Story: Seraphin Nyirenda
Sheffield Live was officially launched on 29th October 2007 becoming the first ever full time community radio station in Sheffield to be granted an FM licence.
It broadcasts 7 days a week on 93.2FM and aims to reach out to people and communities at risk of exclusion and disadvantage, offering a wide variety of music and language programmes and training in radio production and broadcasting. The freedom of expression underpins all other human rights. It is the means by which other human rights are defended and extended.
Andy Healey has lived in Burngreave for the past 18 years and is one of Sheffield Live’s DJs. He works part-time as a play worker at the adventure playground in Sharrow. He is also a keen gardener. The 47 year old started DJ’ing in 1990 when he and a friend hired some decks and began playing their favourite music at parties and at political and anti-war benefits.
How did you get involved in Sheffield Live?
“I was involved in the one month FM broadcasts and for the last year and a half I’ve been doing an internet show for them. I now have a two hour slot between 7pm and 9pm on Thursdays doing my show ‘Africabeat’, which features music from all over Africa.”
Why do you play African Music?
“I got into African music after hearing a sampler cassette offered by the NME (New Musical Express) and I just loved the music and it got me dancing.
“Back in the early 90s I started working for a community radio station in Burngreave called ‘Fresh FM’. I used to play a mixture of all styles of black music like jazz, hip-hop and funk but because African music had been marginalised with the arrival of the World Music phenomenon I wanted to represent it more.”
Can you dance to African music?
“Yes, I like dancing but I am not that good really…but it keeps me happy.”
Which African country’s music do you like the best?
“It‘s hard to say, at the moment I’m rediscovering a lot of Congolese music from the 70s and 80s which I love. I also like modern music but there is so much good music to find from that golden age.”
Can you tell us about Rafiki Jazz?
“I only came across them recently. They’re based in Sheffield and have about 10 musicians playing African, Indian and Brazilian sounds. It’s an interesting project and exciting that so many good musicians are working together in Sheffield.”
Do you play any Christian Songs?
“I play quite a lot of South African and West African Gospel music and I particularly love the South African singer Rebecca Malope.”
Is politics an important part of African music?
“Yes, music has many purposes and, for me personally, music and politics have always been bound together. Music keeps me involved and engaged in politics. It’s a good way of saying what is going on and what people should try to do. Like the song by Tiken Jah Fakoly from ‘Cote d’Ivoire(Ivory Coast)’ titled ‘Ouvrez Les Frontieres (Open The Frontiers)’. It‘s really good to hear this especially here in Britain where immigration is such a big issue.”
Talking especially about Zimbabwe where we know the political situation is very bad. Do you think that music can give its people hope for their future?
“Yes, I think music has always played a huge role in social change in Africa. In Britain people say that music doesn’t change anything but I think people forget that music can give people strength and help people through hard times and give them hope for the future.
“I’ve got friends from Zimbabwe who talk to me about the situation there and I listen to Artists like Oliver Mtukudzi who’s still in Zimbabwe and has always been a commentator on the scene, although, because it’s hard to directly criticise the government these days, the political message in his music is often hidden.”
For more information on Africabeat, visit Andy’s site at: http://www.myspace.com/africabeat
Sheffield Live broadcasts a wide range of community radio including music shows dedicated to Swing, Latin, Asian, World Music, Indie, Hip-hop, Folk, Dub, Reggae and Jazz.
Programmes also include interviews, what’s on, news, sport, comedy, film reviews and poetry and shows presented in community languages including Urdu, Portuguese and Tigrinya.
For more information on programmes, how to get involved and training opportunities at Sheffield Live go to their website: http://www.sheffieldlive.org or telephone (0114) 281 4082.