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Khyam Allami, musician and contributor to Index’s latest issue ‘Smashed Hits 2.0’, was interviewed with Index’s editor Jo Glanville on BBC Radio 5 live’s Up All Night on Saturday morning. Interview starts at 38 minutes
Also on Saturday, DJ Fari Bradley dedicated Free Lab Radio to music and protest to tie in with Index’s special music issue on ResonanceFM
Khyam Allami will be performing at the Free Word Centre on Tuesday from 6.30pm and Fari Bradley will also be playing a set at the Betsey Trotwood on Farringdon Road from 8.30pm
Index contributor Malu Halasa was talking about free speech and hip hop on BBC Radio 5 live’s show Up All Night last Saturday, September 11, with editor Jo Glanville. You can listen on BBC iPlayer here, 38 minutes in. 5 live’s Up All Night will be dedicating another half-hour show to Index’s new issue on music and censorship, Smashed Hits 2.0, on Saturday 18 September at 0130am, with musician and writer Khyam Allami.
Don’t miss Fari Bradley‘s show, also on 18 September, 2300-0100, on Resonance FM. She’ll be playing protest music and music from countries where censorship is rife, to tie in with the publication of Smashed Hits 2.0.
Listen to Index’s playlists on Spotify and iTunes here. All tracks chosen by contributors to the music issue, including Radiohead‘s Colin Greenwood, jazz musician Gilad Atzmon and veteran rock manager Peter Jenner.
My song Beng Beng Beng was a simple, light-hearted love song coming from an African man’s perspective. I believe it was banned [in 1999] because there were other very political songs [on the album] that they didn’t want the radio stations to play. So banning Beng Beng Beng was like telling the journalists and radio stations, “Don’t touch this album”.
It was very popular in general, and everybody knew about it, but the radio stations never gave it airplay. I don’t think the lyrics were even offensive; it was less offensive than Let’s Talk about Sex, [by Salt N Pepa], but they played that for a long time on the radio stations. When they banned ‘Beng Beng Beng’ the stations were forced to stop playing anything sexual for a while.
I was becoming too popular, too political, everybody was listening to me. People who didn’t even know about my father [Fela Kuti] were getting to know about me, then getting to know the whole story about my father. So I was getting to be a very big story.
My next album was angrier, more direct. The Shrine, my club in Lagos, was open and we played it live there, where it’s always full — we always have about 2,000 people. And they always try to close the club. The last time they tried there was so much international talk about it that they opened it after a week and a half. Everyone was outraged — and not just in Nigeria. There is more pressure coming from outside than inside. Now the government is trying to be accepted by the international community, they are trying to pretend they’re not corrupt, they pretend that everything is OK. Now, if somebody like me is shouting, “No, that’s wrong!” and they then ban my club, stop my music, then they are wrong, they are lying.
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To listen to contributors’ playlists go to indexoncensorship/music