The re-invention of Capital Fm’s World Groove Show

World music fans who have been listening to the World Groove Show every Saturday evening on Capital FM, have been treated to a shock in the last three weeks. Many have failed to take this as a positive thing as the music played is anything but, World Music.

The changes started with the introduction of new presenters on the show after a long un-interrupted music mix show following Imani Woomera’s departure a few years ago.

Grace Makosewe ran the show for sometime last year and for a while the show had a more of Rhumba than World groove to it. Following a spate with her co-presenter on the Jam, Cess, Grace left Capital in a huff and was recently replaced by Koi and Jack (Not Jack Ojiambo).

The 2 are now the voices that are heard discussing music. This might be a good thing because the show has been a black box ever since it started, rarely attracting sponsors but could not be scrapped as it gives Capital FM that Afro-centric edge.

However, the 2 new presenters have redefined the whole show to anything other than a world groove experience. It also no secret that the duo are not there for their deep insight, understanding or large collection of the music they play.

The classification of music to be in the World Music genre is off course debatable. Hate as we may, commercialization of music is what brings about such genres as Neo Soul, RnB, and World Music

However, a tradition has been set and listeners would not expect to hear Nonini’s music being played on the show. At the same time, there are new World Music artists coming up everyday thus playing ‘Aisha‘ by Khalid and ‘Sambolera‘ by Kadja Nin every other Saturday is trying your listeners’ patience.

Playing an Urban Reggae hit and a Dancehall jam as it happened recently, Konshens’s’ Badder Dan Most ‘ to be specific, will most definitely result to reactions, negative reactions.

From the selection of music playing on the show, one gets the feeling that the presenters do not know much about World Music, and that the producer has most definitely been changed to some dancehall loving chap who thinks his listeners are numskulls.

But let us try and get what this World Music is. Across the Kenyan soundscape, from the coastal Chakacha to the Isukuti and Ohangla of Western Kenya, back to the Mugithi of Central and the Rhumba and Benga of the urban scenes, there is specifically that music that is palatable to a world audience.

Take for example Suzanna Owiyo’s Kisumu 100, or JB’s Tiga Kumute or Ogada’s KothBiro. This is music that does not necessarily require you to be a member of their respective communities to enjoy it. My understanding is that this is a perfect example of World Music. On the other hand, World Music is that genre that does not fit in the other major categories; meaning Reggae and Dancehall are definitely out.

Putumayo World Music

Putumayo World Music

One could say that Word Music is just ethnic genres that have been projected to the world stage, like most lingala tunes are. But there is also the aspect of classical touch to it. Taking lingala for example, I would be hesitant to classify some recent tunes under this genre because of the hiphop aspect brought in by collaborations with rappers, but if you ask me, I’ll say all Papa Wemba’s songs fall under this group, as does Tabu Ley’s and Mbi Lia Bel’s.

Do we notice a trend then? Yes. World music is not just ethnic music, but a fusion of the traditional music from a community with the tastes of other regions, the way Caribbean Music influenced Papa Wemba and other early Lingala musicians.

Back home again, take the example of Kenge Kenge, the Kenyan maestros of ohangla, or Yunasi ( I still hope they’ll one day make a comeback). These were groups that fused the tastes of traditional music with touches from outside Kenya resulting to timeless music. JB Maina’s one man guitar tunes are mostly sang in Kikuyu, but the guitar is not a traditionally Kikuyu instrument, but the way the artiste uses it gives the listener a feeling like it is, and that is the very definition of World Music

Therefore, it is only fair for Capital FM to give the show a new name and not assume that Kenyans can’t tell the difference between Popcaan and Habib Koite.

Party Shot would be more appropriate.

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