Meet Aku (left) and Alia Djedidi (above) from Finland. Those are hardly Finnish names, I can hear you thinking! Quite right too! They are brother and sister and they are Finnish but they have a Moroccan father, hence the names – they were both born in Casablanca. “So you’re African!” Exclaimed Milli Jam at the start of the latest edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela, when Aku and Alia appeared as Guests. “Yes” they replied “but now we live in Helsinki, Finland”. The Experience is the weekly radio show sponsored by Chanters Lodge, and airing between 20.30 and 21.30 hrs every Sunday night on Livingstone local radio’s Zambezi 107.7 fm. The show is popular locally as it offers a chance for listeners to win a dinner for two at the lodge with drinks – we play an ‘oldie of the week’ and ask listeners to text us the name of the artist singing the track, the first correct answer wins the prize. On this particular occasion the answer was Chris Brown singing ‘Excuse Me Miss’ and the prize was quickly won!
Aku and Alia told listeners that they’d been in Livingstone for about four days and had thoroughly enjoyed their stay at Chanters Lodge, as well as the various activities they had undertaken during their visit. They had of course got soaking wet when they went to see Victoria Falls – stunning at this time of year – and had also been on the one day safari to Chobe. They were delighted to have seen both lion and hyena during that safari, as well as scores of elephant, giraffe and hippo, common in Chobe National Park. They had, that morning, been on the rhino walk with Bwaato Adventures and had come very close to four of the rhino in the Mosi-o-Tunya National Park in Livingstone, including one of the babies. “Were you scared?” We wondered. “Just a bit” they replied. Rhino are pretty scary close up when you’re not in a vehicle!
The music on the show was hot – as usual! We featured The Wanted’s ‘Chasing The Sun’ and Faith Paloma’s ‘Picking Up The Pieces’ both high in the UK charts as we went on air. George featured one of his own tracks with Ty2 – ‘Spotlight’ – a great Zambian dance track, back to back with Mampi’s ‘Wali Lowelela’ (‘you are beyond sweetness’). Mampi, famous Zambian singing star was beyond the Big Brother Africa House on TV as we went on air – in the process of being evicted! George (her friend) shed a small tear. Milli Jam featured Zahara’s ‘Lengoma’ back to back with Craig David ft Calvin Harris ‘Good Time’. As a tribute to the late Robin Gibb we closed the show with ‘How Deep Is Your Love’.
Aku told listeners that he was an entrepreneur and had a retail shop in Helsinki selling clothes, as well artist’s materials such as brushes, paints and so forth. He had been in business for about six years. Alia is a nurse, specializing in care for the elderly and she explained that for the past 15 years she’s worked at an old peoples’ home caring for about 76 people. “Where are you going when you leave Zambia?” Milli Jam asked. “Malawi” they replied. “Why are you going there?” Asked Milli Jam. “Nature” replied Aku. I ‘snorted’ before saying “nature!” Milli Jam, “he’s going to see his girlfriend”! We laughed. Aku admitted that it was true that he and Alia were travelling to Malawi to see his girlfriend Mintu who, by coincidence, had recently appeared on our radio show herself, and who has, since then, been working in Malawi.
Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time, they both said they would still like to be travelling and meeting new people. I guess they will be. It was a lovely show.