Mr. Kunle Onime is the owner of a brand new FM radio station, Roots, Abeokuta. He is also the name behind MPC, an experiential/marketing communication outfit. Onime became famous among Nigerian musicians particularly in the 1990s for the poster boy role he played for Dapo Adelegan’s DP Lekki, organisers of the yearly musical Fiesta called ‘Lekki Sunsplash.’
Onime who has fully stepped into broadcasting with the establishment of the radio station took time off his busy schedule to talk reggae music with Charles Okogene online.
How is Roots FM doing?
Roots FM is Okay, we give thanks to the most High
How old is it now?
We are almost 7 months old officially….and we are getting stronger.
What inspirated to establish a station that plays mostly reggae music in Abeokuta the home of juju and Apala music.
Hummm! Inspiration. I have always been involved with reggae music, I worked with Ras Kimono, Daniel Wilson, Arthur Pepple and a host of other reggae musicians. I also at a time presented reggae music on radio, so it has always been there. I was at a time the Secretary General of Rainbow Organization of Rastafarians of Nigeria (ROOTRON). So nor be today..It didn’t just drop. This has been there for a very long time..It only manifested at JAH’s own time. The choice of Abeokuta as the location for Roots FM is divine and the dictate of the most High Jah, He directed and chose the location.
Why was it not in Calabar where reggae music is most appreciated in Nigeria?
Reggae music is appreciated world wide and followers of reggae music abound everywhere, not just Calabar or PH.
When we were starting in Abeokuta, we were told nobody listens to reggae music in EGBA (Abeokuta), but today, the story is different, most of the radio stations in Abeokuta have either created their own reggae time or increased times allocated to play of reggae music. That means something is happening in that space and our listenership keeps growing daily. That means a lot to us and we appreciate.
If I am not wrong, reggae music seems to be on the decline worldwide. Why?
How can you say reggae music is on the decline? If it is, how come reggae music got recognized by UNESCO as world heritage music? How come reggae music is now recognized and given slots and categories in GRAMMY Awards? Reggae music has soul. Reggae music got the vibration, reggae music liberates the people, reggae music is the truth, it is life and when it hits you, you feel no pain. Rastafari is hope, it is a movement, it is one love and one inity. It is the truth and life.
On the decline of reggae music in the Nigerian musical scene. It was due to the economic downturn where our representatives “escaped ” in search of greener pastures to foreign land, but in truth, they are all coming back home, we have the likes of Kimono who returned home before his very unfortunate death, we have Victor Essiet (Mandators) who is in and out, we have loads of others like Pupa Oritis Williki, Daniel Wilson, Arthur Pepple, Duncan Mighty, Waje, Cynthia Morgan, Daddy Showkey, African China, Baba Fryo, Buchi, 2baba, Patoranking, King Wadada, Faze, Majek Fashek and so many many more who are doing great stuffs and releasing wicked tunes.
Do you think that in the face of the organised noise and senseless lyrics from now generation musicians in Nigeria, that reggae music can make a come back?
I am glad you called it sense less lyrics from these new generation, its a phase,and we shall pass through and at that time the lyrical content of our representatives will take centre stage. I will give you two or three examples .Ras Kimono in the 80s did a song named “What A Gwan”everything he sang about then has manifested and is still manifesting till date…..Oritis Wiliki did a song “Senseless Killing” do we till date have that situation or not, and Peterside Otong asked a question in one of his songs , “Where Are The Prophets? Have we found the prophets yet?
These are some of the myths behind reggae music. Now tell me, which of these new guys who released a hits 10 or six years ago whose song is still relevant today? That is why we say reggae music is life, the tunes are ever green, they are there till eternity.
Aside your Roots FM, you show us vintage videos of top reggae stars all over the world on your Facebook timeline, don’t you think that you would have taken such to any of the local TV channels instead of the radio station you floated?
Prior to Roots FM, reggae music did not have a definite face or voice in Nigeria, but now that there is, the turn around and come back is obvious and certain, its a matter of time. Life to me is a gradual process. I was taught to take a step at a time. Before now, we had no medium aside a few hours weekly on few stations but now, there is a 24/7 dedicated reggae radio station so just hold your breath, we shall soon start to unveil. A whole lot is coming….lets just pray to JAH to keep us alive.
When will you also start showing use the vintage videos of Nigerian reggae stars like Kimono and co.?
On the use of videos of Nigerian reggae artistes on my timeline…..na you go tire bro, just hold on tight.
Many thanks for your time