M.Bassy Dialogues #6
with Keziah Jones

Keziah Jones
Keziah Jones, Lagos–Nigeria

In SERIES #6 we are happy to provide an intimate online interview with the artist, Keziah Jones from Nigeria.

How does your current artistic practice look like?

A lot morning green tea,a lot of visual work with line drawings then a lot of piano practice that sometimes results in mini instrumental piano pieces i save for use later.

For which three things are you very thankful at the moment?

Having the space in which to work,still having actual books to read,a country i can go to regardless of its disfunctionality

What have you learned during this time: What can you do without, that you usually stick to?

That solitude is a valuable practice or a valuable quality. I can't do without music or sound of some kind.

How do you deal with the uncertainty of the future?

I meditate in order to keep myself in the present. I think the future resolves itself based on what we do in the present. Therefore ultimately people will adapt to whatever the future will bring


At which place would you choose to be at the moment?

I'm happy here in lagos in my studio/home.

Which connection do you have to nature currently?

I have been cultivating a garden for some time now, though not always successfull. Recently there have been herbs and some tomatoes coming through as i have been able to spend a lot of time with them.

In how far the Corona pandemic is an allegory of global capitalism?

The coronavirus is an exact allegory of global western capitalism in its infectionous and viral aspect meaning the complete domination, separation and atomisation of the lives of all individuals.

African intellectuals as Felwine Sarr, Achille Mbembe and Wole Soyinka consider the Covid-19 crises a chance for Africa. What do you think about that?

It's a chance for Africa in the sense that the roles are being reversed: Africans and other Europeans are coming to Africa in larger numbers in order to be safe.

Which topics are drowned out by Corona at the moment?

I would say climate change, but the two things are very connected.

Who should view your art right now?

I have been on a self imposed artist strike. I produce for myself. All intellectual work is not submitted to a label for evaluation and eventual exploitation for the last few years. So the people who “should” view my art, if they want to at the moment are friends and family.

What is your ONE question to the world (that you would stitch onto your M.Bassy-mouthgard)?

What will it take (in practical terms) for black and brown peoples to see real justice in this world?

To what extent do you feel responsible for educating white people in term of rascism?

I personally don't feel responsible at all for the education of so called"white peoples" because just as the notion of"black peoples" is a social construction the same goes for "white peoples". Understanding who or what we are and where we stand in relation to each other is all down to the individual and his or her capacity for self reflection.

What options are there to fight racism?

The only option available is to continue to refuse to be defined by race as scientifically we know race doesn't exist and contained within that option is the question of whether we choose to do this collectively (through petitions, demonstrations and eventual legislation)or on an individual basis (through self reflection/self transcendence) because as a collective, culturally we all know who we are and where we come from. Its on the individual basis where the relation to the society in which we find ourselves that things begin to fracture as not all existential situations happen in the same way.

About Keziah Jones

Keziah Jones (born Olufemi Sanyaolu *1968) is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist. He describes his musical style as "Blufunk", which is a fusion between raw blues elements and hard, edgy funk rhythms. Also his Nigerian roots in Yoruba music can be considered a major influence on his sound. He is known for his distinctive style of guitar playing, including his percussive right-hand technique which is similar to a bass guitarist's slapping technique.

• Blufunk Is a Fact (23 March 1992)
• African Space Craft (27 March 1995)
• Liquid Sunshine (10 May 1999)
• Black Orpheus (22 April 2003)
• Nigerian Wood (1 September 2008)
• Captain Rugged (18 November 2013)