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JFS #119 The Baba Ken Okulolo Interview…….


The Gallop, the rhythm, the beat the pulse. A driving pulsating rhythm that makes the body move and the mind expand.

Music in Africa has always been used to alleviate the pain and suffering of the common folk. Held under the thumb of military governments, foreign oppressors and self inflicted wounds.

This music the Afro-Beat comes from the drum. An apparatus that has been used over centuries to communicate. It was used in Africa during colonial times. They were used during diaspora on the ships as the slaves were traded amongst the islands, they were used in Congo square when music was played outside and this non-verbal communication sparked an identity in these Americas.

My guest today is a world renown bass player and percussionist. He grew up in Nigeria, amidst the forests and animals and listened to countless hours of shortwave radio taking in jazz, blues, rock and other world music. It is no surprise that my guest was at the center of this blending of genres with Victor Olaiya , Fela Kuti and Joni Hastruup in Monomono. My guest plays hypnotic baselines. The kind that have you rocking back and forth, free of clutter and chatter and distractions. This vibration carries into your soul and naturally it emboldens you to be yourself.

He came to the states in 1985 with King Sunny Ade with intentions to preserve the rhythms of his people and promote a new generation of western players in the age of digitization. He now lives in the Bay Area and keeps the pocket with the
Afro Groove Connexion, West African Highlife Band and the Nigerian Brothers.

Baba Ken Okulolo welcome to the JFS