By Lauren Medeiros, Arts & Entertainment Editor
New to WUMD’s airwaves this semester is student DJ Mike Benjamin, a talented young jockey who has a passion for music.
Going by the name Joli Ra, Benjamin’s show Wild World features an eclectic mix of music. From funk to indie, folk, rap, and even the occasional Portuguese Fado song, he plays “anything and everything,” and welcomes suggestions from listeners.
In an interview with The Torch Benjamin said that the show was originally influenced by his own musical experiences.
He mentioned his time at UMass Lowell, where he played drums in a Cambodian rock band and did school projects for the SRT while learning about different musical styles and cultures.
He and his band also learned and performed a live set for the release of the the 2014 movie Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, a film focusing on the explosion of Cambodian rock music in the 60s and 70s. “Cambodian pop is huge in Lowell,” he said, remembering the experience.
Now a senior liberal arts student at UMass Dartmouth, Mike Benjamin has taken to the radio to share music with the public on 89.3 FM WUMD.
When coming up with a theme for his show he said “I had this idea to focus on a different region of the world every week and talk about it a little after.”
Laughing, he admitted that Wild World has taken a bit of a turn from what he originally intended. He plays a little bit of everything while he’s on air, trying to play new music every week.
“There’s good music everywhere,” he said, “you just might not be exposed to it.”
Benjamin himself listens to a lot of funk music, giving examples such as Sly and the Family Stone, Dyke and the Blazers, and Kool and the Gang.
He plays around with what to broadcast though, slowly settling into his own groove as the semester has progressed. His earlier shows featured music from more obscure artists such as Django Reinhardt, who plays “a kind of gypsy jazz guitar” but Benjamin ultimately decided that it was a little “too obscure.”
He found out about WUMD from his sister, who also went to UMass Dartmouth. She was interested in being a DJ as well, and Benjamin started listening to 89.3 soon after. “I would listen to it, and I got hooked” he said.
He took a DJ training/certification class in the Fall semester and interned under Dario Borim, the long-time host of WUMD’s popular radio show Braziliance that runs from 3-6 every Thursday afternoon.
The next DJ classes will be available during the Fall 2017 semester, and questions can be sent to WUMD’s email.
For any student interested in taking classes to become a DJ or getting involved with the station, Benjamin said “Stick with it, otherwise you’re not going to do it.”
When talking about radio in general, Benjamin said “If you have a car, you know [WUMD] is there,” but said “people don’t just sit in their rooms and listen to the radio. Most radio listenership comes from people listening in their cars.”
Continuing, he added that “[WUMD] is underutilized, but if you don’t know something is there, how do you know to use it in the first place?”
He says the station most beneficial “for students, to reach out into the community and interact with it. A lot of students are stuck on campus, and it’s a voice. It’s like a beacon of light.”
At the end our interview with him, we asked how he decided to go by the DJ name Joli Ra for his show, and if it had any significance. Raising an eyebrow he thought for a second and said it’s “kinda a working idea.” He paused for a second and continued, saying “It has meaning to me, but it won’t mean anything to anyone else,” and smiled.
Anyone who’s looking to spice up their Wednesday afternoon with some new music should check out Wild World with Joli Ra (Mike Benjamin). The show airs live every Wednesday from 3 to 6 on UMass Dartmouth’s own 89.3 WUMD.