Every Saturday, between 6:00pm and 8:00pm, Nigerian born, Princess Funke Kehinde, brings listeners the very best of classic and new grooves from across the African continent.
Also traversing the full diaspora of African influenced music the world over – ‘Black Rhythms’ is among the preeminent African music radio programs in the country.
We spoke to Princess about ‘Black Rhythms’ and her love for broadcasting and music.How long have you been a broadcaster at Koori Radio, and what is your background in broadcasting?
I started ‘Black Rhythms’ in 2011, it’s a show that showcases African culture to the world through music. I play mostly African music and African American music, and I play some Indigenous songs and Islander songs as well.
Before I came to Sydney in 2008 I spent 15 years working as a journalist in Nigeria – I’ve been a newscaster, producer and presenter, working across radio and television. When I got to Sydney it was difficult to get into the mainstream, I felt that emptiness in my life, because broadcasting was the job I was used to – it’s part of me. I co-produced a program on ABC Radio for a while before someone brought me here to Koori Radio, where I was offered the opportunity to have my own broadcasting slot.
What advice would you give for any person wanting to get into broadcasting?
Princess: Before my advice I would like to show my appreciation to Koori Radio, because when I first got to Australian I wanted to run back home, but when I got to Koori Radio, I was accepted just the way I am. I remember I went to a radio station looking for a job and one of the people there said to me, ‘with your accent, do you think you can get a job doing radio in Australia?’ I had tears in my eyes, I’ve done this for 15 years in my country, my accent may not be Australian but my accent is me, I cherish it, nobody can take it away from me. So when I came here (Koori Radio) and was accepted and welcomed, I felt this was the place where I belonged. So, I can say that Koori Radio has played a major role in my life.
My advice to upcoming Indigenous broadcasters or migrants is, you can do anything, make the extra effort to pursue your goals and you will get there, you might hear negative things from people along the way, but don’t stop, don’t let anything get between you and your goals. Jimmy Cliff says ‘you can get it if you really want’, so try and try and you will succeed at last.
Who is your favorite artist at the moment?
Princess: The one I listen to regularly these days is Busy Signal, and my favorite track is ‘Night-shift’.
Fela Kuti is one of the great legends of African music, and perhaps the most well known artist from your country. How would you describe the impact of Fela’s music in Nigeria?
Princess: Fela, he’s like the voice for the commoners, I mean the people that cannot express themselves because in Africa the rich and the politicians dominate the countries, we the commoners, we have no voice, but Fela, he attacks those politicians directly in the lyrics of his songs, telling them what they are doing wrong. He sings in Pidgeon English, the only common language in Nigeria.
Can you remember the first concert you ever went to? Who was playing?
Princess: The first one – I was about 10 years-old, in Nigeria, if you want you can be in the boarding house, that means you are in school and you can return home on weekends or during holidays. We always had social nights every Thursday night, and sometimes the school would invite artists to come and perform for us. The first one I saw there was one of the great musicians from Africa, his name is Sunny Ade, he came to play for us free of charge and we all enjoyed it, and usually, if someone wanted to book Sunny to perform they would have to pay a lot of money, but he performed for us for free, so I was really happy because I didn’t think that I would get to see him play. And my first concert in Australia was Dolly Parton. My mum loves Dolly Parton and so I’ve been listening to Dolly since I was very young! I have a very musical family, both my parents play piano and I would learn piano at home.
What’s your favorite type of food?
Princess: Rice, if I don’t eat rice at least once a day I’ll be sick! And KFC, I love KFC, especially the wicked wings.
When you’re not in the studio, what do you like to do to relax?
Princess: I love to jump in my Mini Cooper, take the roof down, and play my music very loud as I drive around the city. And I love my cat – his name is Tiger Woods.
If you could go anywhere in the world for a holiday where would you go?
Princess: I’d go to the U.S to see my son, I miss him. He lives in Maryland. But if not to see my son, I’d go to Phuket in Thailand.
And finally, if you could go out to dinner with any person, from the past or present, who would it be?
Princess: Adam Goodes! Because of him I’m a member of the Swans, and I always use his ID (a sound byte of Adam talking) on my show.
Join Princess for ‘Black Rhythms’ every Saturday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, tune in on 93.7FM, or find us on the Tune In app for your computer or mobile device.