Ijah // Anthony Umi

What’s your name and your DJ name?

Anthony Umi and my DJ name is Ijah.

What’s the name of your show, and when is it on?

Music Mine (it’s “mine” like a coal or a gold mine, not “mind”), Friday mornings, 9:00 to 10:00am. My idea of this show was that we’re building a collective of music miners for a nice variety. I like to think our musical taste is pretty broad, and we bring variety and diversity with the different DJs digging the music.

Please describe your show. What’s its format?

My format personally is all over the place—I love all genres: jazz, reggae, soul, blues, salsa, African music, Brazilian music; I include music from Europe, China, India (I love Indian classical music and I’m starting to work that in, too).

What drew you to participate in KMRD?

Well, I’ve been a DJ for over 30 years, so it’s a natural fit for me, and I’m so happy that our community got a radio station. I’m so happy to be a part of the diversity of KMRD. I was one of the first DJs on KUNM’s Iyah Music Show in 1982, and thank goodness we’re still on the air now—four DJs alternate in the collective. Also I have a show at KSFR, Soul Notes—we’ve been doing that show for almost 20 years and I’m still building my collective there; it’s a mix of everything, including soul, reggae, gospel, conscious rap and hiphop. I love it all.

What’s the appeal of doing a radio show? How does it fit into the rest of your life, and what difference has being a DJ made in your life?

The appeal is I like being a part of what I consider the solution, an alternative to commercial radio, another voice. I like the fact that KMRD is community funded and supported. It gives us more creativity, I feel, because we’re not being sold out to the money, so to speak. It fits into my own life because of my being a musician, with my own band, so it goes hand in hand with loving music and performing music – it fits in very nicely.

I like having that alternative voice—although after 30 years, I find myself talking less and less, and letting the music speak for itself, providing that creative, artistic outlet. I kind of come from a tradition of ministering (my father), social work, spoken word, helping bring positive ideals into the community. I’m trying to be more humble, less ego. Putting yourself first – love yourself, but after that, you’ve got to spread it around. Martin Luther King, whose holiday we just celebrated, believed that silence was as detrimental as the evil acts of the wicked, and I think radio gives us a chance to speak up about issues of our lives, to be a voice for the voiceless.

What are your hopes for your show/for the station?

My hopes for the show are that we continue to entertain and also to educate people through the airwaves and just continue to be a part of good vibes for the community.

I’m so glad to be a part of this station. And I hope that KMRD continues to grow and reach its goals. It’s low power on a local basis but high power on a world basis, so I just pray that the station gets on a good financial standing and continues to evolve.  

We elders need to continue to share our experiences and our wisdom, and encourage young people to pick up the torch and carry it forward.