju music, Sunny Ade, at the Glo launch in the Republic of Benin. Other colourful festivals felt Femi Koya's hypnotic music, where he performed alongside the great Lucky Dube, Wynton Marsalis, Oliver Mtukudzi, Habib Koite and Sibongile Khumalo. He has recorded with Simphiwe Dana, Pops Mohamed and Yvonne Chaka Chaka to mention a few.

Femi Koya sees himself as part of the new Africa on the move, where home is not just one place but a multiplicity of places and influences. He believes that Africa will have its true homecoming when people see themselves as first and foremost African. Until then he will continue to make music suggestive of this homecoming and what the future holds if Africans unite. It is, he says, our destiny.

 

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