Jimi Shadare, also known as DJ Jimbo, CEO of Affrakata Entertainment, is a lone figure in his profession. Unlike most DJs in Nigeria (Africa) who play only music from their regions, he combines music from all African countries. In this interview with Segun Adebayo, he talks about the industry and being the only Nigerian DJ who also organises concerts in Francophone countries.
You are a DJ. Your younger brother, Ayo Shadare, promotes Jazz music. What’s the Shadares interest in entertainment?
I will not call myself a DJ per se, but more of a promoter of world music which I have been doing within and outside Nigeria for 20 years. My promotions have been channeled through local/international concerts, radio programmes, hosting exclusive private parties for lovers of a great blend of world music through services with good equipment. On the other hand, I have three brothers and a sister who love good music. Ayoola Sadare of Inspiro Productions has been a force to reckon with locally and internationally as he has taken Jazz promotions to greater heights. I will say our interest stems from the fact that our late dad was one of Nigeria’s first private dental practitioners in the 60s. He was also a great lawn tennis and cricket player who captained and won many laurels for Nigeria at international meets. Amid all this, his love for all types of music, which he played regularly and danced to within our home, surely must have struck a chord within us. I do recollect him owning a record label, ‘Asoremasika Sounds, and also had brand new recording equipment including a Coaster Bus, bought to assist the artistes on his label. My first Fela album was bought for me by my dad on my 10th birthday.
For a DJ, your CV is intimidating. Would you say that’s because you combine mostly Francophone music with Nigerian music?
Many thanks for noticing my CV which you have termed intimidating. That alone tells the quality of efforts. DJ Jimbo must have been putting things together for the past 20 years within and outside Nigeria, trying to create an awareness of world music blend from all nations. My foray into the world of music came from my entertainment tourism experience around the world with lots of top acts. I got firsthand knowledge on how elite in various countries visited, enjoyed themselves during holidays and I connected that with the yawning gap in providing good entertainment for same calibre of people in my country, Nigeria. My aim, all along, had been to provide such clients a great blend of world music at their special events, programmes, celebrations, among others. My own brand of disc jockey has taken longer than mainstream Afrobeats music being played by most A-list deejays. That is what gives me the niche in the entertainment, which is now being acknowledged worldwide.
You are popular among music lovers who are in their 40s-70s in Nigeria, but very popular among both young and aged music lovers in Francophone countries. How do you handle this knowing that many of your fans are non-Nigerians?
I have always loved music from primary school days when I used to mime and dance to the Jackson’s “A.B.C.” for the enjoyment of my siblings, especially on the living room centre table. So you can imagine how young I was for the table to withstand my weight. My reference is to highlight my love for any type of music and growing up to deliver such to the world does not change how I am accepted because I am a world music deejay who delivers more to a matured crowd, especially in Nigeria.
Because you are the only one, so to speak, in your category of disk jockeys, what pressure do you feel having to satisfy numerous clients?
Oh, no pressure at all. Most clients approach me as referrals from those who have enjoyed the DJ Jimbo experience. From that background, I automatically know what to blend in creating a joyful experience for clients at functions.
What makes you tick, especially in Francophone countries?
The way of living, lifestyle, dress sense, attitude to life and most especially, their diverse brands of music, dance and expression of satisfaction.
With a huge repertoire of African music to explore, how do Nigerian fans react when you play non-Nigerian music in Nigeria, and how do French fans react whenever you play Nigerian music over there?
It’s my duty as a world music deejay with a large repertoire of music at my disposal, collected over the years, to create a great fusion blend over diverse beats, which makes music a universal component. Nigerians and non-Nigerians always have a good time at our end anywhere it is organised in the world.
You also organise concerts in Ivory Coast, Senegal, Benin Republic, Togo. What has the story been like?
Coming from Nigeria has been an uphill task, but my resolve to penetrate other countries, like every other business ventures in life, has been an interesting adventure for me, experiencing various cultures, meeting different people, good music delivery. I am still learning and plans are always underway to keep promoting my trade all around the world.
You play not less than 30 genres of African music. Which of them always gets fans on their feet?
Afro pop, which is mainly Nigerian; Sagacite, Coupe Decale, Makossa, Afrotrap, Mbalax, Kwaito, Zoblazo, Soukouss, Salsa, Kompa, Kizomba, Batchata, Soca, Newskool Rhumba, Afro Zouk, Highlife, Calypso, Ndombolo, Zouglou, Hiplife, Kompa, Merengue, among other African music.
We know highlife, what is Burger Highlife?
Burger Highlife is an upbeat tempo to the old school Ghana highlife music, which is a general pattern with Ghanaian artistes like Kofi B, Daddy Lumba, Ofori Amponsah, Kwasi Pee, Kodjo Antwi, Rex Omar, among others.
What is the difference between Afrobeat and Afrobeats
The unique, original and main Afrobeat king/legend is Fela who also trained his sons, Femi and Seun, while Femi’s son, Made, is toeing the path of his dad and grandfather. Now, Fela’s influence came from the highlife artistes he met in Ghana while living there in late 60s after his arrival from Europe. That is the origin of Afrobeat. Afrobeats is a fusion of African beats used to create our own flavour of music. This is why any African or international artiste who has a producer with the knowledge of Afrobeat can make Afrobeats, which is danceable worldwide. This is one of the reasons there are a lot of collabos recently between foreign and African artistes.
What’s Afropop? What is Afrotrap?
Congolese artistes, mainly based in Europe, have fused their sound of Ndombolo, Soukous and Makossa with Afrobeats to create a fast-tempo genre known as Afrotrap. Afropop music is the genre created by any artiste worldwide who desires to fuse their own pop style with Afrobeats.
Do you see Nigerian DJs doing what you are presently doing – playing all African music – in the future?
Without a doubt, music is universal. So once the DJ know the songs of different genres of world music, it’s easy to carry a diverse crowd and please them all through an international event.