Ron Trent recently relocated back to his hometown of Chicago after absorbing the New York City music scene for the past several years. Upon his return, Trent immediately set to the task of applying the Big Apple's enthusiasm to a club night of his own. "My whole thing was to come back to Chicago and bring that energy back home," explains Trent. With the help of his partner, the beautiful and entrepreneurial Sonia Hassan, Trent created Africa Hi-Fi, a third-Friday-of-the-month party that explores African-influenced dance music.
While African music became more visible after Fela Kuti's passing, Hassan stresses that Africa Hi-Fi is not just an Afrobeat party. "The concept of the night is that we pay respect to Africa as a mother, we pay respect to Africa as a culture and an influence to music in general," she says.
In addition to raising funds for Next Aid, an AIDS orphan charity operating in South Africa, Africa Hi-Fi's purpose is to bring conscious people together: "We're using music to build consciousness from a visible aspect as well as an audible aspect," says Trent. "Make them feel good, leave an impression and while you have their attention give 'em a little education." Hassan adds: "We're bringing together house heads, hip-hop heads, jazz heads, whatever. Being able to bring all those people together, all races, all ages too--we have a range from, like, 21-year-olds to people 50-55 and that's beautiful. How wonderful is it that you can have a 21-year-old and a 70-year old together listening to the same music and enjoying it and vibing off it together? When these people come and they realize that they can be in the same room together and enjoy the same things together it breaches the spectrum of race, religion and identity--it speaks more than just music."
"We're building our own world basically," Trent reckons. And what a sweet world it is.