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Jolly Papa Radio is spinning 24/7 with 3,000+ carefully selected tracks from Africa & beyond, plus live music and interviews, mobile DJ sets and more! 
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This Week's Show on Takoma Radio

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**NEW** Join Michael & Eme as they broadcast live Monday through Friday at noon (rebroadcasting same day at 6pm EST) on Jolly Papa Radio
 Tune in and catch a groove with the best mix of music from Africa & beyond, plus community call-ins, themed sets and whatever else goes down. 
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Video Mega Mix

Radio Interviews

Hector Barez

This week we were joined in the studio by Puerto Rican percussionist Hector “Coco” Barez of Calle 13, Bio Ritmo and many other groups. We chatted about Hector’s musical journey and creative process, and about the trials and tribulations that led to his debut solo album, “El Labertino Del Coco,” which sound amazing! We played […]

Kola Ogunkoya

Kola Ogunkoya is a Nigerian saxophonist, composer, band leader and original gbedu master, recently relocated to the DC area. We talked about his early days in Lagos playing with legends like Victor Olaiya, Eddy Okonta, Jambos Express and eventually working with Fela Kuti. Kola and his 15-piece Afro jazz Ensemble, which includes female dancers, has performed […]

Teaching Africa Day

Teaching Africa Day is an interactive and child-friendly event geared specifically toward educating children and youth about Africa. The goal is to provide a much needed collective platform for vendors with the best quality books, videos, games, programs and other resources that teach about Africa and its rich and vibrant heritage. We sat down with Gathoni […]

Tebabu Assefa

This week we had a lovely drop-in visit and interview with Tebabu Assefa, one of the most active and consistent advocates for cross-cultural understanding and economic independence in the DC area. Tebabu and his wife Sara are co-founders of Blessed Coffee, a company that links sustainable growers in Ethiopia with consumers in the US and […]

Clara Ekeke

Clara Ekeke is the founder of House of Djeli, a project dedicated to providing a platform for independent filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora, and to creating a community of people who enjoy arts and culture for and by people of African descent around the world. She organizes screenings for films that aren’t otherwise available […]

Ras Ziah Ayubu

Ras Ziah Ayubu is the lead singer, composer and rhythm guitarist for DC’s premier roots rasta crew Proverbs Reggae Band. Born and raised on the island of St. Vincent in the Grenadines, Ras Ziah has been making conscious music for decades at home, in NYC and since 2000 in Washington DC. We chatted about Ziah’s […]

Massama Dogo

Massama Dogo is a Togolese musician, songwriter, bandleader and old friend who has been making African music in the DC area for 20+ years. His group Elikeh features a more pan-Afro sound, incorporating Afrobeat, Highlife, Funk, Rap, Reggae and more. They have been tearing up festivals and clubs in the region for years. His newer […]

Black Gold: Past & Present

Man oh man. This was a fun day at the radio station! “Black Gold: Past & Present” is a cultural exchange between musicians residing in the District of Columbia and Dakar Senegal. Local bandleader Jean-Francis Varre of Sahel received a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities to bring to life the […]

Sylvie Ngassa Bello

Our guest this week was Sylvie Qwasinwi Ngassa Bello, Founder and CEO of the Cameroon American Council (CAC). Since 2010 the CAC has been forwarding its mission to build capacity, relevance and visibility in African communities in the USA through its three signature programs: Arts Outreach, Health Advocacy and Capacity Building. We discussed the immigrant experience […]


JEHO is a DC-based Nigerian-American artist turning heads with his songwriting chops, smooth vocals, production and video editing skills. Raised in Southern Maryland JEHO was inspired by his older brother’s musical life and taught himself to write songs, sing, play multiple instruments, dance, produce tracks, and videos. Since graduating from Ryken High School in Southern […]

Paulette Mpouma

Cameroonian Paulette Mpouma is the DC-based inventor & entrepreneur of “The Africa Memory Game,” a fun board game “for ages 6-104” based on facts and knowledge about the length and breadth of Africa. Paulette’s ever-expanding inventory includes several African country-specific games, dolls from a women’s collective in Cote d’Ivoire, raffia sculptures from a Malagasy artist, […]

Munit Mesfin

Munit Mesfin is a DC-based Ethiopian singer/songwriter whose music is a refreshing synthesis of Ethiopian roots and the global perspective of having been raised around the world. Munit performed for many years with German guitarist Jorg in an Ethio-soul acoustic duo that was unique on the Addis scene. They recorded two albums and toured in […]

Daniel Dzidzonu

Daniel Dzidzonu is a Togolese trumpeter/composer with a mission to get #backtoauthenticity in African music. In particular he is at the vanguard of a new era Afrobeat movement currently spanning the globe. His compositions pay exquisite homage to heroes Hugh Masekela, Fela Kuti and Manu Dibango while injecting new themes and textures into the Afrobeat […]

Reginald Cyntje

DC jazz trombonist, composer, producer and educator Reginald Cyntje grew up on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He started playing in 7th grade, gravitating to the trombone for both its uniqueness as an instrument and its ubiquity in the island’s quelbe and calypso music. He absorbed everything he could, went on to advanced degrees in music, […]


Togolese singer/songwriter Akoeba has a passion for music that started very early in life. She began performing at the age of 5, joining with friends to form the group “Les Oiseaux du Monde” while living in Abidjan. When her family moved back to Togo at age 11 Akoeba joined another group, “Hot Girls,” singing and […]

Joy A. Johnson

Joy A. Johnson is an educator, author, business owner & beauty entrepreneur who overcame difficult life struggles with an abundance of positivity and hustle. After losing her white-collar job as a young mother, she took classes at the Small Business Development Center to learn the inside game of running a successful enterprise. She opened her first […]

Don Berto

Don Berto is the chef-owner of Port-au-Prince Haitian Cuisine in Silver Spring, MD. His passion for authentic Haitian food, art and music are on rich display in his restaurant, which features curated art on the walls, a live world music series, jazz on Tuesdays, poetry, DJs, creole classes and of course excellent Haitian food. Don […]

MC Chido

DMV-based Nigerian musician MC Chido has spent the past decade building hella cred on the global afrobeats scene with his silky vocals, strong songcraft and fly videos. Splitting his time and production between Lagos and the US, Chido has worked with DJ Coublon on collaborations with heavies like J. Martins (“Skele”), Pardon C (“Ogogoro”) and […]

Ishmael Osekre

Ghanaian musician/entrepreneur and jack-of-all-trades Ishmael Osekre may be as he says, “just a boy from Kokomlemle,” but he’s been making cool stuff happen in the states for years. Arriving in NYC for undergraduate school at Columbia with only $30 in his pocket Ishmael ran up against the harsh realities of financing a US education and had […]

Zezeh Brazil

Zezeh Brazil lives for samba. From a very young age she discovered samba peeking over her neighbor’s wall at their family gatherings, feeling the power of the rhythm, freedom of dance and the community spirit that infuses it all. She has spent her life immersed in that spirit and since settling in the area years […]

Ateya Ball-Lacy

Ateya Ball-Lacy wears many hats! She is Assistant Principal at G. James Gholson Middle School in PG County (go Mighty Knights!). She is an alumnus of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and has been a dancer and teacher with Kankouran West African Dance Company for over a decade. Ateya is also the founder […]

Henri Dikongue

Wow. Wao. Wouaou. We rang in July 4th this year in style with very special guest Henri Dikongue who was in town for a gala concert right here in Takoma Park. Our good friend Joseph “Kobo” Mouliom brought us into the band’s rehearsal and we were delighted to invite Henri on the show the next […]

Pete Muldoon

If you’ve ever wondered what a “multi-media, multi-genre psychedelic opera” looks and sounds like, then you’ll want to check out the latest creation by Pete Muldoon: “As the Beast and Dragon Clash” (August 11th @ Anacostia Arts Center). We had Pete in the studio, along with our good friend Sitali (who voices the dragon), to […]

Burkinabe Rising

It was our great pleasure to sit down this week with Barthelemy Bazemo, policy analyst with the Africa Faith & Justice Network, and Kerry Danner of Georgetown University to discuss the film Burkinabe Rising and help get the word out about a FREE SCREENING at the Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium on Thursday, May 3. “Burkinabe […]

David Blackwell

This week we had DC singer-songwriter David Blackwell in for a chat about growing up in the city’s go-go and gospel scene, finding his musical voice and the importance of a strong community in his creative process. David also treated us to a few original songs live in the studio from his upcoming EP “Good […]

Uasuf Gueye

For this week’s interview we sat down with DC multi-instrumentalist, lecturer and instrument craftsman Uasuf Gueye to hear about his musical journey, philosophy and current work as a 2017-2018 Strathmore Artist in Residence. We also were treated to three songs live in the studio [@6:12, 18:47 & 26:54] featuring Uasuf on ngoni, balafon and dundun, […]

LSS: Passport to the World

The DC metro area is a true melting pot of people from around the globe who live and work and learn from one another. Some come for school, some for work or to be with family, and then there are our refugee resettlement neighbors and friends who arrive by the thousands each year fleeing persecution […]

Kwame Bediako

[Click play to hear our interview with Kwame Bediako – February 14, 2018] We met up with African reggae artist & poet Kwame Bediako of Ghana at a recent show and learned that he’s just moved to the DC area from Chicago to work on a new album with the area’s buzzing African and reggae scene. We […]

Fan Fan

[Click play to hear our full interview with Fan Fan – February 7, 2018] DC-based Haitian music superstar guitarist & composer Fan Fan joined us for the interview this week, offering listeners a peek at his upcoming solo album fusing Haitian roots with the dizzying array of musical elements Fan Fan has absorbed over decades […]

Erika Rose

[Click play to hear our interview with Erika Rose – January 17, 2018] Actress Erika Rose is a Helen Hayes Award Winner and long-time stalwart of the DC theater scene. She currently plays a bewildering array of characters in Mosaic Theater’s “Queens Girl in Africa”  (through Feb. 4th, directed by Paige Hernandez). Based on the […]

Robyn Ringgold

[Click play to hear our interview with Robyn Ringgold – December 20, 2017] Robyn Ringgold is a Baltimore-based author and publisher of children’s books that make you take your shoes off and stand on your head! Her delightful series of “My Mom…” books are told from the perspective of a young child trying to make […]

Rapasa Nyatrapasa

[Click play to hear our interview w/ Rapasa & Nathan – November 15, 2017] It was a great pleasure to host Kenyan music ambassador Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno in the studio this week, along with guitarist and collaborator Nathan Okite. Rapasa has been stateside touring Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado as part of the One Beat […]

Francesca Andre

[Click play to hear our interview w/ Francesca Andre – November 1, 2017] This week we had photographer and film director Francesca Andre on the phone for a brief chat about her new film Charcoal which is currently gaining accolades and awards at many US and International film festivals. Charcoal tells the stories of two black […]

Abe Bayu

[Click play for our interview w/ Abe Bayu – October 4, 2017] We sat down with DC Ethiopian restaurant owner Abe Bayu this week to chat about his family’s new restaurant, Meleket, in Silver Spring. Abe and his two siblings grew up in their mother’s restaurant in Eritrea, so they decided to put that knowledge […]

Bruce George

[Click play to hear our interview with Bruce George – September 27, 2017] This week we had an eye-opening phone interview with Bruce George, founder of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, Peabody award recipient, writer, cultural activist and founder of the Genius is Common movement among his many other endeavors. It is impossible not to be […]

Negest Hawaz

[Click play to hear our interview with Negest Hawaz – September 13, 2017] We ran into Ethiopian music and television performer Negest Hawaz at our weekly gig with DC Highlife Stars, and she passed us her new CD “Adalalwho.” You never know what you’ll get when a new musician friend hands you their music but […]

Micheline Ewang

[Click play to hear our full interview with Micheline Ewang – August 16, 2017] We finally had the pleasure of hosting good friend and local Cameroonian artist Micheline Ewang last week on the program. We’ve played several tracks from Micheline’s album “Dissongo” before, but it was really great to hear first-hand how this excellent record […]

Ju Ju House

[Click play for our full-length interview with Ju Ju House – July 26, 2017] This week we were truly honored and delighted to have legendary Go-Go music drummer Ju Ju House on the show. Wow. Where to start? Ju Ju is best known as an absolute anchor of the DC Go-Go sound through his work […]

Christos DC

[Click play for our interview w/ Christos DC – June 14, 2017] Had a great visit from DC reggae artist Christos DC this week, including a sneak peak at his upcoming album “Tessera” and two live-in-the-studio performances of original songs “Vasilikos” [10:30] & “Speak the Fire” [23:50], with Cameroonian guitarist Henri Tanash sitting in. Christos […]

Jabali Afrika

[Click play for our interview w/ Jabali Afrika – May 31, 2017] This one was fun. Brothers Justo and Joseck Asikoye from legendary Kenyan music crew Jabali Afrika came through for a chat about their history and upcoming sixth album entitled “Nakumbuka” (slated for release and a Kenyan tour this summer). From their roots in […]

Anna Mwalagho

[Click play to hear the full interview with Anna Mwalagho – May 17, 2017] Anna Mwalagho is in constant motion! We had Anna on the show back in October 2016 to discuss her work as a Kenyan poet, storyteller and bandleader weaving the stories of Kenya into her experiences as an expat on the DC […]

Wayna & Selamino

[Click play to hear our interview & performance w/ Wayna & Selamino – April 12, 2017] Wow. This week we were doubly graced with a visit from Grammy-nominated Ethio-American singer-songwriter Wayna and legendary Ethiopian music guitarist Selamino Woldemariam. Where to start? Wayna burst on the national scene in 2004 with her critically acclaimed debut album, […]


[Click Play for our full interview with Meklit – April 5, 2017] This week we were lucky to catch Ethio-American singer-songwriter Meklit for a phone interview as she prepared to kick-off a tour at DC’s legendary jazz venue Blues Alley.  We discussed her musical journey from introspective acoustic compositions to the more groove oriented sound […]

Cheick Hamala Diabate

[Click play for our full interview with Cheick Hamala – March 15, 2017] Cheick Hamala Diabate is a Grammy-nominated Malian griot and master of the ngoni who has been the foremost purveyor of Malian music in DC for over two decades. His command of griot tradition and repertoire underpins everything that he does, but Cheick Hamala […]


[Click play to hear our interview w/ Janelia – March 8, 2017] Nigerian music in Baltimore? Oh yeah. What a treat to have Baltimore-based musicians Janelia McNair-Sanya and Femi Sanya in the studio this week! Janelia is a Nigerian-American singer-songwriter making waves fronting her 7-piece band JaneliaSoul, with Femi on bass and production. They were a featured act at […]

Saint Kankam

[Click play to hear our interview with Kankam – February 8, 2017] We caught up with old friend and Ghanaian reggae artist Saint Kankam on this week’s show. Saint grew up at the center of action in downtown Kumasi, Ghana’s second city. He was DJing in local clubs by his early teens and studied music at […]

Victor Provost

[Click play to hear our interview with Victor Provost- Jan. 25, 2017] Our guest this week was Victor Provost, a DC jazz musician who is masterfully expanding steel pan’s calypso and carnival roots into jazz and other styles. We got a chance to chat with him about the history of the steel pan and how he envisions […]

Jojo Abot

[Click play to hear our interview with Jojo Abot – Jan. 11, 2017] Jojo Abot is a NYC-based, Ghanaian singer-songwriter who brings a fearless artistry to her music and multi-media presence. She has been rising fast on the indie-Africa scene, currently in residence with NYC’s New Museum, and bringing her unique vision to Summerstage, GlobalFest […]

Jaja Bashengezi

[Click play to hear our interview with Jaja – January 4, 2017] If you are looking for Congolese music in DC, you definitely will want to check out Jaja Bashengezi, who’s life story is matched in its intensity only by his musical talent and positive outlook. Born in the city of Bukavu, eastern Congo, Jaja […]

Michael Kweku Owusu

[BAD NEWS! The automated recording system at the radio station wasn’t functioning properly the day of our interview, so we lost the audio. We are particularly bummed to not have Kweku’s beautiful in-studio performances! We hope to get Kweku and Kristen back in soon to fix this! Stay tuned…] It was a real pleasure to […]

Paapa Nyarkoh

[Click play to hear our interview with Paapa Nyarkoh – Dec. 21, 2016] Ghanaian drummer Paapa Nyarkoh is probably best known as longtime time-keeper and Grammy nominee with The Original Wailers, but he’s just as comfortable playing the highlife and traditional rhythms of his childhood home in Elmina, Ghana. We chatted about Paapa’s incredible journey from […]

Joe Brotherton

[Click play to hear our interview with Joe Brotherton – 12.14.16] Had a lovely sit down with Joe Brotherton, one of the top trumpet players on the DC jazz scene and as versatile a musician as you’ll ever meet. Joe started life in Nashville, but developed his profound love for music and in particular the […]


[Click play to hear the full length interview & performance [14:08]  – November 16, 2016] Sitali has been one of the most intriguing voices shaping the musical landscape of Washington, DC indie music for many years, and it was our great pleasure to chat with him about his life and creative process on the show this […]

Reuben Koroma

[Click play for our full length interview with Reuben & Sebi – November 2, 2016] What a thrill to have Reuben Koroma in the studio this week. As founding member and lead singer of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Reuben and his bandmates have gone from playing acoustic guitar in a Guinean refugee camp to […]

Anna Mwalagho

[Click play to hear our full interview with Anna – October 26, 2016] What a great pleasure to have our old friend Anna Mwalagho in the studio this week to discuss her ever expanding life and career. Anna is a DC-based Kenyan poet, actress, songwriter, bandleader, dancer, activist, philanthropist and comedian. She has shared the […]

Abiola Haastrup-Akintunde

[Click play for our full-length interview with Abiola – October 19, 2016] Jolly Papa sat down with local Nigerian businessman and DJ Abiola Haastrup-Akintunde to discuss the upcoming launch of his afropolitan lifestyle company, Soro Retrospective, and its flagship concept store “2ZERO13,” which will be opening in the Woodbridge area of DC in the coming […]

Seyi Clegg

    [Click play for our full-length interview with Seyi Clegg – October 12, 2016] This week Jolly Papa sat down with Nigerian saxophone wizard Seyi “Olumomento Show” Clegg to talk about his musical journey from playing trumpet as a teenager in a Lagos parade band, to touring and recording with Femi Kuti for over […]

Cissa Paz

[Click play to hear our interview with Cissa Paz – September 28, 2016] This week on the Jolly Papa show we sat down with local Brazilian singer-songwriter & bandleader Cissa Paz to talk about her creative process, recording projects, African connections in Brazilian music and the power of vulnerability in art. We also listened to […]

DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs

[Click play for our interview with Heran Brhan of the DCMOAA – September 21, 2016] This week we had a lovely visit from Heran Sereke-Brhan, Deputy Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, who dropped by the Jolly Papa show to discuss the groundbreaking work of the DC MOAA which is celebrating its […]

Jojo Kuo

Jolly Papa’s interview with renowned afrobeat drummer and producer Jojo Kuo.

Loide Jorge

Jolly Papa’s interview with DC-based lusophone afro-jazz singer Loide Jorge.

Jean-Francis Varre

Jolly Papa interview with DC-based singer-songwriter Jean Francis Varre of the group Sahel.

Tosin Aribisala

Jolly Papa interview with DC-based drummer, composer and singer Tosin Aribisala.

Joseph Louis

Jolly Papa interview with DC-based Haitian guitarist and singer Joseph “Fan Fan” Louis, founder of Boukman Eksperyans.