Connect Africa is broadcast on One Radio, since June 2012 in collaboration with Peace Lab, led by Father Dionysius Mintoff. He has dedicated 40 years of his life to helping African migrants have a more comfortable life in Malta, finding shelter, work and community.
The programme showcases popular African music and often has a well-known guest who picks their favourite songs. The guest list so far has been pretty eminent, kicking off with Dionysius Mintoff and including the Norwegian head of the UNHCR, Jon Hoisaetter, World Bank official Roger Robinson, international journalist Jayne Beaumont, BBC correspondent from New York Juliet Hindell and the local Radio host and famous actor Steve Hili and Her Excellency Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, United States Ambassador in Malta. Each of the guests, who have lived in or had experience in Africa, picks their favourite songs and discusses in a light-hearted manner their good memories of the great continent.
“The show was conceived to bring new musical experiences to a wide audience of local people and foreigners living here,” said David Millner, originator of the programme in conjunction with Father Mintoff’s Peace Lab. “The Maltese audience seems to have readily latched on to listening to unfamiliar music, new music, with different rhythms and structures.” This different approach seems to have been the catalyst for the success of the show especially in a radio market like Malta’s where there is a tendency for music stations to play a limited list of super-hits.
Connect Africa’s co-host, David Perry, who has developed quite a knowledge of African music has a passionate belief that much of what we currently know and like as western music actually originates in Africa. “It is quite easy to trace the origins of Blues to West Africa, then from blues we go to Jazz and Country and from there it’s a small step to modern-day rock music,” David Perry said. Not many people know that quite a number of stringed instruments, like the banjo, and percussion instruments came directly from Africa. Of course, many indigenous Maltese instruments like the reed flute and tanbur also originate in Arab North Africa. The programme likes to explore all these roots and themes but the main thrust is to create an interesting music show that anybody can enjoy.”
The aim of the radio programme is to appeal to outward-looking Maltese and Africans here in Malta and increase the knowledge of African affairs, music and culture to everyone else.
Connect Africa Radio, every Thursday at 20:00 on One Radio, 92.7fm.