As part of the Africa Month a Celebrations at Niki’s, this week we bring you Femi Koya, supported by Concerts SA.
Born Olufemi Ogunkoya in Lagos, Nigeria in 1981, his musical talents were evident from early childhood when he used to dance with traditional drummers in his father’s compound. After dabbling on piano and trumpet, he eventually settled for a saxophone. The music of South African artists Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Hugh Masekela was also part of his musical upbringing.
Last year his musical pendulum swung full circle when Chaka Chaka invited her to contribute saxophones on her latest album, Amazing Man. The recognition from the Princess of Africa is a far cry from his humble beginnings when he first landed in South Africa ten years ago with nothing but hope and a determination to make it against all odds. He had been invited by a South African-based Nigerian church to work with a choir as its coordinator with promises of a regular salary and accommodation.
But within a week of his arrival in the Promised Land, his hopes were dashed when the church authorities told him that they were experiencing financial difficulties and could not contribute to his upkeep. For some time he was stranded on the streets of Yeoville. “It was tough, but I persevered. Every day I would walk around carrying my saxophone and approaching anyone with musical instruments,” he recalls. His fortunes eventually changed for the better when someone directed him to Newtown – a space that enabled him to pay homage to his adopted land in true Yoruba tradition. (Profile courtesy of http://www.theorbit.co.za/ )
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Venue: Niki’s Oasis (138 Bree Street, Newtown, Johannesburg)
Date: 20 May 2016